THE PURPLE BEAT: First things first. Contrary to what many Prince fans are claiming, a spokeswoman for Prince insists that the Purple One is definitely not the performer in drag who's pictured on the jacket to "Sign 'O' the Times," the new Prince single. According to the Prince camp, the cover girl is Kat, a dancer and background vocalist who has replaced Jerome Benton in the Purple One's new band. . . . Guess who co-wrote the lyrics to "La La La, Hee, Hee, Hee," the flip-side of "Sign 'O' the Times?" None other than Sheena Easton, who gained instant notoriety for recording Prince's "Sugar Walls" a couple years back. We'd reprint some of the very colorful lyrics, but . . . this is a family newspaper. . . .
And what is Prince doing in the new May issue of Chic magazine? He's pictured out on a date in London with an Italian-born model named Jackie, whom Chic has billed as "Prince's Princess?" Jackie parlayed the date into a four-page nude spread in the magazine. . . . By the way, Prince has yet another protege hitting the charts. Her name: Deborah Allen, who made a couple of country albums for RCA Records before turning to funk music. Her new album is titled "Telepathy." The title cut was written, produced and performed (except for Allen's vocals, of course) by Joey Coco, who insiders say is none other than the Purple One himself.