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  1. #1

    Diana's Debut Albums - DR 70, WDFFIL and WO. A Discussion

    ok - gonna change it up a little bit. This time let's discuss her 3 debut albums for her three labels. In addition to what songs you liked or didn't like, how do you think it launched her time on that label? how well did it "kick things off?"

    DR 1970 - overall i think it's a stunning album. and of course Mountain is a fav song of mine. I think the inclusion of These Things is right and wrong. it's right to add something a bit more pop to the set in order to give some variety. but it's quite out of place. perhaps if A&S did most of the tracks and then another producer or two added a few. a bit more variety, like Right On

    WDFFIL - i actually like the lp. certainly not her most groundbreaking work. The solo version of Endless Love is ghastly although i get why they wanted to do it. just should have done a better version. The rest of Side One is strong - title track, Mirror, Sweet Surrender. Side 2 has strong points but Two Can Make It could use a bit more oomph

    WO - overall this is not a fav of mine. there's just too much straining. Clearly the producer did not do his homework in understanding what keys and range his artist could sing in. There are some moments though - Bottom Line is dated but still a good track. What baffles me with this set is that, by this time, i thought Diana had full control of her career. and if the lp wasn't finished or ready, why rush it? she should have had some authority to say - we need more time.

  2. #2
    Diana 70 is a classic.my only fault is Keep An Eye as she already recorded it two years earlier. Love it.
    WDFFIL. Hate it. I like the singles but the rest sounds like stuff that should have stayed in the vaults. Just disappointing
    WO.i like Paradise.Keep on Dancing.
    When she did the WO tour these songs sounded better live. Otherwise the lp needed an overhaul

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    ok - gonna change it up a little bit. This time let's discuss her 3 debut albums for her three labels. In addition to what songs you liked or didn't like, how do you think it launched her time on that label? how well did it "kick things off?
    DR 1970 - overall i think it's a stunning album. and of course Mountain is a fav song of mine. I think the inclusion of These Things is right and wrong. it's right to add something a bit more pop to the set in order to give some variety. but it's quite out of place. perhaps if A&S did most of the tracks and then another producer or two added a few. a bit more variety, like Right On

    WDFFIL - i actually like the lp. certainly not her most groundbreaking work. The solo version of Endless Love is ghastly although i get why they wanted to do it. just should have done a better version. The rest of Side One is strong - title track, Mirror, Sweet Surrender. Side 2 has strong points but Two Can Make It could use a bit more oomph

    WO - overall this is not a fav of mine. there's just too much straining. Clearly the producer did not do his homework in understanding what keys and range his artist could sing in. There are some moments though - Bottom Line is dated but still a good track. What baffles me with this set is that, by this time, i thought Diana had full control of her career. and if the lp wasn't finished or ready, why rush it? she should have had some authority to say - we need more time.
    DR70 remains one of her most consistent and cohesive set of songs. You can tell that great care was taken with the song selection, and Diana was vocally on fire. Nick and Val knew how to get the best out of Diana, and this album still sounds great today.
    WDFFIL was a poor start to her rca career. It was a badly produced album. Diana was clearly not cut out to produce herself. Her vocals were lazy, and as for some of the song choices on there.....
    Mirror Mirror was the one song that she got right. Sweet surrender and Think i'm in love were nice enough, but this was a poor start to her newly found freedom. I loved the cover, but i think the only reason it did so well was because she was still hot from Endless Love and the Chic album.
    WO was quite simply dreadful from start to finish. Nile had clearly not done his homework with regard to what was suitable for Diana and what was not. Everything about this album was tacky from the song selection to the quality of the vocals and production. And don't get me started on that cover...
    Diana hated this album and wanted to remix it the way the Chic album had been done, but Motown wanted the product out, and the world tour had already been arranged so there was no time for that. She promoted it in a very professional way, and only publicly let her guard down once with regards to her true feelings about the album. I still cannot listen to this album without cringing. Truly ghastly.

