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  1. #1
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    DR return to motown debut album

    i think it's a relatively universal opinion that the Workin' Overtime album wasn't the right concept or content. given that her recording career had cooled by 89, what should she have done to help restart things? what producer[[s) would have been the right fit? are there some pop songs from 89 that could have been a great option had they been given to her?

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    here are some of the top songs from 1989, according to Billboard

    Cold Hearted - Paula Abdul
    Wind beneath my wings - Bette Midler
    My prerogative - Bobby brown
    giving you the best that i got - Anita Baker
    the look - roxette
    listen to your heart - roxette
    straight up - paula abdul
    miss you much - janet jackson
    if i could turn back time - cher
    express yourself - madonna
    like a prayer - madonna

  3. #3
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    There should have been a reason for her to return to Motown. More celebratory. Did no one still with Motown want anything to do with her?? When people think Diana Ross and Motown ...it's hardly the one-off Chic stint of 1980 ....that one took her outside that box and into a new direction.

    The cash in here would've been capitalizing on her long awaited return to the historic label.....there was none of it .


    looking at your list ...IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME would've been a classic maneuver of a song with its reminiscent sentiments ... I can hear her doing it splendidly ....if the song had been offered to her and not Cher
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 08-11-2021 at 01:50 PM.

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    I think Diana's return to Motown needed more of a bang than we were given. She needed a name that would bring in even more publicity, someone like Luther Vandross or maybe Quincy, Babyface or Prince.

    That said, I think her work with Peter Asher on THE FORCE BEHIND THE POWER was great and it might have done better than WO as her first back-to-Motown album.

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    Natalie Cole released the album "Good to Be Back" in 1989. Contained the hit "Miss You Like Crazy" produced by Michael Masser. Many of the songs could have worked for Diana Ross. And the title would have been perfect to commemorate her return to Motown.

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    Jam and Lewis were hot at this point..If Diana wanted something current she should have gone with any of the producers of the day...Nile Rogers??????

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    Instead of trying to compete with Janet Jackson, Jody Watley, Paula Abdul, Karyn White, or Pebbles, Diana Ross should have been aiming for same audience as Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Sade, or Brenda Russell.

    But if she was going to be competing with the younger stars, then she ought to have considered a producer steeped in the Minneapolis sound, or New Jack Swing, or the LaFace style, and not ask Rodgers and Edwards to try to mimic those styles.

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    I'm with Spreadinglove on this one. She tried to compete with the young girls at RCA and it didn't take off the way anyone wanted it to. With the return to Motown she should have been aiming for a different audience. One of my fav albums is Natalie's Good To Be Back. The entire album would've fit Diana, right down to the cover of "Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat". The interesting thing about Natalie and Anita, and even Sade, is that they maintained a very adult audience, but also sometimes, like with Nat's "Miss You Like Crazy", they managed to get everybody, even the youth. But those ladies knew their audience by this point. Diana still seemed not to get it.

    My vision for Diana's return would've been an album that played to her role as one of the leading voices in the Motown Sound. She didn't have to do a throwback album, but I think an album inspired by the sound she helped make popular, back on the label she helped make legendary, should have been a no brainer. Jam and Lewis, Laface, Luther, they all were talented enough to throwback at the Motown Sound without coming across old fashioned or, heaven help us all, sounding like an Ian Levine project. Jam and Lewis in particular would've been interesting because that Minneapolis sound had a lot going on that made it perfect for Motown-esque recordings. And Luther getting involved would've been nice because, no doubt, we'd have gotten at least one cover song that he twists and turns into something that honors the original but is yet it's own song.

    Workin Overtime just wasn't the homecoming the Queen deserved.

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    i agree that by this time, she should have been predominately focusing on AC market with the occasional pop hit emerging.

    i'm gonna expose myself to probably a lot of ridicule lol but gonna do it anyway. although i would have used a different title, i think a lot of the tracks on Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl would have worked well. it doesn't necessarily have to be the entire album. but the hits included Forever Your Girl [[although that might be a bit young for DR), Straight Up, Cold Hearted, the way that you love me, knocked out. These are solid pop songs with a good r&b influence - exactly in Diana's genre. some strong producers like Babyface, LA Reid, and others. The tunes had a modern hip sound and vibe but not too far from her appropriate sound, like WO was

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    and the follow up lp's lead single Rush Rush would have been a beautiful ballad for DR.

