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  1. #1

    Why Take Me Higher didn't catch on in U.S.

    I know that this topic has already been discussed a few times here, but I would like to resume the conversation in 2021. Recently, I was listening to this wonderful album and thinking about how it brings together all the ingredients for a successful album: excellent songs, a strong lead single, an updated and stylish look by Diana, a lot of promotion at the beginning, contemporary production and even a Superbowl halftime performance!!!. But the commercial result of the record was quite lackluster. No radio airplay, no significant sales. The album didn't even crack the Billboard Top 100. Why?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    I know that this topic has already been discussed a few times here, but I would like to resume the conversation in 2021. Recently, I was listening to this wonderful album and thinking about how it brings together all the ingredients for a successful album: excellent songs, a strong lead single, an updated and stylish look by Diana, a lot of promotion at the beginning, contemporary production and even a Superbowl halftime performance!!!. But the commercial result of the record was quite lackluster. No radio airplay, no significant sales. The album didn't even crack the Billboard Top 100. Why?
    Diana had been out of the mainstream of hit artists for a quite a while; I'm sure there was a quite a lot of ageism involved; perhaps some racism and sexism.

    But I think mainly she was years beyond her peak and she would have needed a major tour and a major publicity campaign behind her from a large record company. And it wasn't there.

    But it was an outstanding record. I think it's aged very well.

  3. #3
    I don't wish to seem callus or glib, but the answer is easy. TME was released when Diana was 51 years old. How many top 40 singles have there been since, say, 1960 that were recorded by singers 51 years old? Some, sure. Many? Nope. And each time we drill-down to top 30, top 20, and top 10 the number decreases exponentially.

  4. #4
    Yes! But I mean... the album peaked at #114 on the Billboard Top 200. Really? It was not because ageism because older artists were still selling albums in U.S. in the 90's. I can understand why the single wasn't a major mainstream pop hit... her age at the time explains it. But she was barely selling albums and she was Diana Ross!!! And even the adult contemporary format wasn't very open to her. It's kinda strange.

  5. #5
    not sure but its my own personal gem.

  6. #6
    The ironic thing is, although the sales weren’t there, it was a visual comeback/video hit with the younger generation. Several of the videos were in rotation on video outlets.

  7. #7
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    Fans and the record buying public had been burned over and over by her RCA duds, myself included. Interest in Ross and her new music was over. It had little to do with age. It had to do with repeated RCA garbage that ended her career as anything but an oldies artist. Tragic self-inflicted wounds proved incurable.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 02-16-2021 at 12:03 AM.

  8. #8
    There were decent sales on several RCA singles and albums - Fools and Swept Away

    If there was one album that really killed off interest, it was the Motown return - Workin Overtime

  9. #9
    One simple answer. No promotion. Whoever was in charge at Motown was not interested in promoting it. Diana could of had a hit with a little backing from the label. I don’t believe age or the quality of the music had anything to do with it. IMO. Diana promoted the hell out of it on tv and concerts. Motown did nothing.

  10. #10
    Unlike Europe, the American buying public is fairly fickle and extremely youth orientated. Diana could have released the most commercial album known to man and still the USA market would have turned it’s back.
    I agree with Circa, in that the American record buying public had lost faith in her music after so many weak RCA releases.
    The album did fairly well in Europe, but the image she was projecting was a little to young for her age. Sure she still looked fantastic, but that does not alter the fact she had by now entered her 50’s.
    Perhaps that is the reason why a more MOR, adult orientated album such as FBTP really took off here in the UK. The public could still relate to her singing that kind of material.

  11. #11
    Take Me Higher did fairly well in the UK [[though far less than Force), but not that well in other European countries. I loved TMH when it came out, and still think it is a nice album -- solid production and some really good songs -- but I wasn't surprised back then that it wasn't a hit. With the exception of "Keep It Right There" and "Don't Stop," which was a newer sound for Ross, most of the songs were typically Ross; she had done similar songs before and those were often more memorable than these new ones. The album does not really have a song [[or single) that stands out... "Take Me Higher" is a great pop/dance track, but no "Upside Down." "Voice of Love" is a nice ballad, but rather generic and no show-stopper like "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" [[which I personally don't care for, but I understand why people like that song). When I played the album to my friends [[back then), they just heard another Diana Ross album, not an exciting new album.

  12. #12
    I did a quick review of the top 100 albums of 1995 from Billboard's year-end charts. Out of those 100 lps, there were 3 that featured performers who were 50 or older: Barry White [[#60, The Icon is Love), Frank Sinatra [[#76, Duets II), and Pink Floyd's Dave Gimore & Roger Waters [[#85, Pulse).