  4. #4
    The 70 album proved that Diana really did not need the Supremes, it was all about the Ross voice Anyone who ever doubted Diana's ability as a vocalist only has to listen to this album to prove otherwise. With not a bad song or performance on it the album screams class. For whatever reason motown lost faith and rush released E&E, an album inferior in every way..........Go figure!!!.

  5. #5
    I've given my positive thoughts of all 3 of these lps in many (MANY!) prior posts and so won't repeat hear, but will state that it is a validation of the lps' importance and Diana Ross' unchallengeable status as a major singer that 30 years after the most recent lp and nearly 50 years after the oldest one their merits are still being debated.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    The 70 album proved that Diana really did not need the Supremes, it was all about the Ross voice Anyone who ever doubted Diana's ability as a vocalist only has to listen to this album to prove otherwise. With not a bad song or performance on it the album screams class. For whatever reason motown lost faith and rush released E&E, an album inferior in every way..........Go figure!!!.
    i don't disagree with Ross' immense talent. But like a wonderful symphony orchestra, it's important to have equally talented people to play/sing with. M and F (and later C) also were incredibly talented and it would have been interesting to have seen more of what they could do together. like a situation of 1+1+1=5

    But i do agree that her work on DR70 was sensational

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    DR70 remains one of her most consistent and cohesive set of songs. You can tell that great care was taken with the song selection, and Diana was vocally on fire. Nick and Val knew how to get the best out of Diana, and this album still sounds great today.
    WDFFIL was a poor start to her rca career. It was a badly produced album. Diana was clearly not cut out to produce herself. Her vocals were lazy, and as for some of the song choices on there.....
    Mirror Mirror was the one song that she got right. Sweet surrender and Think i'm in love were nice enough, but this was a poor start to her newly found freedom. I loved the cover, but i think the only reason it did so well was because she was still hot from Endless Love and the Chic album.
    WO was quite simply dreadful from start to finish. Nile had clearly not done his homework with regard to what was suitable for Diana and what was not. Everything about this album was tacky from the song selection to the quality of the vocals and production. And don't get me started on that cover...
    Diana hated this album and wanted to remix it the way the Chic album had been done, but Motown wanted the product out, and the world tour had already been arranged so there was no time for that. She promoted it in a very professional way, and only publicly let her guard down once with regards to her true feelings about the album. I still cannot listen to this album without cringing. Truly ghastly.
    i do agree that WDFFIL was, while IMO fine enough as an album, was a bit lackluster for the big debut at RCA. Interesting to think if she'd crafted the album more around the sound from Mirror Mirror and what that concept could have been

    Was just listening to Bottom Line again this morning on a playlist while jogging. although it's certainly a dated sound from late 80s, i think it's a strong song. while not her best ever, if released as lead single it could have gone top 20 or maybe higher. I'm still baffled as to why it got so late in the production process as to how these songs weren't working out. Why she didn't demand alt material, remixed work, etc.

    And who was in charge of selecting that look for the cover!?!?! sure something b&w would have be on the mark for the times, but this is wild. the denim look used on some of the pic sleeves was better but not very exciting.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    DR70 remains one of her most consistent and cohesive set of songs. You can tell that great care was taken with the song selection, and Diana was vocally on fire. Nick and Val knew how to get the best out of Diana, and this album still sounds great today.
    WDFFIL was a poor start to her rca career. It was a badly produced album. Diana was clearly not cut out to produce herself. Her vocals were lazy, and as for some of the song choices on there.....
    Mirror Mirror was the one song that she got right. Sweet surrender and Think i'm in love were nice enough, but this was a poor start to her newly found freedom. I loved the cover, but i think the only reason it did so well was because she was still hot from Endless Love and the Chic album.
    WO was quite simply dreadful from start to finish. Nile had clearly not done his homework with regard to what was suitable for Diana and what was not. Everything about this album was tacky from the song selection to the quality of the vocals and production. And don't get me started on that cover...
    Diana hated this album and wanted to remix it the way the Chic album had been done, but Motown wanted the product out, and the world tour had already been arranged so there was no time for that. She promoted it in a very professional way, and only publicly let her guard down once with regards to her true feelings about the album. I still cannot listen to this album without cringing. Truly ghastly.
    I agree with your comments on all three albums.
    I listen to DR70 more than a few times a year. Great A&S production and songs. I love Diana's singing on this.
    I was underwhelmed by WDFFIL. It was a disappointing start to her RCA era. I was surprised how many mainstream music critics praised Diana's debut production effort.
    Mirror Mirror has become a favorite over the years but I never listen to the whole album.
    WO is my least favorite DR album. In fact, it is in no way any type of favorite. I do appreciate your comments here and it helps to know Diana hated the album, too. It definitely needed remixing or reworking. (Wasn't it Russ Terrana who remixed the diana
    album?)