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    I have always wished for Diana Ross to be produced by Jam & Lewis. I think that would have been a much better choice for her "homecoming" than Nile Rogers, especially since Bernard Edwards wasn't involved in the project. I don't think that it would have been a matter of competing with younger artists, but simply going with producers who were hot, had their finger on the pulse of what was currently hot in the streets musically, and who were prolific, high quality songwriters and producers.

    I also don't think it's a fair assessment to in any way limit Jam & Lewis to only having a "Minneapolis Sound". I could hear that with a lot of Janet's dance music, same with some uptempo songs of some of the other artists they produced, but I think a lot of their other material, and songs they did for Patti Austin, and even Johnny Gil were broader than that, just great music. I see Jam & Lewis as the kind of producers who work to take a more individual approach and tap into the essence of the particular artist they are working with, so I don't think there would have been any intention at all for Diana to compete with any other artist, younger or otherwise. All that being said I believe the perfect choice in regards to producers, and songwriters, would have been Jam & Lewis for the "Homecoming Queen". Diana Ross- Artist Royalty! Motown- Label Royalty! Jam & Lewis- Production Royalty! Facts!

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    I consider “This House”and “Stand Together” classy affairs and two of the best ballads she recorded during the 80’s. Bottom Line” And Paradise” both had potential to be huge.
    I would have kept those tracks and handed the rest of the album over to Babyface.

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    Question for those that mention Nile. Is the problem Nile “producing NJS” or just Nile? Because I get the feeling some are making it seem that he was not a successful producer in the 80’s. When he was actually very successful. So was it just the music or the man?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I consider “This House”and “Stand Together” classy affairs and two of the best ballads she recorded during the 80’s. Bottom Line” And Paradise” both had potential to be huge.
    I would have kept those tracks and handed the rest of the album over to Babyface.
    I've never been a huge fan of This House but i agree that it's well done. not her best ballad ever but certainly a standout on this album

    Bottom Line is IMO the strongest song on the album and frankly a fairly strong song overall. it isn't an Ain't No Mountain or The Boss or I'm Coming Out. but it is better than many other singles she released and if it was the lead single it might have done something. maybe top 20?

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    Maybe the problem wasn't entirely with the music. Maybe it was partly with the cover.

    Like her first RCA album cover, to name just one, the Workin' Overtime photo seemed to reek of desperation. The costuming might have been more appropriate for a younger woman without motherhood, emotional maturity, refinement or a penchant for glamour of one sort or another under her belt. It did not seem fitting for Diana Ross.

    I felt some trepidation just looking at the Workin' Overtime jacket, but I bought the CD, just as I had all the others, hoping that there might be some interesting sounds to which I could relate, as up until then most of the music had been great or good.

    But some people took one look and felt amused, horrified or indifferent and never bothered to buy or listen to the new release. The jacket photograph did not feel reassuring or promising in any positive way.

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    A Nile & Bernard follow-up to 1980's 'diana' might have worked well. But with Bernard absent, this probably wasn't a good idea, especially given that Nile was having substance issues at the time.

    Nile had been a very successful producer [[Bowie, Madonna, INXS etc) during the 80s but most of the hits he produced had been written by others. Without Bernard, he was not a great song-crafter though he could add elements which would turn a song from so-so to global hit [[see 'Let's Dance).

    Looking through the top singles of 1988/89 on BOTH sides of the Atlantic, the 'Hitsville UK' song-writing team of Stock-Aitken-Waterman wrote hits for around fourteen different acts [[including multiple hits for many of these). The acts included Donna Summer, who they brought back to the top of the charts after a series of flops. And one of the songs - Bananarama's 'I Want You Back' seemed to be a modern, up-tempo take on 'Stop in the Name of Love'.

    I'm not sure a Diana S-A-W collaboration would have been the ideal album for a return to Motown, but it certainly had much more chance of producing some hit records.

    Diana might well have been better off seeking songs from British writers as well as American. With a dozen reasonable songs, Nile might well have been able to produce a much stronger collection for Miss Ross.