  13. #13
    I agree that the material wasn't strong enough. "Take Me Higher" was a strong lead but dance pop wasn't the dominant force in North America by 1995. Diana needed foolproof material. A couple of years later, Cher got it with "Believe." Wiki suggests that Cher's 1998 album was mixed to poor in terms of critical reception but it nevertheless sold three and a half million. The title track put it over the top.

  14. #14
    The TMH album was without doubt a quality release. I think a huge mistake was in ignoring the potential of “Swing It” as a single.
    It was certainly more relevant sounding then TMH and might have done very well.... At least in Europe.
    For the American market Diana’s only chance of pop success would have been with the remix of “I Will, We Will, You Will”.
    I can remember back in the day playing the album for a group friends with “Swing It” being the song they said they liked the most. Odd it’s immediate potential was never utilised.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by smallworld View Post
    I agree that the material wasn't strong enough. "Take Me Higher" was a strong lead but dance pop wasn't the dominant force in North America by 1995. Diana needed foolproof material. A couple of years later, Cher got it with "Believe." Wiki suggests that Cher's 1998 album was mixed to poor in terms of critical reception but it nevertheless sold three and a half million. The title track put it over the top.
    I remember that Cher's Believe album debuted really low in the Billboard 200 chart. It didn't even cracked the Top 100 in the first week, as Diana's 90's albums. But something happened and a few weeks later the album became a best seller. Cher's career in U.S., as Diana's, was at a really low point before the phenomenon that was Believe [[the single). In UK, it was another story. The single debuted already at #1. But this type of thing only happens once in a lifetime. Even having the biggest single of 1998/1999, Cher couldn't score another Top 40 single in U.S. Her follow up singles from the same album were met with indifference by the U.S. mainstream public.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    The ironic thing is, although the sales weren’t there, it was a visual comeback/video hit with the younger generation. Several of the videos were in rotation on video outlets.
    Diana looked so gorgeous in the video. I can understand why it had good rotation.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I did a quick review of the top 100 albums of 1995 from Billboard's year-end charts. Out of those 100 lps, there were 3 that featured performers who were 50 or older: Barry White [[#60, The Icon is Love), Frank Sinatra [[#76, Duets II), and Pink Floyd's Dave Gimore & Roger Waters [[#85, Pulse).
    Okay, but many veteran artists had gold and platinum albums in the 90's. Aretha, Tina, Elton etc.

    I'm not talking about Diana scoring a Janet-type of success in 1995. But a gold certification could have been achieved by a good album as TMH.

    What I don't understand is why her record company didn't help her in the adult contemporary and adult R&B markets. She could have done well in these formats. At least, she had a # 1 dance hit with TMH!
    Last edited by Nitro2015; 02-16-2021 at 02:07 PM.

  18. #18
    An example: Patti Labelle's 1997 "Flame" album peaked at #39 in the Billboard 200 and achieved platinum status in U.S. and Patti wasn't a mainstream pop artist. She achieved that with right strategies and her music being played in the adult formats.
    Last edited by Nitro2015; 02-16-2021 at 02:07 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    An example: Patti Labelle's 1997 "Flame" album peaked at #39 in the Billboard 200 and achieved platinum status in U.S. and Patti wasn't a mainstream pop artist. She achieved that with right strategies and her music being played in the adult formats.
    But it should also be remembered that although Diana and Patti were the same age, Patti never had the consistent sales success that Diana did until fairly late in her career. Once she finally broke through as a solo artist in 1983 and then really 1985, it was almost as if she was an exciting new artist. As such, she had quite a bit of success from 1985 to 1997. But after FLAME, I don't think she had another major hit single or another gold album.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    Okay, but many veteran artists had gold and platinum albums in the 90's. Aretha, Tina, Elton etc.

    I'm not talking about Diana scoring a Janet-type of success in 1995. But a gold certification could have been achieved by a good album as TMH.

    What I don't understand is why her record company didn't help her in the adult contemporary and adult R&B markets. She could have done well in these formats. At least, she had a # 1 dance hit with TMH!
    Aretha had Clive Davis promoting her to the utmost. Also, as the years passed, it seemed that her respect from the industry and the public at large just grew. When she had her last major hit with A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE, she was 56 years old. Not bad for a woman whose first hit was when she was 18. And even then, she also benefited from memorable tv appearances like the first DIVAS LIVE or standing in for Pavarotti at the Grammys. Later on, she still managed to stay in the news with that hat that she wore at Obama's inaugural.

    By the 90s, in the US, Tina's record sales had slowed down. In a sense, Tina was saved by the successful film on her life, which led to her last US hit, I DON'T WANNA FIGHT. Plus she was a solid touring attraction, no matter what her record sales might be. Her WILDEST DREAMS album wasn't even certified gold here, yet all of her tours were successful.

