[REMOVE ADS]




Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1

    What If Diana Ross Had Stayed With Motown

    I am curious what everyone thinks the trajectory of Diana Ross and Motown would have been if she had stayed with Motown? Obviously, this is just conjecture but if you put aside whether Motown could afford to pay the $20 million she received at RCA, I think she would have been given more freedom but that her overall output would have been of a higher caliber but I expect the results still would have been spotty. As far as Motown is concerned, I think Motown would have still had the slow decline that it had without Diana and would still have been sold. It seems that for the most part, Berry Gordy had lost interest in the record business. Just my thoughts.

  2. #2
    If I'm not mistaken we've done this subject within the last year Mo, however, who gives a shit. It'll be interesting to read new ideas on the subject and also to see if my view has changed at all.

    IMO, Diana remaining at Motown would've increased her legacy. While she continued to make a handful of hits at RCA, including some nice to big sellers, musically speaking she didn't knock the folks over like she did at Motown. While most of her big RCA hits were great songs, she recorded a lot of forgettable stuff there. Now I didn't like every song she recorded at Motown, and I might be able to argue that there were a few who were forgettable, but mostly even the worst of her Motown stuff holds a level of listen-ability for me, whereas the worst of her RCA stuff I just cannot sit through.

    I agree that eventually Motown would've had to give Diana a bit more freedom. She was already taking it whether they were willing to give it to her or not, but I don't think Motown would have ever allowed her complete creative control because they knew she wasn't good enough for that. Diana just didn't really know music the way her counterparts like Smokey, Marvin and Stevie did. They deserved complete creative control, Diana did not. Sometimes you have to know your limitations.

    Finally, at Motown, I think we would have gotten album projects produced by Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Michael Masser, another one from Ashford and Simpson. Someone might have even been able to spearhead a Luther produced album. Who knows how many additional #1s Diana missed out on by being at RCA under her own expertise. We certainly missed out on possible classic albums.

  3. #3
    I think she might have had greater r 'n b oriented output, because even when she veered into pop with Motown she always came back to strong r 'n b stuff which I liked. That said, not sure it would have made a huge difference overall for either Motown or Ross. We did get a few spotty gems from RCA albums as well ex. "You Do It", just love that song.

  4. #4
    Diana and Berry had clashed since MAHOGANY and she wanted more creative control. I think ROSS was the last album Berry had anything to do with. So wanting more control and more money probably would have been a key contract point. So if Diana had stayed, I'm not sure there would have been much difference in her output.

    Also, considering Motown seemed to be having problems money-wise, giving Diana a big money contract plus hiring outside producers like Quincy Jones and Luther Vandross for albums that might or might not have sold big might have made Berry sell Motown earlier than he did.

  5. #5
    She was never going to stay at Motown. Have you never heard the lyrics to I’m Coming Out? It’s all about her bid for freedom from Berry’s control.

    That’s not to say she was ungrateful or that the split was acrimonious. In interviews, Diana has, many times, eluded to it being akin to a grown up child leaving home. You don’t stop loving your family, just because you grow up.

    She was very grateful to Berry And Motown, and remains so to this day, but it was time for her to go.

    Besides, she was broke. She had to borrow money in 1979 to pay taxes. That RCA money set her up for the rest of her life.
    Last edited by grangertim; 04-05-2020 at 02:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Money aside, had she stayed with Motown i think we would have ended up with far better produced albums then her first two efforts. I’m guessing she was surrounded by to many yes men at rca.
    I think it very likely she would have recorded an album with Stevie Wonder as she has always admired his music.
    What i also find intriguing is Diana’s film career. With the mighty motown machine behind her and straight talking people to advise, would Naked At The Feast and other film roles have reached fruition. I certainly feel there would have been a much better chance.

  7. #7
    I would have liked to see the follow-up to 'diana' being 'ross' (also produced by Nile & Bernard).

