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View Full Version : If Diana had stayed with motown - what should she have tackled


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sup_fan
08-30-2018, 05:35 PM
ok - there's another thread on Diana that seems to be swirling out of control. but it did make me think of a topic that might have been interesting

What if in 1981 Diana had STAYED with motown? what project do you think she might have done/wished she might have done?

There's been discussion that chic was contracted to do another set with her. Do you think that by 81 or so that would have still been relevant?

And what about more michael masser stuff?

At some point she would have had to tackle a more up to date 80s sound. Rick James productions? Lionel productions?

RanRan79
08-30-2018, 06:35 PM
I think that the first thing to acknowledge is that Motown wouldn't have put up with Diana's total artistic control, like RCA did. Sad to say but Diana Ross just isn't one of those artists who should have ever had total control, only because she just never seems to have a good grasp on the best direction for her music. I'm thinking a Chic followup might have happened. Going forward, especially after the success of "Endless Love" and his own solo success, I think Lionel producing Diana would've been an eventual album. I don't know if Motown would've ever allowed Diana to record with Rick James, but that should've been a pairing even before the Chic album. Teena Marie and Diana Ross sound nothing alike, but IMO most of the stuff Teena recorded from the very beginning sounded like stuff Ross could have and should have been doing, from the funky uptempo cuts to the mellow jazzy stuff. Diana definitely had a funky side that was underutilized.

Perhaps a Stevie produced album would've happened in the 80s as well. I think I've loved every Stevie song that Diana has covered throughout her career, so I'm thinking a Stevie produced album would've been a good fit. No reason to think that she wouldn't have continued to work with Masser. They always did great stuff together.

I also think that after the success of Thriller that Motown may have thought of putting Diana together with Quincy, which I personally think would've been a real treat.

And yes, I'm going here...Had Motown 25 gone perfect, I would have liked Ross, Wilson and Birdsong reuniting for a project. Maybe bring in Richard Perry after his great work with the Pointer Sisters.

Even with the RCA missteps, Diana Ross was one of the biggest acts in the world pretty much throughout her time at that label. Can you imagine had she stuck with Motown and had at least some guidance and label input on her music how much bigger she would've gotten? Or rather how long she would've stayed atop the food chain? Wow.

daviddh
08-30-2018, 06:47 PM
I agree Ran Ran,. some valid points. I think she needed someone to keep her on track.
if Motown 25 , went well, to bad we didn't get a reunion tour which would have been huge

PeaceNHarmony
08-30-2018, 06:59 PM
I think unfortunately Motown had run its course and Diana did the right thing in bolting. If 'Mary Red Dress' had not poisoned M25 and the RTL tour, things would have been different and certainly Cindy would not have reached the depths of despair that she did.

RanRan79
08-30-2018, 07:07 PM
I agree Ran Ran,. some valid points. I think she needed someone to keep her on track.
if Motown 25 , went well, to bad we didn't get a reunion tour which would have been huge

While Michael Jackson ultimately overshadowed everything and everyone at Motown 25, remember the headline for the show was the reuniting of the Supremes. Can you imagine the public's reaction to an album and a tour? Especially if the songs were top notch. Could've been a real feather in the cap of the group's legacy.

sup_fan
08-30-2018, 10:13 PM
even if M25 went well, i can't imagine Motown doing a reunion with M and C. Berry would have felt the tv special was more than sufficient and moved onto something else

I wonder how motown would have handled the British Invasion in the 80s. and the emergence of Madonna

luke
08-30-2018, 10:47 PM
Her image became very shaky in the 80s and she never fully recovered. Maybe Ashford and Simpson could have helped. There were reports in 2000 that if Mary Cindy and Diana did tour there were discussions to do a dvd and new album and to tour Europe.

vgalindo
08-30-2018, 11:20 PM
I think that the first thing to acknowledge is that Motown wouldn't have put up with Diana's total artistic control, like RCA did. Sad to say but Diana Ross just isn't one of those artists who should have ever had total control, only because she just never seems to have a good grasp on the best direction for her music. I'm thinking a Chic followup might have happened. Going forward, especially after the success of "Endless Love" and his own solo success, I think Lionel producing Diana would've been an eventual album. I don't know if Motown would've ever allowed Diana to record with Rick James, but that should've been a pairing even before the Chic album. Teena Marie and Diana Ross sound nothing alike, but IMO most of the stuff Teena recorded from the very beginning sounded like stuff Ross could have and should have been doing, from the funky uptempo cuts to the mellow jazzy stuff. Diana definitely had a funky side that was underutilized.