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    but why would you return to Motown to sound like a UK production , or Paula Abdul ....or ....or ....?

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    Quote Originally Posted by benross View Post
    Maybe the problem wasn't entirely with the music. Maybe it was partly with the cover.

    Like her first RCA album cover, to name just one, the Workin' Overtime photo seemed to reek of desperation. The costuming might have been more appropriate for a younger woman without motherhood, emotional maturity, refinement or a penchant for glamour of one sort or another under her belt. It did not seem fitting for Diana Ross.

    I felt some trepidation just looking at the Workin' Overtime jacket, but I bought the CD, just as I had all the others, hoping that there might be some interesting sounds to which I could relate, as up until then most of the music had been great or good.

    But some people took one look and felt amused, horrified or indifferent and never bothered to buy or listen to the new release. The jacket photograph did not feel reassuring or promising in any positive way.
    I’m now trying to think of a female singer from around that time who was not a parent, lacked emotional maturity/refinement, and was not bothered with glamour. Answers on a post card.
    I disagree about most of her music being great or good up to that point. If only!.
    I do agree about the cover though. Diana’s appeal has nearly always been based on glamour. Although I like the album cover, it was to young an image for her to be projecting at that point in time and possibly hurt sales of the album.

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    It just seems to me that past 1986 Diana was sadly a spent force in the US.

    Would anything she released have been a hit?

    I think even if Bottom Line had been the first single from the album it would have had a tough time hitting - by the time it was released the album had flopped and it went the same way.

    I think This House is pretty much a dirge - in the UK even at her low points it was almost unheard of for any Diana single not to at least reach the Top 100 but House was an ignominious failure.

    I do think the Force Behind The Power album would have done well in the US in the 70s/early 80s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by florence View Post
    It just seems to me that past 1986 Diana was sadly a spent force in the US.

    Would anything she released have been a hit?

    I think even if Bottom Line had been the first single from the album it would have had a tough time hitting - by the time it was released the album had flopped and it went the same way.

    I think This House is pretty much a dirge - in the UK even at her low points it was almost unheard of for any Diana single not to at least reach the Top 100 but House was an ignominious failure.

    I do think the Force Behind The Power album would have done well in the US in the 70s/early 80s.
    I agree in that whatever Diana released beyond 85 would most likely have been ignored by her homeland, no matter how good the product.
    “This House”, was ​never single material, and the momentum had sadly passed by the time Motown got around to releasing“Bottom Line”
    I think the UK generally preferred Diana singing more pop orientated music.

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    yeah i think if the single of Bottom Line had been released first and prior to the album, then it might have worked. and i'm meaning the WO album as it was released - no changes to it. So a strong song would have probably generated interest. but they did need to do more to hype up the return to motown. maybe with a tv special or something too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brothadc View Post
    I have always wished for Diana Ross to be produced by Jam & Lewis. I think that would have been a much better choice for her "homecoming" than Nile Rogers, especially since Bernard Edwards wasn't involved in the project. I don't think that it would have been a matter of competing with younger artists, but simply going with producers who were hot, had their finger on the pulse of what was currently hot in the streets musically, and who were prolific, high quality songwriters and producers.

    I also don't think it's a fair assessment to in any way limit Jam & Lewis to only having a "Minneapolis Sound". I could hear that with a lot of Janet's dance music, same with some uptempo songs of some of the other artists they produced, but I think a lot of their other material, and songs they did for Patti Austin, and even Johnny Gil were broader than that, just great music. I see Jam & Lewis as the kind of producers who work to take a more individual approach and tap into the essence of the particular artist they are working with, so I don't think there would have been any intention at all for Diana to compete with any other artist, younger or otherwise. All that being said I believe the perfect choice in regards to producers, and songwriters, would have been Jam & Lewis for the "Homecoming Queen". Diana Ross- Artist Royalty! Motown- Label Royalty! Jam & Lewis- Production Royalty! Facts!
    But they were among the purveyors of that sound and because of that, it's hard to separate them from it, even if their overall artistry went beyond the terminology.

