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  1. #1

    Diana, inspiration or obsession?

    CLUB REVIEW - Billboard May 1969

    Dionne Warwick Sparkles In Flawless Performance
    NEW YORK — Dionne Warwick, appearing and sounding comfortable relaxed, scored a big success at her Copacabana opening on Thursday (9). Miss Warwick's vibrant performance was ferfect in all repects as she spun her way through many of her top hits, from “Don't Make Me Over,” her first single in 1962, to her current “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” All of her recordings have been made for Scepter Records.
    But, the program was more than a reprise of her hits. Miss Warwick gave good comic impressions of Diana Ross of the Supremes, Pearl Bailey and Marlene Dietrich. The last, with blonde wig, ended with Miss Warwick switching from the impersonation of Miss Dietrich's deep throaty voice to the artist’s own style, in “Falling in Love Again.”
    There was still more, as the Scepter star effectively merged “The Impossible Dream" and “What the World Needs Now”Is Love Sweet Love.” She sang a dramatic “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” which is in her forthcoming gospel album. and also scored with “The Look of Love” and “I Think I'm Going Out of My Head.” which gave her an opportunity to belt in fine full- voiced style.
    Miss Warwick also sang some of her biggest hits: “I Say a Little Prayer.” “Alfie,” “Walk on By.” and her million-seller “Valley of the Dolls,” as well as good album cuts with “Up and Away” and “What's Good About Good-Bye.” Lee Valentine conducted her exciting program, which proved a genuine triumph.
    Donna Summer at 4.58mn


  2. #2
    Other than Mary Wilson, I don’t think any of the other ladies were obsessed - they paid respect to a trailblazer who became a success

  3. #3
    This one by the Three Degrees, very funny


  4. #4
    And another by Donna Summer in 1983


  5. #5
    I saw Dionne's impersonation of Diana. I laughed.

  6. #6
    Skip to @ 5:17:


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I saw Dionne's impersonation of Diana. I laughed.
    Then you would absolutely die if you heard what Dionne said about how and why Diana had a singing career......LOL!!!!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Then you would absolutely die if you heard what Dionne said about how and why Diana had a singing career......LOL!!!!!
    You obviously haven’t read David Nathan’s book “The Soulful Divas”. I’ll take his interviews with Diana and Dionne over your pathetic hearsay any day.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Skip to @ 5:17:

    I love and miss my Aretha, but ... this is painful ...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Then you would absolutely die if you heard what Dionne said about how and why Diana had a singing career......LOL!!!!!
    No because we aren’t into the obsession of a 10 year old school girl

  11. #11
    I rejected that Marv, but unfortunately, I still see his appalling comments when he is quoted.

    The forum is so cool without him , so painful with him

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    This one by the Three Degrees, very funny

    Yeah, that was cool. I love them. Clearly Diana Ross had developed a public reputation as a spotlight hog waaaaayyyy before Dreamgirl existed.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Skip to @ 5:17:

    I loved it the first time I saw it. I wish the Queen had attempted to really mimic Diana's singing though. As is, it's a really nice impersonation.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Then you would absolutely die if you heard what Dionne said about how and why Diana had a singing career......LOL!!!!!
    Really? Wow! Why don't you tell us what she said? I always look forward to you regaling us with your stories of what other people say about Diana Ross. You could write a book!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Really? Wow! Why don't you tell us what she said? I always look forward to you regaling us with your stories of what other people say about Diana Ross. You could write a book!
    It's pretty vulgar. I would have to clear it with Ralph first.

  16. #16
    When you're as legendary as Diana Ross is, you inspire in both positive and negative ways. Her story really does read like the epitome of the American Dream. To go from her start in life to on top of the world, and to do it in a period of time that was certainly not kind to Black people, and not always kind to women, it's an incredible story. And the recollections of the people who were there in the beginning, talking about how hard she worked and studied, and how hellbent she was on soaring to the top; that's what one hopes to see in all young people. The Diana Ross story is definitely one of many that I would use to illustrate to younger folks the importance of hard work, a good work ethic, and zeroing in on your goals and chasing them without ceasing, and the result of it all.

    Unfortunately, that kind of legendary material also leads to obsessive focus. We see it around here with people who make it a point to diminish Diana, not only as a talented artist, but also as a human being. They find it funny when Diana is poked in an inappropriate place by a drunk male fan; joke about Diana breaking a bone at this stage of her life; snidely remark that she's "next" in line to die from the cast of The Wiz. They bring up how we should continue to judge her for things she may or may not have done back in the 1960s when she was barely of age; they scour the internet for negative stories and articles about her. That's an obsession.