Perhaps a Stevie produced album would've happened in the 80s as well. I think I've loved every Stevie song that Diana has covered throughout her career, so I'm thinking a Stevie produced album would've been a good fit. No reason to think that she wouldn't have continued to work with Masser. They always did great stuff together.

I also think that after the success of Thriller that Motown may have thought of putting Diana together with Quincy, which I personally think would've been a real treat.

And yes, I'm going here...Had Motown 25 gone perfect, I would have liked Ross, Wilson and Birdsong reuniting for a project. Maybe bring in Richard Perry after his great work with the Pointer Sisters.

Even with the RCA missteps, Diana Ross was one of the biggest acts in the world pretty much throughout her time at that label. Can you imagine had she stuck with Motown and had at least some guidance and label input on her music how much bigger she would've gotten? Or rather how long she would've stayed atop the food chain? Wow.
I agree career wise she probably would have had many more hit records but financially she made the best and right decision by leaving Motown when she did. She is quite wealthy today and if she stayed with Motown she might not be as financially secure.

Nitro2015
08-30-2018, 11:28 PM
She probably would have had more consistent, soulful, less experimental 80's albums.

I don't know if she'd still be able to score a lot of hits 'cause she was aging and U.S. is not very receptive to older female pop stars.

But, probably, she'd have had a similar path to Lionel and Stevie's 80's careers.

I believe she'd have had better 80's singles if she had stayed with Motown, but I do love some of the things she did at RCA [["Mirror, Mirror"; "Let's Go Up" - both singles are very Motown-sounding; "Love Will Make it Right", "Pieces of Ice" - I love the atmospheric sound, so soothing -, "Missing You" and "Dirty Looks"- both are very Motown too, "Shine", "Stranger in Paradise" etc.) so...

Probably she'd have released more of those safe pop-soul tracks like Missing You, Mirror Mirror, Dirty Looks and Let's Go Up [[that already sounded like Motown products anyway).

RanRan79
08-31-2018, 09:19 AM
even if M25 went well, i can't imagine Motown doing a reunion with M and C. Berry would have felt the tv special was more than sufficient and moved onto something else

I wonder how motown would have handled the British Invasion in the 80s. and the emergence of Madonna

Berry was about cash as a bottom line and he was nostalgic. If he thought for one moment that there was major money to be made in reuniting Diana with Mary and Cindy, he'd have gone after that with the quickness.

As for the 80s British Invasion and Madonna, I'm guessing the label would've handled it like they actually handled it, and the rest of r&b record labels at the time: they would've continued to do what they do. Remember Lionel and Stevie both were still killing it at Motown during this period of time. I'm sure Ross would've done the same.

RanRan79
08-31-2018, 09:20 AM
Her image became very shaky in the 80s and she never fully recovered. Maybe Ashford and Simpson could have helped. There were reports in 2000 that if Mary Cindy and Diana did tour there were discussions to do a dvd and new album and to tour Europe.

I think her image changed at all. It was some of those idiotic songs like "Pieces of Ice" that had the public yawning. Motown would've never let "Pieces of Ice" out of the vault!

RanRan79
08-31-2018, 09:25 AM
I agree career wise she probably would have had many more hit records but financially she made the best and right decision by leaving Motown when she did. She is quite wealthy today and if she stayed with Motown she might not be as financially secure.

