Diana (album)

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Diana
Studio album by Diana Ross
Released 22 May 1980
Recorded 1979–1980
Genre
Length 34:17
Label Motown
Producer Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers
Diana Ross chronology
20 Golden Greats
(1979)
Diana
(1980)
To Love Again
(1981)
Singles from Diana
  1. "Upside Down"
    Released: 25 June 1980
  2. "I'm Coming Out"
    Released: 22 August 1980
  3. "My Old Piano"
    Released: 19 September 1980
  4. "Tenderness"
    Released: January 1982

Diana is a 1980 album by American R&B and soul singer Diana Ross, released by Motown. Her 11th studio album, was, and remains, the biggest-selling studio collection of Ross' career. All songs are composed, played and produced by Chic members Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards

Conception[edit]

Following the U.S. success of 1979's The Boss, Ross wanted a fresher, more modern sound. Having heard production team Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic's work in the famous Manhattan disco club, Studio 54, Ross approached the two about creating a new album of material for her that stated where she felt she was in her life and career at the time.

Nile Rodgers recently reiterated on an episode of TVONE's "Unsung" that the majority of the songs were crafted after direct conversations with Diana. She had reportedly said to Nile and Bernard that she wanted to turn things "Upside Down" in her career and "Have Fun (Again)". After running into several drag queens in a club dressed as Diana, "I'm Coming Out" was born. Only "My Old Piano" came from their normal songwriting processes. Initially, Ross was not pleased with the album's results. Following a preview of the record to be released in the aftermath of the anti-disco backlash, Frankie Crocker, an influential New York City disc jockey warned Ross that releasing the album in its original state would even lead to the end of her career. Ross remixed the entire album, assisted by Motown engineer Russ Terrana, removing extended instrumental passages and speeding up the tracks' tempos. The new mix also put Ross' vocals front and center. The remixing of the master tapes and the re-recording of all Ross' lead vocals were performed without the knowledge or approval of Rodgers and Edwards. When they were presented with the "official" version of Diana, the producers publicly objected and, at one point, even considered removing their names from the album's list of credits. Motown and Ross persisted and the version released was Terrana's smoother, more commercial mix of the album. Rodgers and Edwards were contracted by Motown to produce a follow-up album, but, as Ross left the label, it was never created. Rodgers and Edwards sued Motown, unsuccessfully claiming that they were owed monies for creating & recording the original version of the album. In 1989, Rodgers and Ross collaborated on Workin' Overtime(#3 US R&B), released upon Ross' return to Motown. Edwards produced the 1984 single, "Telephone" (#13 US R&B), from Ross' "Swept Away" album, released on the RCA label.

The iconic cover art was photographed by famed photographer, Francesco Scavullo. For years, a shop on the Champs Elysees in Paris displayed a life sized die-cut of the cover on its store front door. An art gallery in San Francisco sold a print for a handsome sum.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau A- [2]
Smash Hits 5/10[3]

Released in May 1980, the Diana album introduced Ross to a new generation of fans worldwide. Partly due to the controversy between Diana, Motown and Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards, Motown released the album without a lead single. This was unheard of, especially for a once single minded label like Motown. The album sold briskly out of the box without a lead single. Radio stations were free to play what they wanted since they were first shipped the album. By its 4th week leading into summer, the album was already nearing the Top 10. "Upside Down" eventually was chosen by the label and radio programmers. "Upside Down" made a rare vaulted move in its third week *49-*10! By the middle of summer 1980, Diana chalked up her 5th/#1 single and a string of Top 10 hits followed for the next few years. (This hot string included "Endless Love", a duet with Lionel Richie that spent 9 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts and won 5 Grammy nominations. Billboard magazine recently declared "Endless Love" 30 years later as "The Biggest Duet of All Time").

Billboard magazine had created wall-sized charts and posted 17 weeks at #1/R&B/Dance with Diana. Much like her previous studio album, The Boss, all cuts from Diana gave her another #1 Dance album. Reaching number two on the Billboard 200 chart and number one on the Billboard Soul Albums Chart for 8 consecutive weeks, as well as yielding two top ten singles including the number-one single "Upside Down", the album would sell over six million copies in the United States and be certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. In the UK it went Gold and spun off three successful singles; "Upside Down" (#2), "My Old Piano" (#5) and "I'm Coming Out" (#13). A fourth single, "Tenderness", was also released in certain territories, reaching the top 40 in the Netherlands, and was later included on several greatest hits compilations. Surprisingly, despite its massive dance and dance radio success, none of the singles from Diana were remixed for promotional and/or commercial use while the album was current.

"I'm Coming Out" has become an obvious anthem for the LGBT movement, as Diana has become one of its greatest icons.

Some thirty years after its release Diana remains Ross' best-selling studio album to date having sold a total of over ten million copies worldwide.

Diana was one of four albums written and produced by Edwards and Rodgers in 1980, the other three being Sister Sledge's Love Somebody Today, Sheila and B. Devotion's King of the World including European hit single "Spacer", and Chic's fourth studio album Real People.