    For the most part, Diana didn't really that high of a profile in the US at the time, certainly not the same respect. I think to the general public, she was "Miss Ross" the diva. I don't think there's anything she could have done differently to make things result in a hit album, no matter how great it was. In recent years, the appreciation of her has overtaken the negative, IMO, and people have recognized just what a treasure she is. Her last album I LOVE YOU charted very high, probably because she did some key tv appearances but also because it was released in the midst of the DREAMGIRLS film promotion.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    But it should also be remembered that although Diana and Patti were the same age, Patti never had the consistent sales success that Diana did until fairly late in her career. Once she finally broke through as a solo artist in 1983 and then really 1985, it was almost as if she was an exciting new artist. As such, she had quite a bit of success from 1985 to 1997. But after FLAME, I don't think she had another major hit single or another gold album.
    I hear you. Something similar happened with Tina, although Tina was much more successful than Patti between those years. And Tina, as Diana, was a global superstar. But in the 1990's she was somewhat still contemporary because her mega stardom came so late in her career. In the 1990's Diana was already seen as a icon from another era.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    I know that this topic has already been discussed a few times here, but I would like to resume the conversation in 2021. Recently, I was listening to this wonderful album and thinking about how it brings together all the ingredients for a successful album: excellent songs, a strong lead single, an updated and stylish look by Diana, a lot of promotion at the beginning, contemporary production and even a Superbowl halftime performance!!!. But the commercial result of the record was quite lackluster. No radio airplay, no significant sales. The album didn't even crack the Billboard Top 100. Why?
    I am a huge Ross fan but after the back-to-back disappointment of WO and FBTP, I gave up. I didn't even buy TMH [[until after I had EDIAND). During that mid-90s period there were so many exciting younger artists [[MJB, Janet, Me'Shell, Chante, Aaliyah, Erykah, Mariah, Lauryn, Deborah, Tamia, Mica, Joi, etc) -- it made Ross seem like a relic. and I've never liked her recording of "I Will Survive." I wasn't even moved by her [[spectacular) SuperBowl half-time performance.

    But she has proved that if you just keep doing your thing the world will come back around to you. She is a legend and some of those "exciting younger artists" of the mid-90s are barely remembered -- and certainly can't sellout the Hollywood Bowl.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    I am a huge Ross fan but after the back-to-back disappointment of WO and FBTP, I gave up. I didn't even buy TMH [[until after I had EDIAND). During that mid-90s period there were so many exciting younger artists [[MJB, Janet, Me'Shell, Chante, Aaliyah, Erykah, Mariah, Lauryn, Deborah, Tamia, Mica, Joi, etc) -- it made Ross seem like a relic. and I've never liked her recording of "I Will Survive." I wasn't even moved by her [[spectacular) SuperBowl half-time performance.

    But she has proved that if you just keep doing your thing the world will come back around to you. She is a legend and some of those "exciting younger artists" of the mid-90s are barely remembered -- and certainly can't sellout the Hollywood Bowl.
    So true. Many artists who were selling big numbers in 1995 and scoring smash hits are nowhere to be found now. From that time, Janet is probably the only one who is still a big touring act, even after many career missteps. And Diana is still going strong, she survived so much and so many contemporary acts in the music industry: Michael, Whitney, Brandy, Monica, TLC and the list goes on. Diana is still selling tickets and still giving high profile performances [[Grammys, AMAs, etc.). Her 2020 European tour was the biggest living proof of her standing power. It's a pity that Covid got in the way. The largest arenas and big numbers. She is a real survivor.
    Last edited by Nitro2015; 02-16-2021 at 08:00 PM.

  24. #24
    I was a huge Ross fan up to and including Eaten Alive...although, the first 3 RCA Lps were never in my collection.
    I managed to swoop up a few dozen used CD's when I purchased someone's record collection....TMH,WO, and ILY were included....sorry to say, there was nothing likable there for me

  25. #25
    It does seem that Diana Ross has phases of popularity in the US whereas in the UK she is enduringly popular. I have friends in their 20s and 30s who admire her work, from the early days to he most recent material. Diana is "just there" in the UK's musical thinking, along with the other Motown greats.

    I think the admiration would have been further underpinned with the combination of Glastonbury and the UK tour. I'm sure the icing on her "UK cake" would have been new material, having said that, Diana has earned significant respect for all she has given us over the years.

    Although I am no expert on such matters and have no wish to offend anyone, I do wonder if the key difference between the UK and the US is the what Diana represented. It is clear from what I have read that the Supremes demonstrated in the US how black women can be just as, and possibly more, successful than white women. As far as I am aware the Supremes were never seen that way in the UK. They were talented ladies who just happened to be black. A very different "starting point". Perhaps this accounts for the US phases of success verses the enduring success in the UK?