I think that's the catch 22. She leaves Motown, she makes a ton of money in signing and then also reaps some money because of her credited involvement in production. If she stays at Motown, they continue to rob her. On the flip, if she stays with Motown she continues to reigh...um...supreme for at least another decade. At RCA she gets the money but falls down the totem pole of hitmakers as time goes on. Some wins and losses either way.

sup_fan
08-31-2018, 10:44 AM
one thing that i think would be without question had she stayed at motown is that her performances on vinyl would have been better. even if she still did the exact same songs, the vocals would have been crisper and producers would have pushed her further to really perform. Many of her RCA songs are mired in echo and reverb which IMO was done to cover up that she was only singing with half her potential

i think the approach and sound of songs on Ross 83 might have still been explored. Heavy synthesizer was big then and that new wave sound was too. but again, better productions

midnightman
08-31-2018, 11:11 AM
I agree, sup_fan, I love her RCA material but it definitely could've been utilized better than it was!

lucky2012
08-31-2018, 01:02 PM
Great thread, sup_fan! So many thoughts and ideas from everyone.



As for the 80s British Invasion and Madonna, I'm guessing the label would've handled it like they actually handled it. Remember Lionel and Stevie both were still killing it at Motown during this period of time. I'm sure Ross would've done the same.

Definitely a project/album with Lionel Richie would have been considered. Diana would have loved a project with Stevie.



There's been discussion that chic was contracted to do another set with her. Do you think that by 81 or so that would have still been relevant?


Chic was innovative/progressive but the hateful Disco backlash was going on.




I think that the first thing to acknowledge is that Motown wouldn't have put up with Diana's total artistic control, like RCA did

True.



And yes, I'm going here...Had Motown 25 gone perfect, I would have liked Ross, Wilson and Birdsong reuniting for a project.

Ah yes, .. if only! The possibilities and benefits for all [[including ourselves)are mind-boggling.



No reason to think that she wouldn't have continued to work with Masser. They always did great stuff together.

I think Clive Davis was intent on creating his own Global Diva ala Berry Gordy and Michael Masser was an all-important key to his dream. [[Diana Ross was clearly a model). If he hadn't discovered Whitney Houston, would he have found someone else?



U.S. is not very receptive to older female pop stars.

Diana Ross had an unequaled reign for 20 years. That really is remarkable. Even contemporaries like Aretha, Dionne, Barbra, Tina & Gladys had occasional comebacks and reappearances that ultimately did not sustain. [[And none were as consistent as Diana on the pop charts for so long). They all eventually competed with Madonna, Janet, Whitney, Mariah.



I agree career wise she probably would have had many more hit records but financially she made the best and right decision by leaving Motown when she did. She is quite wealthy today and if she stayed with Motown she might not be as financially secure.

A melancholy and sobering thought, vgalindo.



Maybe bring in Richard Perry after his great work with the Pointer Sisters.
]
Would have loved a follow up to Baby, It's Me. His work with the Pointers was almost immediate post-BBIM. What would a subsequent Ross/Perry project be like?

Ollie9
08-31-2018, 02:28 PM
I think there is no way in hell Diana Ross would have done anything with Mary and Cindy in 83 .The way she behaved on motown 25 kind of underlines that. Even if she had been signed to motown and Berry Gordy told her to. [[remember the slap on the set of Mahogany) i think she would have refused.
in the early 80's Diana was keenly aware of her own self worth and was eager to experiment and expand her sound. Teaming up with her old group members would i imagine be the last thing she would have wanted to do.
Had she stayed , i think motown would have had a real battle with Diana who at that point in time would have wanted if not total control, then something that was very close to it.
I believe the main difference would have been quality control. The overall production on what ever was released at the time would have been to a much higher standard.

copley
08-31-2018, 06:52 PM
Am I the only person who thought that 'Swept Away', Pieces of Ice' & 'Up Front' were 3 classic Ross singles?