  9. #9
    I'm gonna work my way backwards...I've never been a fan of the WO album, but it's not really a bad album at all. It's very contemporary. I think with a different vocalist the album would be considered strong. The problem is that most of the material doesn't say DIANA ROSS. I think the title cut was perfect. It fit her, it fit the times. I know I'm vocal around here about preferring Ross in an r&b mode vs pop, and I've said before that I think her wider audience prefers a mix of both. WO was straight r&b of 1988/89. I don't think the sound was going to do her any favors with the public, particularly the pop audience. R&B radio got behind the first single (I remember it being played a lot) but even they tuned out the next two singles. I chalk that up to the album not really having any true singles on it aside from the title cut. I actually think it might have been interesting to see what "We Stand Together" might have done. I think r&b radio would've played it but pop radio still would've ignored it. There's some nice tunes on WO but it just wasn't what I would've paired Ross with. Honestly, remove Natalie Cole (whom I LOVE, I'm a HUGE fan of, she might be in my top 5 fav female singers, easily top 10, so I consider it some kind of blasphemy to suggest this, but...) remove Natalie from her Good to Be Back album, replace with Diana, and I think Diana might have had a winner. The album was a good mix of r&b and pop, some catchy tunes, namely the big hit "Miss You Like Crazy", which I think Ross would've done justice to.

  10. #10
    WDFFIL...Just so wrong to have Diana producing her own stuff. It just doesn't work. The album does have some nice melodies like "Never Too Late" and "Think I'm In Love". "Sweet Surrender" is cool. Other than "Mirror" and "Work" though there's nothing really exciting or smash album worthy. I think the idea of building the album around the "Mirror, Mirror" and "Work That Body" sound, especially after Diana 80, that was the way to go.

    The debut album...it was a winner. Pairing Ross with A&S was Motown getting it right. I'm not a fan of every song (I usually skip "You're All I Need" and "Can It Wait" and "Keep An Eye", though they aren't bad songs), but it's a very cohesive album all the way through. I would've replaced "Eye" with something else (maybe "Stoney End" or "Love Lines") since she had already done it during DRATS. I also would've gone with a different picture for the cover. I've never liked it. I would've gone with an alternate of the shot on the back of Surrender, the full body one with her standing over the moon.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    And who was in charge of selecting that look for the cover!?!?! sure something b&w would have be on the mark for the times, but this is wild. the denim look used on some of the pic sleeves was better but not very exciting.
    What's the problem with the cover? It looks just fine to me. I think the cover relays what's in the music. I do prefer the shot from the "This House" single in terms of what appeals to my eye, but it wouldn't make sense for this album. The "This House" cover would've been good had she done a Good to Be Back type album.

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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    The 70 album proved that Diana really did not need the Supremes, it was all about the Ross voice Anyone who ever doubted Diana's ability as a vocalist only has to listen to this album to prove otherwise. With not a bad song or performance on it the album screams class. For whatever reason motown lost faith and rush released E&E, an album inferior in every way..........Go figure!!!.
    I don't think she needed the Supremes anymore. The Ross of 1970 was not the Ross of 1966. The DRATS period definitely helped her hone her superstar abilities. But by this time it was a good idea for her to ditch the group and advance.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    What's the problem with the cover? It looks just fine to me. I think the cover relays what's in the music. I do prefer the shot from the "This House" single in terms of what appeals to my eye, but it wouldn't make sense for this album. The "This House" cover would've been good had she done a Good to Be Back type album.