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by rovereab View Post
    It does seem that Diana Ross has phases of popularity in the US whereas in the UK she is enduringly popular. I have friends in their 20s and 30s who admire her work, from the early days to he most recent material. Diana is "just there" in the UK's musical thinking, along with the other Motown greats.

    I think the admiration would have been further underpinned with the combination of Glastonbury and the UK tour. I'm sure the icing on her "UK cake" would have been new material, having said that, Diana has earned significant respect for all she has given us over the years.

    Although I am no expert on such matters and have no wish to offend anyone, I do wonder if the key difference between the UK and the US is the what Diana represented. It is clear from what I have read that the Supremes demonstrated in the US how black women can be just as, and possibly more, successful than white women. As far as I am aware the Supremes were never seen that way in the UK. They were talented ladies who just happened to be black. A very different "starting point". Perhaps this accounts for the US phases of success verses the enduring success in the UK?
    I’m quite sure the massive crossover success of the Supremes proved to be just as inspiring to black men and women resident here in the UK as they were in America.. That is one of the groups most enduring legacies.
    UK audiences are generally known for their loyalty and unwavering support regarding veteran acts. We really are quite lovely.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I’m quite sure the massive crossover success of the Supremes proved to be just as inspiring to black men and women resident here in the UK as they were in America.. That is one of the groups most enduring legacies.
    UK audiences are generally known for their loyalty and unwavering support regarding veteran acts. We really are quite lovely.
    I feel that her career in U.S. was almost eclipsed by the whole Supremes debacle after Mary Wilson's reductionist Dreamgirl and Randy's ill-intentioned Call Her Miss Ross. Both books made huge money for their authors with questionable intentions. And the money came from exploring and denigrating Diana's image. The inconsistency in terms of musical quality after she moved to RCA also didn't help but her public image suffered several setbacks.

    During the 1990's, while she was doing so well in UK and Japan, among other territories, she was treated/viewed as some kinda of pariah in her own homeland. A very disturbing turn of events.

    Then with the end of her marriage, the controversy surrounding RTL Tour and, subsequently and justifiably, her depression/addiction problems in the turn of the century, you could see that all the backlash took its toll on her. She felt unloved and rejected after decades of hard work and after having given so much to the public and the music industry. It was very disturbing and unfair. She wasn't guilty of her talent, ambition and x-factor. You have it or you don't. She had it and made good use of it.

    But, fortunately, she bounced back with enormous integrity and dignity. And was finally recognized as the national treasure that she is, with the most valuable accolades as the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    The fact is: there would be no Supremes, Michael, Madonna, Janet, Beyoncé and many others without Diana. She was the blueprint and the force behind it all. A true pioneer.
    Last edited by Nitro2015; 02-17-2021 at 10:51 AM.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    I feel that her career in U.S. was almost eclipsed by the whole Supremes debacle after Mary Wilson's reductionist Dreamgirl and Randy's ill-intentioned Call Her Miss Ross. Both books made huge money for their authors with questionable intentions. And the money came from exploring and denigrating Diana's image. The inconsistency in terms of musical quality after she moved to RCA also didn't help but her public image suffered several setbacks.

    During the 1990's, while she was doing so well in UK and Japan, among other territories, she was treated/viewed as some kinda of pariah in her own homeland. A very disturbing turn of events.

    Then with the end of her marriage, the controversy surrounding RTL Tour and, subsequently and justifiably, her depression/addiction problems in the turn of the century, you could see that all the backlash took its toll on her. She felt unloved and rejected after decades of hard work and after having given so much to the public and the music industry. It was very disturbing and unfair. She wasn't guilty of her talent, ambition and x-factor. You have it or you don't. She had it and made good use of it.

    But, fortunately, she bounced back with enormous integrity and dignity. And was finally recognized as the nacional treasure that she is, with the most valuable accolades as the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    The fact is: there would be no Supremes, Michael, Madonna, Janet, Beyoncé and many others without Diana. She was the blueprint and the force behind it all. A true pioneer.
    It is also worth mentioning that during the years when pop chart success was elusive, Diana was still charting fairly well on the r&b soul chart.

    Songs like PIECES OF ICE, TELEPHONE, and DIRTY LOOKS were top 20 hits on that chart. EATEN ALIVE, WORKIN' OVERTIME, and NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO actually hit the Top 10.

    Even later singles like WHEN YOU TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME, TAKE ME HIGHER, and IF YOU'RE NOT GONNA LOVE ME RIGHT charted, although they weren't successful. But it shows there was still some interest, if only minimal.

  29. #29
    At the time of TMH's release in the UK, Diana hosted a radio station breakfast show. Was anything like done in the US?