  8. #8
    Kinda glad she took off. Motown wasn’t the hit making machine it in the 60s and 70s. Sure you had the OCCASIONAL Smokey, Stevie, or DeBarge hit and Lionel was cruising along but Diana’s 80’s RCA output - uneven as it was - is perfectly exemplary of the mood of that decade.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by monicarivers View Post
    Kinda glad she took off. Motown wasn’t the hit making machine it in the 60s and 70s. Sure you had the OCCASIONAL Smokey, Stevie, or DeBarge hit and Lionel was cruising along but Diana’s 80’s RCA output - uneven as it was - is perfectly exemplary of the mood of that decade.
    I agree. I loved her RCA years

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Diana and Berry had clashed since MAHOGANY and she wanted more creative control. I think ROSS was the last album Berry had anything to do with. So wanting more control and more money probably would have been a key contract point. So if Diana had stayed, I'm not sure there would have been much difference in her output.

    Also, considering Motown seemed to be having problems money-wise, giving Diana a big money contract plus hiring outside producers like Quincy Jones and Luther Vandross for albums that might or might not have sold big might have made Berry sell Motown earlier than he did.
    It was mostly about the money. She had been courted by a few record companies for several years but was always persuaded to stay by Gordy.
    Personally i wish she had stayed with Motown for a few more years. She needed a strong personality to stand up to her, and the music would surely have been more consistent, but it set her up financially for life which was her main concern.

  11. #11
    i think that if she had stayed at motown we would have gotten a Lionel Ritchie produced album. And i'm wondering if (possibly) we might have gotten a smokey one.

    I agree though that motown's position in the industry had declined quite a bit by the 80s. Although perhaps part of that was due to the departure of Diana. with the loss of the queen, the rest of the court drifted

  12. #12
    I think she was at the point where she wanted to have more control and know where the money was, and where it was going.

  13. #13
    now we've all discussed a LOT what might have happened with her record career. but what about her movie career? unfortunately the Wiz is the last thing and frankly, what an unfortunate mess of a movie to end a career on!

    So had she stayed with motown, do you think the Josephine Baker concept might have moved forward? Motown only did a handful of things in the 80s but maybe with a star like Diana they could have done more

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    now we've all discussed a LOT what might have happened with her record career. but what about her movie career? unfortunately the Wiz is the last thing and frankly, what an unfortunate mess of a movie to end a career on!

    So had she stayed with motown, do you think the Josephine Baker concept might have moved forward? Motown only did a handful of things in the 80s but maybe with a star like Diana they could have done more
    Diana said that Josephine offered to sell her life story to Berry for $1 million but he didn't want to pay it. Seems like after the failure of THE WIZ, a big budget movie was probably out of the question. But after Motown's success with LONESOME DOVE, maybe the Baker story could have been done for television.

  15. #15
    Lynn Whitfield and Audra McDonald both did justice to Josephine and Billie respectively however, even at 76, I could see Diana portray Josephine during the later years of her life or Billie, as Audra did on Broadway.

  16. #16
    Nope Naw Nawda
    If Diana had stayed with Motown, we would have gotten a few surprises from Motown but Diana would be broke by now (given the fact that she did marry Arne and I have no idea what that divorce settlement brought her). When that last album struck "Upside Down", and "I'm Coming Out", the fairy dust was upon her and she would have been out of her mind to stay. Motown even started collecting Cars and coats that she thought she owned. She made the best decision of her life getting out of there.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

[REMOVE ADS]

Ralph Terrana
MODERATOR

Welcome to Soulful Detroit! Kindly Consider Turning Off Your Ad BlockingX
Soulful Detroit is a free service that relies on revenue from ad display [regrettably] and donations. We notice that you are using an ad-blocking program that prevents us from earning revenue during your visit.
Ads are REMOVED for Members who donate to Soulful Detroit. [You must be logged in for ads to disappear]
DONATE HERE »
And have Ads removed.