    Name:  Diana Ross This House.jpg
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    my problem with the cover is that she just looks tacky. This is a woman who had built a significant amount of her career on looks and image and IMO this was just the wrong image to convey the music. sure she was going for new jack swing and late 80s r&b. and she certainly shouldn't have tried to copy someone else's look. Diana Ross is glamour personified so i would have liked to have seen her define "glamour" in the lens of this contemporary sound.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    my problem with the cover is that she just looks tacky. This is a woman who had built a significant amount of her career on looks and image and IMO this was just the wrong image to convey the music. sure she was going for new jack swing and late 80s r&b. and she certainly shouldn't have tried to copy someone else's look. Diana Ross is glamour personified so i would have liked to have seen her define "glamour" in the lens of this contemporary sound.
    I agree. The cover was tacky. My first reaction was "absurd" and "trying too hard". Now the cover for "This House" is way, way better! It's beautiful, glamorous and "not desperate". In fact, I would have preferred it if the album was titled This House, especially as I recall Diana explaining in an interview that she and her children called it their "house" music.
    I didn't care much for Workin' Overtime the single, either. I prefer Bottom Line and Paradise and This House.
    Last edited by lucky2012; 06-12-2019 at 03:11 PM.

  15. #15
    Love Diana Ross 1970. One of her best. WDFFIL was ok. I hardly ever play it. Had some good songs but wasn’t a strong enough album. But “Mirror Mirror” is outstanding IMO. I know WO is not a favorite among fans. But when this album first came out. I wore it out. I enjoyed it very much. However my least favorite song on the album is WO. Lol. I hardly ever play the album today. But again there is a lot of albums that I loved back in the day and never play today.

  16. #16
    ^exactly. Trying to hard is the perfect description. she just looks out of place. now certainly no one would deny that she was beautiful and young looking. for her age!

    to me, her appearance in the video looks like those guys in the late 50s at the gay bars wearing a Hollister t-shirt, trying to sport a bieber hairstyle and drinking Red Bull and vodka! lololol it's important to know when to pass that baton on lol

    again, she was trying to force herself into the youth culture rather than take that current culture and make it her own.

  17. #17
    I can't imagine for the life of me why motown did not milk the debut album for further hit singles. I really love this superior version of "Keep An Eye" and think it could have done well as a single as people love a story. "Somethings On My Mind" and "Now That There's You" also had single potential.
    The care that went into this album is evident. I actually like the cover pic and find it quite refreshing. Diana in a sexy frock looking gorgeous would have been rather ho- hum.
    Although this is Diana's official first solo album, i kind of think of Cream Of The Crop as her first as virtually all the songs on it are Diana solos.

  18. #18
    Y'all definition of "tacky" and mine are apparently two different things. I think she looks great on the cover of WO. No, it wasn't the glamour Ross, but neither was the Diana 80 album cover (which I suspect was the inspiration for the second pairing of Diana with Nile) or the Swept Away album cover. It was the late 80s and the ripped jeans thing was in. True enough there weren't a lot of 40 plus year olds rockin that look, but IMO if there was ever a 40something to pull it off, it was Diana Ross. I think around the same time the Pointer Sisters also tried a similar look and they looked equally as hot.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I can't imagine for the life of me why motown did not milk the debut album for further hit singles. I really love this superior version of "Keep An Eye" and think it could have done well as a single as people love a story. "Somethings On My Mind" and "Now That There's You" also had single potential.
    The care that went into this album is evident. I actually like the cover pic and find it quite refreshing. Diana in a sexy frock looking gorgeous would have been rather ho- hum.
    Although this is Diana's official first solo album, i kind of think of Cream Of The Crop as her first as virtually all the songs on it are Diana solos.
    I don't think there was really another single to be found on the first album. Surrender should've been the followup album and the subsequent singles should've been culled from that. I really like the Everything album and believe it should've come out, but it should've been after Surrender, not before.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I don't think there was really another single to be found on the first album. Surrender should've been the followup album and the subsequent singles should've been culled from that. I really like the Everything album and believe it should've come out, but it should've been after Surrender, not before.
    I think Surrender should have been the follow up single. Remember me is lovely and great but Surrender has more drama. yet it's different enough from Mountain to not be a copy cat.