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by rovereab View Post
    At the time of TMH's release in the UK, Diana hosted a radio station breakfast show. Was anything like done in the US?
    Not sure if she did any radio spots here in the US. As I recall, she didn't do any of the morning TV shows. I do remember her being a guest on an episode of VIDEO SOUL on BET, as well as THE TONIGHT SHOW, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, and SOUL TRAIN's 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL.

    She also did a record signing at a store in California, The Warehouse, I think it was called.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    I feel that her career in U.S. was almost eclipsed by the whole Supremes debacle after Mary Wilson's reductionist Dreamgirl and Randy's ill-intentioned Call Her Miss Ross. Both books made huge money for their authors with questionable intentions. And the money came from exploring and denigrating Diana's image. The inconsistency in terms of musical quality after she moved to RCA also didn't help but her public image suffered several setbacks.

    During the 1990's, while she was doing so well in UK and Japan, among other territories, she was treated/viewed as some kinda of pariah in her own homeland. A very disturbing turn of events.

    Then with the end of her marriage, the controversy surrounding RTL Tour and, subsequently and justifiably, her depression/addiction problems in the turn of the century, you could see that all the backlash took its toll on her. She felt unloved and rejected after decades of hard work and after having given so much to the public and the music industry. It was very disturbing and unfair. She wasn't guilty of her talent, ambition and x-factor. You have it or you don't. She had it and made good use of it.

    But, fortunately, she bounced back with enormous integrity and dignity. And was finally recognized as the national treasure that she is, with the most valuable accolades as the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    The fact is: there would be no Supremes, Michael, Madonna, Janet, Beyoncé and many others without Diana. She was the blueprint and the force behind it all. A true pioneer.
    Very well stated and factually correct. I was so disappointed with the route Wilson chose to take with her book, and even Taraborrelli himself realized the disservice he did to Diana. Both these were National Enquirer-type hack jobs that would not have sold a copy were it not for the inherent character assassination in both books.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    I feel that her career in U.S. was almost eclipsed by the whole Supremes debacle after Mary Wilson's reductionist Dreamgirl and Randy's ill-intentioned Call Her Miss Ross. Both books made huge money for their authors with questionable intentions. And the money came from exploring and denigrating Diana's image. The inconsistency in terms of musical quality after she moved to RCA also didn't help but her public image suffered several setbacks.

    During the 1990's, while she was doing so well in UK and Japan, among other territories, she was treated/viewed as some kinda of pariah in her own homeland. A very disturbing turn of events.

    Then with the end of her marriage, the controversy surrounding RTL Tour and, subsequently and justifiably, her depression/addiction problems in the turn of the century, you could see that all the backlash took its toll on her. She felt unloved and rejected after decades of hard work and after having given so much to the public and the music industry. It was very disturbing and unfair. She wasn't guilty of her talent, ambition and x-factor. You have it or you don't. She had it and made good use of it.

    But, fortunately, she bounced back with enormous integrity and dignity. And was finally recognized as the national treasure that she is, with the most valuable accolades as the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    The fact is: there would be no Supremes, Michael, Madonna, Janet, Beyoncé and many others without Diana. She was the blueprint and the force behind it all. A true pioneer.
    Some of it was unfair some not. As regards public relations, Diana was her worst enemy at times.
    Kicking sound monitors off stage. The sudden dismissal of a large chunk of her workforce coupled by the infamous letter. The Motown 25 fiasco. Central Park children’s playground. Heathrow Airport scenario leading to her being detained in a cell. The public relations disaster of RTL. Arrested for driving down the freeway while intoxicated.
    All of this added to her reputation as a spoilt, temperamental diva. Justified or not.
    As you mention though, she did manage to bounce back and is now much regarded as a national treasure.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 02-17-2021 at 01:18 PM.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by vgalindo View Post
    One simple answer. No promotion. Whoever was in charge at Motown was not interested in promoting it. Diana could of had a hit with a little backing from the label. I don’t believe age or the quality of the music had anything to do with it. IMO. Diana promoted the hell out of it on tv and concerts. Motown did nothing.
    I also think there was no audience for TMH. As a Ross fan I eventually found enjoyable moments, but in the US "Take Me Higher" and "I Will Survive" were aimed at gay dance clubs and had little potential to be radio hits. The rest of the album was traditional Masser-esque balladry [[some of her best of latter years) or watered-down attempts to sound contemporary. If I was content to ignore it it would have had almost no appeal to anyone who was not a Ross fan.

    At that time, her history of missteps as a solo recording artist was longer than her years of solo chart success. She was always 7-8 years behind the times in selecting a producer -- Gibb for EA and Nile for WO. I think Narada did TMH. At a time when she should have sought out the songwriters and producers making hits for Whitney, Mariah, Toni Braxton and MJB, she was still stuck in some other era.