Bluebrock
09-01-2018, 02:07 AM
Am I the only person who thought that 'Swept Away', Pieces of Ice' & 'Up Front' were 3 classic Ross singles?
Quite possibly copley, but you are entitled to your opinion. I love "swept away" too, but i always thought "pieces of ice" was a terrible choice for a first single from Ross83. It is a fine atmospheric song that works just fine as an album track, but it lacked the commercial edge to be a huge hit. I don't care much for "upfront" but it was commercial and could have been a sizable hit had the circumstances been better.

Ollie9
09-01-2018, 02:13 AM
"Pieces Of Ice" was cool but never going to be a hit single. I thought all the Katz produced songs were not bad at all. "Up front" for me was bloody awful then and still is today.

PeaceNHarmony
09-01-2018, 06:35 AM
Actually another A&S lp would have been great, as would have another Chic production. A full Stevie produced lp would have been great as well.

PeaceNHarmony
09-01-2018, 06:36 AM
Am I the only person who thought that 'Swept Away', Pieces of Ice' & 'Up Front' were 3 classic Ross singles?
Nope - love all 3. Great singing, good songs, inventive production - what more is needed?

144man
09-01-2018, 07:34 AM
Am I the only person who thought that 'Swept Away', Pieces of Ice' & 'Up Front' were 3 classic Ross singles?

"Pieces of Ice" was never going to do it for me because I didn't like guitar-based rock. My tastes have evolved since then, but I still don't think its a good fit between artiste and material.

sup_fan
09-01-2018, 05:32 PM
after motown 25, i don't think there would have been a Sups reunion. at least not with Diana participating. But with Michael Jackson being on the show, i wonder if a deal could have been struck for he and diana to do a proper project together. maybe a full album production with a duet included

and here's another thought

part of why Berry sold Motown in 88 was that he was tired and said it just wasn't as fun anymore. wonder if Diana was still there to work with, if he'd have sold

Ollie9
09-02-2018, 05:43 AM
after motown 25, i don't think there would have been a Sups reunion. at least not with Diana participating. But with Michael Jackson being on the show, i wonder if a deal could have been struck for he and diana to do a proper project together. maybe a full album production with a duet included

and here's another thought

part of why Berry sold Motown in 88 was that he was tired and said it just wasn't as fun anymore. wonder if Diana was still there to work with, if he'd have sold

An album writtten and produced by M.J sounds a natural. Diana appeared to really like Michael music so a rock tinged, soul/pop album would have suited her very well in the 80's. I wonder if he ever asked her if he could do a whole album with her?.
A complete duets album might not have worked so well as their voices are so alike and it's nice to have a contrast.
I firmly believe Berry would not have sold in 88 had he and Diana still been working on projects together. Diana was his real inspiration, so when she left i don't think it was ever quite the same for him.

TheMotownManiac
09-02-2018, 08:13 AM
Diana was able to take control because if the contract with RCA. She was set for life with that check and the full arenas for that entire decade. It didn’t matter too much what her sakes were as the huge money, once she left Motown was touring.

I do think she’d have done another with Chic, and more with Lionel and A&S. Perhaps another with Marvin. Even though her record sales slipped a lot in the 80s, her persona passed that, Motown 25, Dreamgirl and she still sold out arenas around the world.

‘’I don’t think she;d have done anything more with Mary and Cindy because she wasn’t that fond of Mary before Motown 25 and after, not at all. Cindy told me that there was an uneasiness between them from the day she joined the group. Mary was always annoyed with Diana and Diana wasn’t close to Mary.

midnightman
09-02-2018, 09:25 AM
Diana had become a larger-than-life legend by the '80s, I think why she suffered commercially was the material. No one in RCA knew how to produce her like Motown.

sup_fan
09-04-2018, 04:43 PM
it always seemed like Diana hampered the productions at RCA, as opposed to the label. I would assume she was mostly in charge of identifying different producers throughout the RCA years. And my theory is that without a label manager [[like a Berry Gordy) to push her to stretch on things, she allowed herself to coast. Producers might have wanted to really reach for things but she held back. and of course especially on the tracks she produced.