Following the release of two more singles, the duet "Endless Love" with Lionel Richie and "It's My Turn", both worldwide hits, Ross left Motown and signed a then-record breaking $20 million recording deal with RCA Records. The first album for the label was 1981's self-produced Why Do Fools Fall in Love, which went platinum and spawned two Top 10 hits in the US. Diana was remastered and released as a double CD in 2003 containing the original unremixed versions, together with a selection of other Motown dance tracks from the same period.

Track listing[edit]

Original album[edit]

All songs written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers.

Side A
  1. "Upside Down" – 4:05 About this sound Listen 
  2. "Tenderness" – 3:52
  3. "Friend to Friend" – 3:19
  4. "I'm Coming Out" – 5:23 About this sound Listen 
Side B
  1. "Have Fun (Again)" – 5:57
  2. "My Old Piano" – 3:55 About this sound Listen 
  3. "Now That You're Gone" – 3:59
  4. "Give Up" – 3:45

Note: The Canadian release on Quality Records places the tracks from side B on side A, and the tracks from side A on side B.

2001 (UK) / 2003 (US) Deluxe Edition[edit]

Disc one
9. "Upside Down" (Original Chic Mix) - 4:17
10. "Tenderness" (Original Chic Mix) - 5:10
11. "Friend to Friend" (Original Chic Mix) - 3:20
12. "I'm Coming Out" (Original Chic Mix) - 6:01
13. "Have Fun (Again)" (Original Chic Mix) - 7:09
14. "My Old Piano" (Original Chic Mix) - 4:52
15. "Now That You're Gone" (Original Chic Mix) - 3:40
16. "Give Up" (Original Chic Mix) - 3:59
  • Tracks 9-16 previously unreleased
Disc two
  1. "Love Hangover" (Extended Alternate Mix) (McLeod, Sawyer) - 10:25
    • Previously unreleased mix. Original version appears on 1976 album Diana Ross
  2. "Your Love Is So Good for Me" (12-Inch Version) (Peterson) - 6:36
    • Previously unreleased. Original version appears on 1977 album Baby It's Me
  3. "Top of the World" (Snow) - 3:09
  4. "Lovin', Livin' and Givin'" (Ross album remix) (Davis, Stover) - 5:12
  5. "What You Gave Me" (12-Inch Version) (Ashford, Simpson) - 6:08
    • Original version appears on 1978 album Ross
  6. "You Were the One" (Patterson, Wright) - 4:04
    • From 1978 album Ross
  7. "The Diana Ross & the Supremes Medley of Hits" (12-inch Mix) (Dozier, Holland, Holland) - 9:59
    • Originally released as 12" single in 1977. Re-released as 12" and edited 7" single in 1980 and 1981.
  8. "No One Gets the Prize/The Boss" (12-Inch Re-Edit) (Ashford, Simpson) - 9:41
    • Original versions appear on 1979 album The Boss
  9. "I Ain't Been Licked" (12-inch Mix) (Ashford, Simpson) - 5:18
    • Original version appears on 1979 album The Boss
  10. "Fire Don't Burn" (David, Holland, Holland) - 3:26
    • Previously unreleased recording, recorded 1975-1977. Proposed for inclusion on cancelled 1981 album Revelations
  11. "We Can Never Light That Old Flame Again" (Alternate Mix) (David, Holland, Holland) - 4:38
    • First released version was a non-album single in 1982, and was remixed by Berry Gordy and James Anthony Carmichael. The original mix featured here first appeared on a Diana Ross budget cassette in 1990.
  12. "You Build Me Up to Tear Me Down" (Holland, Holland, Miller) - 5:42
    • Previously unreleased recording, recorded 1975-1977. Mixed in 1978 for possible inclusion on album Ross
  13. "Sweet Summertime Livin'" (Stover) - 4:25
    • Previously unreleased recording, recorded 1975-1977. Mixed in 1978 for possible inclusion on album Ross. Remixed in 1981 and proposed for inclusion on cancelled album Revelations

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Bernard Edwards - producer for Chic Organization Ltd.
  • Nile Rodgers - producer for Chic Organization Ltd.
  • Bob Clearmountain - engineer proposed side A; tracks 1-4
  • Bill Scheniman - engineer proposed side B; tracks 1-4
  • James Farber - engineer
  • Neil Dorfsman - engineer
  • Ralph Osborn - engineer
  • Abdoulaye Soumare - assistant engineer
  • Jeff Hendrickson - assistant engineer
  • Lucy Laurie - assistant engineer
  • Peter Robbins - assistant engineer
  • Dennis King - mastering
  • All songs originally recorded at Power Station in New York. Lead vocal re-recordings: Electric Lady, New York; Motown/Hitsville U.S.A. Studios, Hollywood, California.
  • All songs originally mixed at: Power Station, New York. Remixed by Russ Terrana and Diana Ross at Artisan Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California.
  • Mastered at Atlantic Studios, N.Y.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. diana > review at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "diana > review". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  3. ^ Hillier, Bev. "Albums". Smash Hits (June 26 – July 9 1980): 31. 
  • Easlea, Daryl (2004). Everybody Dance: Chic and the Politics of Disco. London: Helter Skelter. ISBN 1-900924-56-0
  • Chin, Brian (2003). Diana (Deluxe Edition) [Liner notes]. New York: Motown/Universal.
  • Wangler, Petra. (May 5, 2000). Interview with Aretha Franklin. Musikbyrån. SVT Sweden.

External links[edit]