    Oddly enough, she was still determined NOT to go with Luther, Jam & Lewis, Babyface or Dave 'Jam' Hall. When she finally got Malik Pendleton and Chuckii Booker to give her a fresh sound on EIAND it was too late.

    But as noted her mediocre efforts as a recording artist did not diminish her appeal as a superstar live performer. I sincerely hope I get the chance to see her again.

  34. #34
    Totally agree Guy..Diana was always a few years behind with selecting a producer..if you listen to most of her later albums and imagine they were made a few years before most of them would have fit perfectly.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    I also think there was no audience for TMH. As a Ross fan I eventually found enjoyable moments, but in the US "Take Me Higher" and "I Will Survive" were aimed at gay dance clubs and had little potential to be radio hits. The rest of the album was traditional Masser-esque balladry [[some of her best of latter years) or watered-down attempts to sound contemporary. If I was content to ignore it it would have had almost no appeal to anyone who was not a Ross fan.

    At that time, her history of missteps as a solo recording artist was longer than her years of solo chart success. She was always 7-8 years behind the times in selecting a producer -- Gibb for EA and Nile for WO. I think Narada did TMH. At a time when she should have sought out the songwriters and producers making hits for Whitney, Mariah, Toni Braxton and MJB, she was still stuck in some other era.

    Oddly enough, she was still determined NOT to go with Luther, Jam & Lewis, Babyface or Dave 'Jam' Hall. When she finally got Malik Pendleton and Chuckii Booker to give her a fresh sound on EIAND it was too late.

    But as noted her mediocre efforts as a recording artist did not diminish her appeal as a superstar live performer. I sincerely hope I get the chance to see her again.
    I think your being a little harsh Guy. “I Will Survive” was a reasonable hit in the UK and i truly believe it would had provided Diana with that allusive pop hit in the USA had Motown decided to release it as a single.
    Songs such as “Don’t Stop”, “Keep It Right There”, “Gone” and “Swing It” would certainly be considered contemporary for 95. In fact an entire album produced by the Boom Brothers should have been the way to go.
    I really like the album, but do think she played it a little safe. I would have jettisoned a couple of those Martinelli produced ballads for more dance tracks. It would have added a little more bite to what is a rather slick album.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I think your being a little harsh Guy. “I Will Survive” was a reasonable hit in the UK and i truly believe it would had provided Diana with that allusive pop hit in the USA had Motown decided to release it as a single.
    Songs such as “Don’t Stop”, “Keep It Right There”, “Gone” and “Swing It” would certainly be considered contemporary for 95. In fact an entire album produced by the Boom Brothers should have been the way to go.
    I really like the album, but do think she played it a little safe. I would have jettisoned a couple of those Martinelli produced ballads for more dance tracks. It would have added a little more bite to what is a rather slick album.
    Maybe it sounds harsh but in 1995 no Top 40 or Urban radio format in the U.S. would have played "I Will Survive." I can say that as a lifelong house music fan and connoiseur. Even dance artists who had big mainstream hits -- C+C Music Factory, CeCe Peniston, Robin S., Crystal Waters -- struggled to sustain as mid-90s radio moved to hip-hop and was less hospitable to club-oriented music.

    In my opinion, TMH is saved by two of those Martinelli-produced ballads -- *Voice of the Heart" and "I Thought We Were Still In Love." Among her best latter-day ballads. None of the tracks you've cited by the Boom Brothers made an impression on me. It was not radio-ready material.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by rovereab View Post
    At the time of TMH's release in the UK, Diana hosted a radio station breakfast show. Was anything like done in the US?
    I remember her hosting the mid morning show on radio 1 from 9am-12 noon for 4 or 5 days. I think it was the old Simon Bates slot. I thought this was the FBTP era but i may be recalling it incorrectly, but she had an absolute ball hosting it.

  38. #38
    Bluebrock you are correct..it was during the FBTP era.

  39. #39
    I might be wrong but thinking about the radio programme, I think it was the Radio 1 Chris Evans show and Diana hosted one programme. As Bluebrock said, she had great fun.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post
    Maybe it sounds harsh but in 1995 no Top 40 or Urban radio format in the U.S. would have played "I Will Survive." I can say that as a lifelong house music fan and connoiseur. Even dance artists who had big mainstream hits -- C+C Music Factory, CeCe Peniston, Robin S., Crystal Waters -- struggled to sustain as mid-90s radio moved to hip-hop and was less hospitable to club-oriented music.