Motown Eddie
09-10-2018, 11:45 AM
I suggest that if Diana Ross stayed with Motown in the '80s, she could've built whole albums around "Endless Love" & "It's My Turn". They were both huge hits and the company could pair her with Lionel Ritchie [[or others such as Stevie, Smokey, Ashford & Simpson or Michael). It would've also worked well for Motown [[which almost went bankrupt during this time). However, I agree with other posters that a Supremes reunion stay off the table [[unless Diana's heart was really into it).

sup_fan
09-10-2018, 03:04 PM
i think she could have done her mega-ballads for about one more album and then she'd need to give that a rest IMO. maybe To Love Again would have been more original material rather than rehash. at least until later in the 80s. perhaps some of the Michael Masser work with Whitney would have actually come Diana's way. although with Whitney it was new and fresh, if just because you had a new, young singer with an amazing voice. for Diana to do those songs wouldn't have been anything new

by 83 and 84, you had female artists like madonna [[borderline, virgin, holiday) cyndi lauper, laura branigan [[gloria, solitaire) stevie nicks [[stand back) donna summer [[she works hard) toni basil [[mickey) bonnie tyler [[total eclipse). I think she'd need to get a bit more rock and roll in her approach. maybe not as crazy as Fool For Your Love lol but something a bit more aggressive.

Levi Stubbs Tears
09-16-2018, 07:55 PM
I would have loved to see another Chic album. If Diana wasn't leaving Motown, Tenderness [[with the right promotion) could have still been a big hit from the first album. But I remember one Diana book claiming she had problems with Nile Rodgers though had liked working with Bernard Edwards, so not sure it would have come to pass.

jobeterob
09-17-2018, 01:54 AM
I would have done an album of classics

Boogiedown
09-17-2018, 03:11 PM
Diana's check-out was timed perfectly. She left with her last Motown album as her biggest ever as well as one of the label's most successful. And ENDLESS LOVE was Motown's biggest single ever. IIRC.
There was nothing more to be done at Motown imo. Diana and Rick James?:p:p :p:rolleyes:.

Nitro2015
09-17-2018, 11:04 PM
i think she could have done her mega-ballads for about one more album and then she'd need to give that a rest IMO. maybe To Love Again would have been more original material rather than rehash. at least until later in the 80s. perhaps some of the Michael Masser work with Whitney would have actually come Diana's way. although with Whitney it was new and fresh, if just because you had a new, young singer with an amazing voice. for Diana to do those songs wouldn't have been anything new


I'd love Diana to record "Saving All My Love For You" at the time, in the same vein that Whitney recorded.

Whitney's version is so much better and melodic than the original one [[I can't remember the artist's name).

I always thought SAMLFY would fit Diana's style very well.

You Give Good Love could be a great fit for her too.

The rest of Whitney's catalogue, not so much...

jobeterob
09-18-2018, 02:02 AM
I recall an interview with Rick James where he said Diana was one of the finest people hed ever met

RanRan79
09-18-2018, 10:23 AM
I'd love Diana to record "Saving All My Love For You" at the time, in the same vein that Whitney recorded.

Whitney's version is so much better and melodic than the original one [[I can't remember the artist's name).

I always thought SAMLFY would fit Diana's style very well.

You Give Good Love could be a great fit for her too.

The rest of Whitney's catalogue, not so much...

Marilyn McCoo did the original "Saving", which I only learned a few years ago. Nice version, but definitely pales in comparison after hearing Whitney's rendition. I agree that Diana Ross could've done a real good job on it and the other Masser productions on Whitney's first album, "Greatest Love", "All At Once", and of course she did "Hold Me" first and did a beautiful job of it. Diana could've handled them as is. The Masser productions on her second album, "Didn't We Almost Have It All" and "You're Still My Man", would've only worked if Masser restructured them for Ross' voice. As is, those songs were crafted for Whitney's range and Diana would've sounded a mess going for that. Only thing worse would've been Diana covering "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going".:D

"You Give Good Love" [[my fav Whitney song btw) is a Kashif production, but I think Diana could've done it justice. Sucks that Diana wasn't after Kashif and/or Narada to produce for her at this point.