    The music business is competition at it's core. But there comes a point when an artist builds enough of a resume that they no longer have to focus on keeping up with the Joneses. In other words, by the 1980s Diana Ross was a bonafide legend. When one conjoins her successes as a Supreme with her successes in the 1970s, both in music and cinema, she had accomplished more than most at her age. So because of this, at RCA Diana was in a position where she could take chances as an innovator, but more often than not, rather than innovation, she was following trends, and unfortunately sometimes trends that didn't fit her artistry. She came to the point where she wanted to be mentioned alongside folks like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper and it just didn't work. She had the opportunity to get back to form with the Red Hot RAB album, and to some degree or another, she did, it's just that the tracks didn't live up to the album title. Workin Overtime seems to be more of the same, Diana attempting to compete with the girls who would've killed to be her, rather than getting involved with a producer who would tailor her Motown Part 2 album to what made people love Diana Ross for decades.

    Remove Diana from albums like Surrender, TMITM and The Boss. Who do you replace her with? Who could take those very same songs, no changes, and it still remain the same quality? I'm hard pressed to think of anyone. Now remove Diana from Workin Overtime. I personally can probably think of, at least, a half dozen singers who could've easily replaced Diana on that entire album. Why? Because it was a product for product's sake rather than an artistic expression. And to be clear, I'm not suggesting that following a trend for Diana would have been bad at all. But like you point out, Jam and Lewis would've made the album personal for Diana.

    Contemporary, yet very much a Diana Ross record. That's what she needed.
    Last edited by RanRan79; 08-12-2021 at 11:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by benross View Post
    Maybe the problem wasn't entirely with the music. Maybe it was partly with the cover.

    Like her first RCA album cover, to name just one, the Workin' Overtime photo seemed to reek of desperation. The costuming might have been more appropriate for a younger woman without motherhood, emotional maturity, refinement or a penchant for glamour of one sort or another under her belt. It did not seem fitting for Diana Ross.

    I felt some trepidation just looking at the Workin' Overtime jacket, but I bought the CD, just as I had all the others, hoping that there might be some interesting sounds to which I could relate, as up until then most of the music had been great or good.

    But some people took one look and felt amused, horrified or indifferent and never bothered to buy or listen to the new release. The jacket photograph did not feel reassuring or promising in any positive way.
    I'm not seeing any problem with the cover. Diana had proven since the cover of her solo debut album that she didn't need to be in sequins and ball gowns to be glamorous. She was a mother of three, and 35 years old, when she did the cover of The Boss, and one year older than that when she did the cover of diana80. She was 40 when she did the cover of the successful Swept Away album, with her punk styled hair.

    On the cover of WO she looks gorgeous. The only thing that doesn't appear to be age appropriate are the ripped jeans. But alas, nothing about Diana Ross- EVER- said "old lady" or "past it". She always had a vibrant youthfulness to her that I just don't think should have shocked anyone when they saw the photo. She sure as hell doesn't look 45 in the face in that photo. I might opine that the cover photo is the best thing about the album.

    Having said that, like the album's content, the return to Motown album cover should have been classic Diana in a contemporary look. I'll definitely give you that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by florence View Post
    It just seems to me that past 1986 Diana was sadly a spent force in the US.

    Would anything she released have been a hit?

    I think even if Bottom Line had been the first single from the album it would have had a tough time hitting - by the time it was released the album had flopped and it went the same way.

    I think This House is pretty much a dirge - in the UK even at her low points it was almost unheard of for any Diana single not to at least reach the Top 100 but House was an ignominious failure.

    I do think the Force Behind The Power album would have done well in the US in the 70s/early 80s.
    Sure she would've had hits, or even just successful albums, if the music was good. Let's not pretend like this lady was dropping "Aint No Mountain High Enough" and The Boss quality material after Swept Away and the public ignored it. Like or dislike, the truth is that much of that stuff just didn't impact the public the way her successes did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I agree in that whatever Diana released beyond 85 would most likely have been ignored by her homeland, no matter how good the product.
    “This House”, was ​never single material, and the momentum had sadly passed by the time Motown got around to releasing“Bottom Line”
    I think the UK generally preferred Diana singing more pop orientated music.
    Diana wasn't completely ignored here at home. "Workin Overtime" single still managed to hit #3 R&B and just missed the top 10 on the dance chart, so there was still some interest here at home. I heard it constantly as a kid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    yeah i think if the single of Bottom Line had been released first and prior to the album, then it might have worked. and i'm meaning the WO album as it was released - no changes to it. So a strong song would have probably generated interest. but they did need to do more to hype up the return to motown. maybe with a tv special or something too.
    Television special should've been a no brainer. I don't think it would've done much to help sales, for the reasons I mentioned previously, but at least the special could've been a success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I'm not seeing any problem with the cover. Diana had proven since the cover of her solo debut album that she didn't need to be in sequins and ball gowns to be glamorous. She was a mother of three, and 35 years old, when she did the cover of The Boss, and one year older than that when she did the cover of diana80. She was 40 when she did the cover of the successful Swept Away album, with her punk styled hair.