    then they should have released the full Surrender lp for the holidays. Remember me would have been single 2. not sure if i'd have done a 3rd single or not

    maybe then go out with the Everything set and lead with I'm Still Waiting single. that would have been a solid follow up to Remember Me. Also the additional time might have given Deke the ability to do a more solid set of songs. in the EE booklet he talks about just not having the time to make the album what it should have been and relying too much on covers

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Y'all definition of "tacky" and mine are apparently two different things. I think she looks great on the cover of WO. No, it wasn't the glamour Ross, but neither was the Diana 80 album cover (which I suspect was the inspiration for the second pairing of Diana with Nile) or the Swept Away album cover. It was the late 80s and the ripped jeans thing was in. True enough there weren't a lot of 40 plus year olds rockin that look, but IMO if there was ever a 40something to pull it off, it was Diana Ross. I think around the same time the Pointer Sisters also tried a similar look and they looked equally as hot.
    but Diana was 10 years younger when she did the cover of diana 80. and it's not that she has to be in sequin regalia on all albums. diana has been known for making her own look and not following the specifics of others. I just think something more like Paula Abdul's look for Straight Up would have been a better fit. or jody watley.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Y'all definition of "tacky" and mine are apparently two different things. I think she looks great on the cover of WO. No, it wasn't the glamour Ross, but neither was the Diana 80 album cover (which I suspect was the inspiration for the second pairing of Diana with Nile) or the Swept Away album cover. It was the late 80s and the ripped jeans thing was in. True enough there weren't a lot of 40 plus year olds rockin that look, but IMO if there was ever a 40something to pull it off, it was Diana Ross. I think around the same time the Pointer Sisters also tried a similar look and they looked equally as hot.
    I agree. And believe me I saw a lot of over 40 years old wearing the ripped jeans. In fact it’s back in fashion today. I also thought Diana Ross looked good.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    but Diana was 10 years younger when she did the cover of diana 80. and it's not that she has to be in sequin regalia on all albums. diana has been known for making her own look and not following the specifics of others. I just think something more like Paula Abdul's look for Straight Up would have been a better fit. or jody watley.
    The covers of DR 70, diana 80, Swept Away and WO were all startling to me.
    After the initial shock, the DR 70 cover was startlingly bold and ultimately a refreshing statement about the solo artist.
    The diana 80 cover was glamorously chic (pun intended). Also, like you said, she was 10 years younger, relevant and at the top. Seemed like everyone loved the album and cover.
    At RCA, she was competing with Madonna, Tina, Whitney. (And her album covers reflected it.)
    I began to smh with the SA cover. This was the first time I felt she was obviously reaching.(Unlike the previous Ross 83 cover, which was startling but mesmerizing.) But the SA cover probably served its possible shock-value purpose in attracting notice and interest and even, maybe, sales.
    I've already posted what I felt about the WO cover and album. In a way, I wish the FBTP album had been her important Return to Motown album.
    Last edited by lucky2012; 06-13-2019 at 07:10 PM.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I don't think there was really another single to be found on the first album. Surrender should've been the followup album and the subsequent singles should've been culled from that. I really like the Everything album and believe it should've come out, but it should've been after Surrender, not before.
    I'm not quite so sure Ran. I think "Somethings On My Mind" in particular could have done well as a single. As regards the Surrender album i am in total agreement. It would have made a great sister album to the debut.
    I do like many of the songs on EIE. It is a much lighter, feel good album that makes for a nice change of pace.. The fact is did we really need yet another album at that point, be it before or after Surrender?.
    As regards WO, i also think the cover was perfect, and reflected the music it contained. Had the vocals been recorded in her sexy, lower register it could and most probably would have been huge.