    In my opinion, TMH is saved by two of those Martinelli-produced ballads -- *Voice of the Heart" and "I Thought We Were Still In Love." Among her best latter-day ballads. None of the tracks you've cited by the Boom Brothers made an impression on me. It was not radio-ready material.
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree Guy. “If I Will Survive” could reach pop No 3 in Iceland anything was possible lol. I think its novelty value alone would have guaranteed a modicum of AirPlay.
    “I Thought That We Were Still In Love is a poignant song, with a classic Diana Ross vocal. A definite keep. By contrast, “Never Loved A Man” and “Voice Of The Heart” are pleasant enough but nothing more. They might have worked better on the 93 box set along with “Your Love” and “Best Years”. Something more urban would have been a better fit.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree Guy. “If I Will Survive” could reach pop No 3 in Iceland anything was possible lol. I think its novelty value alone would have guaranteed a modicum of AirPlay.
    “I Thought That We Were Still In Love is a poignant song, with a classic Diana Ross vocal. A definite keep. By contrast, “Never Loved A Man” and “Voice Of The Heart” are pleasant enough but nothing more. They might have worked better on the 93 box set along with “Your Love” and “Best Years”. Something more urban would have been a better fit.
    I will be forever biased in favor if "Voice of the Heart." She loved the message and my heart nearly burst during this performance if it when she grabbed and embraced Whitney.


  42. #42
    i think Take Me is a strong album but looking across what was hot in 1995, it's easy to see why it didn't chart. There's nothing new or groundbreaking here. it's all solid productions and nice enough. But here are some top groups and songs of the time

    Gangsta Paradise
    Waterfalls and Creep
    Take A Bow
    Scream and You Are Not Alone
    On Bended Knee and a bunch of other Boys II Men
    Brandy had a bunch of big hits
    Fantasy

    and around this time people starting to rediscover disco and the 70s music. a remix of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive had already been released.

    so while there was quality music here, what market was Diana and Motown going after? were they thinking they could get a big pop hit out of this content - that's a bit foolish IMO. none of the material on this album was new or different enough to make it break through what was going on in the contemporary music scene. Especially since she hadn't had a pop hit in over 10 years.

    were they going for adult contemp? ok that's fine but what did they do to tackle that niche market?

    were they going for dance? well the title track did ok on the dance charts and I Will Survive was rather popular. but since Gloria had recently done a remix of the song, the impact was lost. Plus motown didn't/wouldn't release it in the US as a single.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    were they going for dance? well the title track did ok on the dance charts and I Will Survive was rather popular. but since Gloria had recently done a remix of the song, the impact was lost. Plus motown didn't/wouldn't release it in the US as a single.
    Chantay Savage also released a remake of I WILL SURVIVE in this period. One magazine speculated that was why Motown didn't release Diana's version as a single or 12", even though it was a popular import and even though they put the video in rotation on various US video channels.

    After Diana used it as the exit to her great Super Bowl performance, Motown should have put it out. Even if they thought it wouldn't become a hit, they certainly had nothing to lose. But by then, the album was dead and supposedly Diana was criticizing Motown backstage at events like the Soul Train Anniversary Special.

    That said, later Motown [[or someone) thought enough of Diana's version to let it be used in the film IN & OUT, during a rather comedic scene and then over the end credits.

  44. #44
    had Diana led the pack with I Will Survive and released her version first, it's possible that might have helped jumpstart her US career. Or perhaps if she had done a new version of The Boss or Upside Down. and not the remixes we [[unfortunately) received on Xtended. frankly i hated those and thought they sucked but that's just my opinion

    the fact is that in 95 or so, Diana was a "has been" in the eyes of much of the US but the general pop culture was going through a bit of a nostalgia trip on disco and 70s. you had the Brady Bunch movies, remixes of all sorts of popular songs. John Travolta made his comeback in Pulp Fiction. So Diana could have tried that route. not saying it would have necessarily worked but that might have been her best shot at a big pop chart hit.

    but the rest of the TMH album, while all well sung and produce, a bit of a hodge podge of styles and material. so i don't know that the album would have really done much.

  45. #45
    At some stage, Motown should have released I Will Survive.

    Berry made any number of mistakes while he ran things but nothing compared to the missteps after he left.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    had Diana led the pack with I Will Survive and released her version first, it's possible that might have helped jumpstart her US career. Or perhaps if she had done a new version of The Boss or Upside Down. and not the remixes we [[unfortunately) received on Xtended. frankly i hated those and thought they sucked but that's just my opinion
    I'm not really a fan of remixes but I do love the remix of SOMEDAY WE'LL BE TOGETHER on DIANA EXTENDED.

    I was also pleasantly surprised that I like the remixes on the recent SUPERTONIC collection.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I'm not really a fan of remixes but I do love the remix of SOMEDAY WE'LL BE TOGETHER on DIANA EXTENDED.