    On the cover of WO she looks gorgeous. The only thing that doesn't appear to be age appropriate are the ripped jeans. But alas, nothing about Diana Ross- EVER- said "old lady" or "past it". She always had a vibrant youthfulness to her that I just don't think should have shocked anyone when they saw the photo. She sure as hell doesn't look 45 in the face in that photo. I might opine that the cover photo is the best thing about the album.

    Having said that, like the album's content, the return to Motown album cover should have been classic Diana in a contemporary look. I'll definitely give you that.
    IMO the WO cover is like the 60 year old guy at the bar in a Hollister t shirt, heavy tan and hair plugs. Trying desperately to be young and hip

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Television special should've been a no brainer. I don't think it would've done much to help sales, for the reasons I mentioned previously, but at least the special could've been a success.
    yeah i think this would be similar to the thread i started on the 70s sups and if they needed a mega PR or excitement event. since it had been a few years since Diana's last big US hit, she needed something to re-energize her career.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Television special should've been a no brainer. I don't think it would've done much to help sales, for the reasons I mentioned previously, but at least the special could've been a success.
    There was a highly-edited HBO special that was filmed at Wembley Arena. But it aired in September, at least a month or so after the album had already peaked on the Billboard album chart.

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    Diana gained a new audience with the "Diana 80" album..hip, street, funky and up to date..folks ate this new funky Diana up and this was built on the foundations that were laid with the super hot "The Boss"..why couldnt she see that this is what the audience were clambering for but instead went back to slushy over produced cheesy ballads on the "To Love Again" album..if she had carried on building on the momentum those two albums garnered im sure Diana would have sailed through the 80s...folks loved the new sexy, funky street Diana and for a short while it seemed like she had her finger on the pulse but then it slipped and she never quite got it back...ok there were a few moments at RCA "Missing You"..."Swept Away"..."Its Hard For Me To Say" and a couple more but I guess folks were miffed as to who Diana was trying to sell herself too...the fans she gained through being current she then lost when she went back to being "shmaltzy" and by the time her return to Motown came around it was BAM BAM BAM she wanted to be super hip again and it just didnt work with the fans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    IMO the WO cover is like the 60 year old guy at the bar in a Hollister t shirt, heavy tan and hair plugs. Trying desperately to be young and hip
    Excuse me!!. I have a couple of Hollister T-shirt’s and I’m 58. Nothing wrong in looking a little trendy. No hair plugs....as yet.

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    With regards to Jam and Lewis, they may have been too busy to work with Diana Ross. Later in 89 Janet Jackson released the follow up to her successful Control album Rhythm Nation 1814. Jam and Lewis produced it and I imagine their energies were devoted to that project primarily.

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    If I recall correctly in late 88/early 89 Diana Ross had a decent sized hit on AC radio with IF We Hold On Together from the Land Before Time cartoon movie. But it wasn't until Force Behind the Power that she followed up with an album that capitalized on that song [[which was included as a bonus track on the CD though left off the cassette). Should she have made an AC album in the vein of If We Hold On Together as her Return to Motown? From Bluebrock's posts about how Diana Ross didn't like Working Overtime I get the impression she had a deadline to meet and so went with an album she didn't much care for. Would she have been penalized or dropped by Motown if she had asked that the album be shelved and she wanted to try again with something different?