  25. #25
    ^ I've always liked Something On My Mind but never thought of it as a single, especially after ANMHE. But in 1970, songs like Close To You and Make It With You were huge hits, so maybe SOMM could have been a hit, too.
    Yeah, Surrender (album and single) would have been great after DR 70!
    I tend to think there was no real need for EIE but there was a long time between Surrender and Lady Sings The Blues. I agree with sup_fan that I'm Still Waiting would have been a solid follow up to Remember Me.

  26. #26
    ^i think if Deke had had the proper time to construct his material and songs, it might have been ok. after Surrender i think it would have been time to try something else. and they would have needed something to fill in the void of Diana preparing for Lady. a lighter pop album (like EIE) could have filled the void

  27. #27
    ^ Releasing singles from the Surrender album which was choc full of potential hits would have filled the void. After the massive success of "I'm Still Waiting", Diana was scorching hot in the UK. The public were hungry for more.
    I'm not quite sure where EIE really fits in. The only time span when there was not much happening was 75. By then the material would have sounded dated and quite wrong as she was now recording far more mature and adult themed material.

  28. #28
    In the UK Diana was primarily regarded as a singles artist although any compilations flew off the shelves.

    The 70s albums generally performed much better than later ones.

    I tend to find that there were 3 maybe 4 tracks which could have made a single but the others were nothing more than pleasant album tracks.

    What I find interesting is that no-one has mentioned These Things Will Keep Me Loving You from the Diana Ross album as a potential single.

    Probably not a #1 but surely a bigger hit than Reach Out And Touch although it should be remembered that Reach Out went top10 in both Cashbox and Record World.
    Certainly it was perfect for the UK market and Motown missed a trick in not releasing it when with no new material and the UK Public hungry for a single from Diana they issued Doobe'doodn'doobe.

    The fact that it made it to #12 shows just how popular Diana was here at the time.

  29. #29
    ^ Interesting thoughts. I think These Things probably would have done better as a debut single in the UK than in the US because of its Pop qualities. The US market has a larger R&B segment and the song was too similar to Someday We'll Be Together, which had hit #1 in the US. But it's interesting to wonder if These Things could have been a bigger hit in the US than Reach Out and Touch. Also, how would it have compared to Up the Ladder to the Roof?
    I definitely think These Things would have been preferable to Doobe'doodn'doobe.
    Which 3 or 4 tracks could have made it as singles? I've always liked Dark Side of the World and Where There Was Darkness.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by florence View Post
    In the UK Diana was primarily regarded as a singles artist although any compilations flew off the shelves.

    The 70s albums generally performed much better than later ones.

    I tend to find that there were 3 maybe 4 tracks which could have made a single but the others were nothing more than pleasant album tracks.

    What I find interesting is that no-one has mentioned These Things Will Keep Me Loving You from the Diana Ross album as a potential single.

    Probably not a #1 but surely a bigger hit than Reach Out And Touch although it should be remembered that Reach Out went top10 in both Cashbox and Record World.
    Certainly it was perfect for the UK market and Motown missed a trick in not releasing it when with no new material and the UK Public hungry for a single from Diana they issued Doobe'doodn'doobe.

    The fact that it made it to #12 shows just how popular Diana was here at the time.
    Hi Florence. These things was considered for single release in the UK, but not until the release of the greatest hits set in 1972. And if you see him was also considered, but for some reason neither was released. Not sure why. It was well before i had any involvement.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    Hi Florence. These things was considered for single release in the UK, but not until the release of the greatest hits set in 1972. And if you see him was also considered, but for some reason neither was released. Not sure why. It was well before i had any involvement.
    I liked both songs and would have issued both. wasted oppurtuntiy

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