    I was also pleasantly surprised that I like the remixes on the recent SUPERTONIC collection.
    i agree with you - that one seems to work. i rarely listen to this album so my memory is really fuzzy. i always hated the version of Boss. just destroyed the power and excitement of the original. some of the others weren't as bad though

    but per my earlier post, i don't think remixes was what was needed. Maybe some sort of song that incorporated Upside Down or The Boss.

    Diana Ross was no longer a contemporary presence on the US pop charts in the mid 90s. while she occasionally had some strong dance chart activity here, those songs didn't seem to make the jump over. So maybe playing up her legendary history would have been the angle to go

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Bluebrock you are correct..it was during the FBTP era.
    Thank you for the clarification mowsville.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy View Post

    At a time when she should have sought out the songwriters and producers making hits for Whitney, Mariah, Toni Braxton and MJB, she was still stuck in some other era.

    Oddly enough, she was still determined NOT to go with Luther, Jam & Lewis, Babyface or Dave 'Jam' Hall. When she finally got Malik Pendleton and Chuckii Booker to give her a fresh sound on EIAND it was too late.
    My perception is that songs like If You're Not Gonna Love Me Right, Keep It Right There, Don't Stop and Swing It sounds very contemporary for 1995. They even sounded fresh in the early 00's and could go along with anything that was being played on R&B Radio.

    I Never Loved a Man Before was very reminiscent of Gloria Estefan's ballads, with that latin feel, that still sounded fresh and extremely radio-friendly through the entire 1990's. It could have been a great AC hit.

    Gone sounded fresh too.

    Take Me Higher, the lead single, was reminiscent of early 90's dance but still sounded contemporary through the mid-1990's.

    I remember I discovered TMH in 1997 [[I was barely 13 y.o.) and was shocked with the freshness of it all and I wondered why it wasn't a big hit in U.S. For me, the album sounded perfect. The production was absolutely amazing, in my opinion, and very United States. You could see that she made the album aiming at the north american market.

    For me, TMH is the perfect Diana album, the one that was expected by an artist of her caliber, that sang 18 #1 U.S. hits.

    If You're Not Gonna Love Me Right deserved to be at least a Top 10 R&B hit. It sounded very 1994-1995-1996.

    Take Me Higher was # 1 on the Dance chart and deserved a better performance on the Pop chart.

    Keep It Right There, Don't Stop and Swing It were perfect for the Urban market.

    I Never Loved a Man Before was perfect for the AC format at the time.

    I don't care for her I Will Survive cover but I understand that it was a song that had an easier appeal for a larger audience, especially older fans and people who lived the disco era. I remember playing the entire album in my father's car and he wasn't very impressed [[he wasn't particularly a fan), but when IWS played he said: "This is the best song on the record!". Probably because it was the only one he was familiar with [[who didn't know the original?!). I didn't feel the same way, it was and it still is my least favorite track of the album.
    Last edited by Nitro2015; 02-18-2021 at 10:17 PM.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitro2015 View Post
    My perception is that songs like If You're Not Gonna Love Me Right, Keep It Right There, Don't Stop and Swing It sounds very contemporary for 1995. They even sounded fresh in the early 00's and could go along with anything that was being played on R&B Radio.

    I Never Loved a Man Before was very reminiscent of Gloria Estefan's ballads, with that latin feel, that still sounded fresh and extremely radio-friendly through the entire 1990's. It could have been a great AC hit.

    Gone sounded fresh too.

    Take Me Higher, the lead single, was reminiscent of early 90's dance but still sounded contemporary through the mid-1990's.

    I remember I discovered TMH in 1997 [[I was barely 13 y.o.) and was shocked with the freshness of it all and I wondered why it wasn't a big hit in U.S. For me, the album sounded perfect. The production was absolutely amazing, in my opinion, and very United States. You could see that she made the album aiming at the north american market.

    For me, TMH is the perfect Diana album, the one that was expected by an artist of her caliber, that sang 18 #1 U.S. hits.

    If You're Not Gonna Love Me Right deserved to be at least a Top 10 R&B hit. It sounded very 1994-1995-1996.

    Take Me Higher was # 1 on the Dance chart and deserved a better performance on the Pop chart.

    Keep It Right There, Don't Stop and Swing It were perfect for the Urban market.

    I Never Loved a Man Before was perfect for the AC format at the time.

    I don't care for her I Will Survive cover but I understand that it was a song that had an easier appeal for a larger audience, especially older fans and people who lived the disco era. I remember playing the entire album in my father's car and he wasn't very impressed [[he wasn't particularly a fan), but when IWS played he said: "This is the best song on the record!". Probably because it was the only one he was familiar with [[who didn't know the original?!). I didn't feel the same way, it was and it still is my least favorite track of the album.
    I feel the same way about the album. Everything you said about the songs I agree 💯.

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