    As for the album cover of WO, it worked for the music that was on there. She had the same look in the video for Working Overtime. So there was consistency in the promotional campaign. The video got a lot of play on BET as I recall, but I don't recall seeing it on MTV [[I was watching a lot of videos back then). She looked great in the video, even if she was trying a little too hard to be "hip and youthful".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Excuse me!!. I have a couple of Hollister T-shirt’s and I’m 58. Nothing wrong in looking a little trendy. No hair plugs....as yet.
    hahaha we always said when we were young and at the bars "be careful you don't become the people we used to make fun of!" lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Diana gained a new audience with the "Diana 80" album..hip, street, funky and up to date..folks ate this new funky Diana up and this was built on the foundations that were laid with the super hot "The Boss"..why couldnt she see that this is what the audience were clambering for but instead went back to slushy over produced cheesy ballads on the "To Love Again" album..if she had carried on building on the momentum those two albums garnered im sure Diana would have sailed through the 80s...folks loved the new sexy, funky street Diana and for a short while it seemed like she had her finger on the pulse but then it slipped and she never quite got it back...ok there were a few moments at RCA "Missing You"..."Swept Away"..."Its Hard For Me To Say" and a couple more but I guess folks were miffed as to who Diana was trying to sell herself too...the fans she gained through being current she then lost when she went back to being "shmaltzy" and by the time her return to Motown came around it was BAM BAM BAM she wanted to be super hip again and it just didnt work with the fans.
    i don't think if she had released a full studio album in 81 producer by M Masser that it would have derailed her audience gained from The Boss and diana 80. but i do agree that after that, she needed to get back to something new fresh and current. whether or not that was another chic produced album, i don't know.

    out of her WDFFIL album, i think Mirror was totally fresh and new. she's a bit muffled on the vocals. and if another producer had been at the helm, the only adjustment to make would be to play with the mix. otherwise i think it's a hot track. had the overall album had more of this style and sound, plus a couple nice ballads and all, i think her RCA debut would have been much stronger. maybe still not a true masterpiece but better than the released

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    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Diana gained a new audience with the "Diana 80" album..hip, street, funky and up to date..folks ate this new funky Diana up and this was built on the foundations that were laid with the super hot "The Boss"..why couldnt she see that this is what the audience were clambering for but instead went back to slushy over produced cheesy ballads on the "To Love Again" album..if she had carried on building on the momentum those two albums garnered im sure Diana would have sailed through the 80s...folks loved the new sexy, funky street Diana and for a short while it seemed like she had her finger on the pulse but then it slipped and she never quite got it back...ok there were a few moments at RCA "Missing You"..."Swept Away"..."Its Hard For Me To Say" and a couple more but I guess folks were miffed as to who Diana was trying to sell herself too...the fans she gained through being current she then lost when she went back to being "shmaltzy" and by the time her return to Motown came around it was BAM BAM BAM she wanted to be super hip again and it just didnt work with the fans.
    Back in 81 that is exactly as i remember it mowsville. Friends who had never been particularly interested in her music before were suddenly digging this new funky Diana.
    “Mirror “Mirror” was a grade one funk/rock track, that unfortunately was marooned on an album of bland, vanilla, dime a dozen type songs. WDFFIL was a novelty hit.
    Her moment of being hip faded like a glorious sunset, never to be seen again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Back in 81 that is exactly as i remember it mowsville. Friends who had never been particularly interested in her music before were suddenly digging this new funky Diana.
    “Mirror “Mirror” was a grade one funk/rock track, that unfortunately was marooned on an album of bland, vanilla, dime a dozen type songs. WDFFIL was a novelty hit.
    Her moment of being hip faded like a glorious sunset, never to be seen again.
    “Muscles” was a hip moment/sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    If I recall correctly in late 88/early 89 Diana Ross had a decent sized hit on AC radio with IF We Hold On Together from the Land Before Time cartoon movie. But it wasn't until Force Behind the Power that she followed up with an album that capitalized on that song [[which was included as a bonus track on the CD though left off the cassette). Should she have made an AC album in the vein of If We Hold On Together as her Return to Motown? From Bluebrock's posts about how Diana Ross didn't like Working Overtime I get the impression she had a deadline to meet and so went with an album she didn't much care for. Would she have been penalized or dropped by Motown if she had asked that the album be shelved and she wanted to try again with something different?