    And yet still, there are others who are obsessed with Diana Ross to the point that any criticism leveled on her isn't just disagreed with, but can become "fighting words". Diana's enemies become their enemies. If you praise- in particular- Flo Ballard or Mary Wilson, there's a need to counter that praise with either praise of Diana or a dismissive post in response. It's a really weird cult like experience. But I think this is all mostly an internet phenomenon. The general public recognizes Diana's legendary status and they treat her accordingly. Her story, when recounted, is often an inspiration. It's not without it's warts of course, none of our stories are. Ross wasn't, and isn't, perfect. But she seems to be highly respected among those who know her and aren't holding grudges about things from 40, 50, 60 years ago.

    And one other thing: regarding her peers, whatever criticisms they may hold for Diana Ross, I don't believe I have ever read a quote or heard with my own ears any of them say a bad word about her singing. Even when they talk about her being a bitch back in the day, they still never utter the words "she couldn't sing" or any similar sentiments. That says a lot about her talent.

  17. #17
    Nice post.

    Another point about Diana's songs - when her colleagues try to sing her songs, most of the time, their attempts pale when compared to the originals.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Nice post.


    Another point about Diana's songs - when her colleagues try to sing her songs, most of the time, their attempts pale when compared to the originals.
    yes, you're right.


    I also think that Diana fascinated and irritated long before internet. The reason I started this topic is because of my surprise, and delight, when I saw that Dionne Warwick impersonate her as early as 1969 along with Dietrich and Bailey. 1969 not 1989.


    This proves that Diana was an original beyond her time and Miss Franklin imitation shows she didn't know what to do with her. Praise, mockery, both?

  19. #19
    Dionne's Diana Ross impersonation.

  20. #20
    Diana's success in the 1960s is pretty remarkable considering the world she was born into. From a slightly lower middle class (but well educated) family living in various Detroit neighborhoods to performing in front of world stages with over 35 years of hits. It's an amazing accomplishment. And yeah, adulation and ridicule come hand in hand when you make history. Pioneers are never given their FULL respect until they die. Diana gets a lot more love now than she did in the '80s but I don't think the full realization won't happen until she dies. Look how suddenly people recall how groundbreaking Whitney Houston was after she died. They'll do the same with Diana.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Dionne's Diana Ross impersonation.
    George Kirby was great. I really miss him. Dionne can't even make herself sound bad even when imitating someone like Diana Ross! LOL!

  22. #22
    Here's Gladys Knight's version of "Diana Ross" LOL!


  23. #23
    and then, Aretha's imitation of "Diana Ross" hehehehehehe......


  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Nice post.

    Another point about Diana's songs - when her colleagues try to sing her songs, most of the time, their attempts pale when compared to the originals.
    Thanks Rob.

    Regarding Diana's songs, and even Diana led Supremes songs, if an artist doesn't take the song and turn it into an almost completely different production, something is usually lost because of the uniqueness of the original singer. One of my favorite Supremes covers is Margie Joseph's "Stop In the Name Of Love". In Margie's hands, an upbeat, finger snapping, toe tapping number like "Stop" becomes a pleading ballad that seems as much a perfect home for Margie's take as it does the Supremes. On the flip, Queen Ree took on "It's My Turn" and she did it very well, except IMO Ree's version was all about the technique, which was superb, while Diana's version was all about the emotion. The Queen sounded like a woman singing a song, while Diana sounded like a woman who was singing what she was living.

  25. #25
    Dionne's impersonation was hilarious!

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post

    This proves that Diana was an original beyond her time and Miss Franklin imitation shows she didn't know what to do with her. Praise, mockery, both?
    I don't think it was either. I think it was nothing more than an impersonation, probably the Queen wanting to showcase her comical side on stage, which is not usually something she did. Her impersonation of Diana, and also Mavis and Gladys, I'm sure, knowing the Queen, had nothing to do with praising them. But I also don't think she was mocking them either. Although there may have been a little bit of "Hey, I can sing like those girls...but can they sing like me?"

  27. #27
    Hey Marv, next dig out all the impersonations of Mary. I'd love to see those. Surely you must have them???

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Dionne's Diana Ross impersonation.
    Now that's mockery! This has to be the most disrespectful impersonation I've seen from that time period from one legend to another. Clearly the point being made is that the lady can't sing. I thought Dionne was better than that.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    And yeah, adulation and ridicule come hand in hand when you make history.
    Very accurate Midnight. Very.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    Hey Marv, next dig out all the impersonations of Mary. I'd love to see those. Surely you must have them???
    In the Dionne video there was an impersonation of Mary: invisible. Why make fun of the other Supremes when Diana was the one they all wanted to be?

  31. #31
    Here's a great one showing how great Diana is even alongside another great.


