Ease on Down the Road

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"Ease on Down the Road"
Single by Diana Ross featuring Michael Jackson
from the album The Wiz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Released September 21, 1978
Format 7"
Recorded 1977
Genre R&B, soul
Length 3:54
Label MCA
Writer(s) Charlie Smalls
Producer(s) Quincy Jones
Tom Bahler
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Just a Little Bit of You"
(1975)
"Ease on Down the Road"
(1978)
"You Can't Win"
(1979)
Diana Ross singles chronology
"Lovin' Livin' and Givin'"
(1978)
"Ease on Down the Road"
(1978)
"Pops We Love You"
(1978)

"Ease on Down the Road" is a song from the 1975 Broadway musical, The Wiz, performed in the original production by Stephanie Mills and Hinton Battle

In 1978, it was recorded as a duet between Diana Ross and Michael Jackson and released as the theme song of the 1978 film adaptation of The Wiz (itself an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), and produced by Quincy Jones. The Charlie Smalls–composed tune was an R&B re-interpretation of both "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" and "We're Off to See the Wizard" from the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz. In the song, Dorothy (portrayed in the film by Ross) and the Scarecrow (played by Jackson) dance their way down the Yellow Brick Road and give each other words of encouragement.

"Ease on Down the Road" is performed four times in The Wiz film: once by Dorothy and the Scarecrow, once by the two of them and the Tin Man (played in the movie by Nipsey Russell), by the three of them and the Cowardly Lion (played by Ted Ross), and finally during the end credits. In the album version, Jackson and Ross sing by themselves. The recording was one of Jackson's first collaborations with Quincy Jones, who became his main producer during the late 1970s and 1980s.

In 1980, Jackson was a guest on Kraft Salutes Disneyland's 25th Anniversary and, along with Disney characters (Mickey Mouse, The Seven Dwarves, Donald Duck, Pinocchio, Minnie Mouse, Chip 'n' Dale, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, The Three Little Pigs and Goofy), performed the song in a medley with the Disney signature song, "When You Wish Upon a Star".

It also earned Jackson his first Grammy Award nomination with Ross (previous two with his family group, The Jacksons) in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1979.

Released as a single by MCA Records in late summer 1978, the song missed the U.S. Top 40 by one position, peaking at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached #17 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart the same year.

The song was a number-one disco hit for five non-consecutive weeks in a recording by the disco studio group, Consumer Rapport. The Consumer Rapport version hit the Billboard Soul Singles chart, peaking at #19 and the Hot 100, peaking at #42.[1] Allmusic's William Ruhlmann wrote that duet between Jackson and Ross has "spectacular vocal firepower" and that it outperforms the 1975 version by Consumer Rapport plus he highlighted it.[2]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 41
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 17
UK Singles Chart 45
Turkey Top 20 Chart 1

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 132. 
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-wiz-original-soundtrack-mw0000025345
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0694078/ "Sanford and Son" Della, Della, Della (TV episode, 1975)
  4. ^ "YouTube: The Brady Bunch Variety Hour: Pinnochio". Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  5. ^ Nichelson, Ted (2009). Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour. ECW Press. p. 291. ISBN 9781550228885. 
Preceded by
"Bad Luck" by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
"Free Man" by South Shore Commission
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (Consumer Rapport version)
May 24, 1975 – June 14, 1975
June 28, 1975
Succeeded by
"Free Man" by South Shore Commission
"Forever Came Today" by The Jackson 5