    As for the album cover of WO, it worked for the music that was on there. She had the same look in the video for Working Overtime. So there was consistency in the promotional campaign. The video got a lot of play on BET as I recall, but I don't recall seeing it on MTV [[I was watching a lot of videos back then). She looked great in the video, even if she was trying a little too hard to be "hip and youthful".
    There are mountains of wisdom in what you have to say. The poisonous 'fans' forget [or never had the sense to understand) that the record business is the record business. Contracts are signed, lp deliveries outlined and scheduled years in advance, and performers are committed to complete an album whether or not it ends up perfect, or even remotely to their liking. As Ralph has said, 'It's the record business. Get over it'. That doesn't mean we have to like every release nor does it invalidate our discussions BUT ... it does invalidate the conspiracy-theory-minded 'fans' who have less than rewarding lives from their decades-old blathering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Jam and Lewis were hot at this point..If Diana wanted something current she should have gone with any of the producers of the day...Nile Rogers??????

    J&L had just completed Cherrelle's "Affair" in late 1988. Sonically, the tracks on that album would have been PERFECT for Ross.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    “Muscles” was a hip moment/sound.
    It was 'of its' time'. Like Olivia Newton-John's 'Physical' or Diana's 'Work That Body' it probably wouldn't have worked any time outside of the early 80s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    but why would you return to Motown to sound like a UK production or ....?
    Sadly, Motown wasn't up to it anymore. Diana had greater success in the UK [and the rest of the world] than in the US through the 80s. She should probably have taken advantage of this.

    Why shouldn't she have sought some UK writers, even producers? It's not like she was going back to HDH, Ashford & Simpson or the Funk Brothers when she returned to Motown.

    Her biggest Motown success came via Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards who weren't Motown either.

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    OK got it




    still, why: Motown??? Nobody else interested ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    There are mountains of wisdom in what you have to say. The poisonous 'fans' forget [or never had the sense to understand) that the record business is the record business. Contracts are signed, lp deliveries outlined and scheduled years in advance, and performers are committed to complete an album whether or not it ends up perfect, or even remotely to their liking. As Ralph has said, 'It's the record business. Get over it'. That doesn't mean we have to like every release nor does it invalidate our discussions BUT ... it does invalidate the conspiracy-theory-minded 'fans' who have less than rewarding lives from their decades-old blathering.
    Poisonous fans, conspiracy minded!!. What on earth are you talking about?.
    There are no conspiracies here, just fans sharing their experiences and opinions of which i personally find really interesting.
    Most fans enjoy talking about the good and the bad. We don’t have to like every release, but it’s natural to discuss those we do or don’t. It’s only sycophants like you who appear to have a problem with that.
    So WDFFIL would have been planned years in advance. Motown must have been more then a little concerned. As Bluebrock has mentioned, Diana’s priority was cutting costs.
    In life you tend to get what you pay for.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 08-13-2021 at 03:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i think it's a relatively universal opinion that the Workin' Overtime album wasn't the right concept or content. given that her recording career had cooled by 89, what should she have done to help restart things? what producer[[s) would have been the right fit? are there some pop songs from 89 that could have been a great option had they been given to her?

    I think if a killer single, or, maybe the album mix of Bottom Line, was released a month or so ahead of the album, it had a chance of breaking through. I think it would have fit in the top 40 milieu du jour perfectly. I don’t believe radio was over her in ‘89, I believe radio was over the crap singles she was she was handing out since missing you.I think BL could have hit without the distraction of the entire album - most of which folks pretty much hated , the cover many hated, and just let the song do its magic, the whole situation MIGHT have changed. If BL hit, Paradise might have had a chance, but I think folks weren’t too keen on her upper register should. That was the #1 complaint I heard about WO and Eaten Alive.