  32. #32
    Here's Donna Summer talking about Ross around the 2:13 mark.


  33. #33
    Mariah a few years ago. "A tribute to Diana Ross, because we love her."


  34. #34
    Erykah Badu


  35. #35
    One of my favorite Diana tributes: Yolanda Adams.


  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    One of my favorite Diana tributes: Yolanda Adams.

    I love this one. There was a lot of love in the house that night for Diana.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Dionne's Diana Ross impersonation.
    Well, Kirby did a good job, particularly of Joe Williams. Dionne ... not so much. Hard to believe she would have assented to make such an ass of herself with such grotesque, ill-humored caricatures.

  38. #38
    This thread began as a few clips of singers who were influenced by Diana and then went sour with the usual suspect trickling in with yet another attempt of trying to convince the forum how much Diana’s peers hate and mock her. Ridiculous. Dionne’s ‘60’s impersonations were silly and all in good fun. It’s 2020 - these women are in their 70’s now and all are very fortunate to still be performing and respect one another as peers and legends.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    Hey Marv, next dig out all the impersonations of Mary. I'd love to see those. Surely you must have them???
    If I find any, I am sure none of them will be men! LOL!


  40. #40
    This is one of the best. She should have won an Emmy for this! LOL!


  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    If I find any, I am sure none of them will be men! LOL!

    Drag queens have been doing Diana for decades (ditto for Barbra, Judy, Cher, Tina) - nothing new nor is this an insult to her. Get a grip...you’re way too invested in this thread.

  42. #42
    What the clips show, is that what used to set Diana apart has become the trend.
    R&B singers and more, are doing what Diana has been doing all along.


    Donna Summer or Valery Simpson say it very well.


    "she brought class and style to the R&B scene, and an awareness of black femininity. We became addicted to her sound (sexy, smooth and meaningful)- writer's dream come true."
    Last edited by Albator; 02-13-2020 at 05:22 AM.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    If I find any, I am sure none of them will be men! LOL!

    Oh, I don't care who they are. I'd love to see the clips. You're great at finding things I've never seen. You dug up some great 70s stuff I've never seen on another thread.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by monicarivers View Post
    Drag queens have been doing Diana for decades (ditto for Barbra, Judy, Cher, Tina) - nothing new nor is this an insult to her. Get a grip...you’re way too invested in this thread.
    This, and every thread that involves Diana! If any other ex-Supreme had the voice or personality to be tributed in drag we know he'd be over the moon about it.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    This, and every thread that involves Diana! If any other ex-Supreme had the voice or personality to be tributed in drag we know he'd be over the moon about it.
    Well either that or participating

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Well either that or participating
    ... EWWW ... which brings us full circle to the original question. Fans = inspiration; embittered haters = obsession.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    ... EWWW ... which brings us full circle to the original question. Fans = inspiration; embittered haters = obsession.
    Every single goddamned thread has turned into a blabberfest about who’s better than Diana or who allegedly still hates her after some ridiculous incident or hearsay that happened 50 years ago. I would be so embarrassed if both living original members of the Supremes and their other fans knew about me and the vitriol I spewed (it I were said person).

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by monicarivers View Post
    Every single goddamned thread has turned into a blabberfest about who’s better than Diana or who allegedly still hates her after some ridiculous incident or hearsay that happened 50 years ago. I would be so embarrassed if both living original members of the Supremes and their other fans knew about me and the vitriol I spewed (it I were said person).
    It's all ignored; they understand what they are dealing with.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Now that's mockery! This has to be the most disrespectful impersonation I've seen from that time period from one legend to another. Clearly the point being made is that the lady can't sing. I thought Dionne was better than that.
    No, it’s parody, not mockery. You need to see it in the context of the whole skit.

    Having written that: it isn’t very good parody. Neither is her Pearl Bailey parody very good. Maybe that’s why Dionne never had an acting career. She cannot act.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by grangertim View Post
    No, it’s parody, not mockery. You need to see it in the context of the whole skit.

    Having written that: it isn’t very good parody. Neither is her Pearl Bailey parody very good. Maybe that’s why Dionne never had an acting career. She cannot act.
    Naw, that was mockery, not parody. Parody was the Three Degrees' Fayette placing her hands in front of the others' faces while they sang. It was an exaggerated impression of Ross. Had Dionne attempted to mimic and even exaggerate Ross' cooing, that would've been parody. What Dionne did was out of tune and painful. Her impression was of a Ross who couldn't sing. That aint parody.

    But I agree about Dionne's acting. She was in a movie back in the day, I think it was called Slave or something like that. I saw a snippet once and I thought even from that little bit that acting was not Dionne's talent.

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