    I think radio would have been open to Ross with the right product and some initial arm twisting. She needed better product to break through and A/C from Peter Asher was probably not gonna do it. WO hit #3 R&B, yet still couldn’t get crossover adds. She needed better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    OK got it




    still, why: Motown??? Nobody else interested ?
    Diana had already signed with MCA, I believe. She was given stock in Motown as an incentive to sign with them and this also helped fulfill the 20% minority ownership that Berry requested when he sold Motown to MCA. I remember interviews where she said she really wanted to get into artist development but I don't know much time she actually devoted to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    I think if a killer single, or, maybe the album mix of Bottom Line, was released a month or so ahead of the album, it had a chance of breaking through. I think it would have fit in the top 40 milieu du jour perfectly. I don’t believe radio was over her in ‘89, I believe radio was over the crap singles she was she was handing out since missing you.I think BL could have hit without the distraction of the entire album - most of which folks pretty much hated , the cover many hated, and just let the song do its magic, the whole situation MIGHT have changed. If BL hit, Paradise might have had a chance, but I think folks weren’t too keen on her upper register should. That was the #1 complaint I heard about WO and Eaten Alive.

    I think radio would have been open to Ross with the right product and some initial arm twisting. She needed better product to break through and A/C from Peter Asher was probably not gonna do it. WO hit #3 R&B, yet still couldn’t get crossover adds. She needed better.
    i agree. if the album had remained as is, it would have probably charted early and decently, then cooled off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Diana had already signed with MCA, I believe. She was given stock in Motown as an incentive to sign with them and this also helped fulfill the 20% minority ownership that Berry requested when he sold Motown to MCA. I remember interviews where she said she really wanted to get into artist development but I don't know much time she actually devoted to that.

    ah yes , its coming back to me now. Thanks reese. I knew there was some weird twist to the story. So basically they got stuck with each other. Still why not make lemonade out of the situation. Very poorly executed in every respect.

    So here's one idea.....both Ross and Thelma Houston bolted to RCA....maybe the girls should've reunited for a special reunion cut for the new album.
    A remake of I'M HERE AGAIN .....only now titled WE'RE HERE AGAIN and re-done up in the current fancy dance styles by any of the above mentioned hotshot sound creators of the moment ....
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 08-13-2021 at 11:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    I think if a killer single, or, maybe the album mix of Bottom Line, was released a month or so ahead of the album, it had a chance of breaking through. I think it would have fit in the top 40 milieu du jour perfectly. I don’t believe radio was over her in ‘89, I believe radio was over the crap singles she was she was handing out since missing you.I think BL could have hit without the distraction of the entire album - most of which folks pretty much hated , the cover many hated, and just let the song do its magic, the whole situation MIGHT have changed. If BL hit, Paradise might have had a chance, but I think folks weren’t too keen on her upper register should. That was the #1 complaint I heard about WO and Eaten Alive.

    I think radio would have been open to Ross with the right product and some initial arm twisting. She needed better product to break through and A/C from Peter Asher was probably not gonna do it. WO hit #3 R&B, yet still couldn’t get crossover adds. She needed better.
    Good post. “Bottom Line” released ahead of the album might have made all the difference. I wonder how it might have faired as a double A side single with “Paradise” or perhaps “Just Say We Can”.

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    Although I think Diana looks stunning on the cover [[ ripped jeans inc ) I think the shot they used for the U.K release of "Paradise" would have looked better as the album jacket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    ah yes , its coming back to me now. Thanks reese. I knew there was some weird twist to the story. So basically they got stuck with each other. Still why not make lemonade out of the situation. Very poorly executed in every respect.

    So here's one idea.....both Ross and Thelma Houston bolted to RCA....maybe the girls should've reunited for a special reunion cut for the new album.
    A remake of I'M HERE AGAIN .....only now titled WE'RE HERE AGAIN and re-done up in the current fancy dance styles by any of the above mentioned hotshot sound creators of the moment ....
    THEN
    after six minutes or so of the ladies vamping back-and-forth with WE RE HERE AGAIN , the song fades out. The next cut begins . It’s the iconic ding of a bell and then the string stab , followed by a humming intro over guitar work.
    Wait , that’s not Thelma , or Teddy , that’s Diana! And she then proceeds into a spirited and not so different from those original versions take of DON’T LEAVE ME THIS WAY.
    Diana’s version at last !!

    The press eats the story up , two former Motown divas reuniting for a return stint at Motown and Diana Ross at last records the hit song that had always been intended for her !!
    The tunes are pressed on a shared promo 12” and they soar to the top of the disco /dance chart and perhaps beyond.


    Additional Bonus factor :
    Diana now has a new old disco encore song instead of using Gloria’s .

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