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  1. #1
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    About RCA in the 80's

    Ok, it may not be about Diana Ross in the first place, but I think it gives a great insight about what happened to her while at RCA.
    From Kenny Rogers POV

    Gibb’s perky, poppy “Islands in the Stream,” a duet by Rogers and Dolly Parton, was another smash hit -No. 1 country and pop – and the RCA era appeared to be off to a great start. Eyes That See in the Dark sold four million copies.
    Not long after the album’s release, however, Bob Summer was fired from RCA. Rogers: “The new guy moves in, and I literally went into his office and said ‘Tell me what my future is here, now that Bob’s gone.’ He said “Well you’ve got a lot of money per album coming your way – if it were me I’d take it and go home.
    “He said “But I can’t let you be successful. Because if I make you successful, it makes Bob Summer look good. And people are going to ask why they let him go if he made a good deal.’”
    Translation: Don’t expect any promotion help from your label.
    Scratching his head, Rogers went back to work. There was another Gambler TV movie, and a Christmas album with Dolly Parton, and 20 Greatest Hits, the first in a series of reissues and re-packagings from his old label.
    Leaving a company where you’d been ably supported for years, Rogers believes, was probably not such a great idea. “When you’re in business, you negotiate for the better deal,” he says. “I don’t think I realized there could be a downside.” In retrospect, he calls the move to RCA a “huge mistake.” But he couldn’t ignore the money they waved at him.
    Next out of the gate at RCA was “What About Me,” a middle-of-the-road ballad performed with both Kim Carnes [[they’d duetted on “Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer,” from Gideon, four years before) and R&B balladeer James Ingram.
    “What About Me?” was the first warning sign that something was terribly wrong. Although the “trio” made the pop Top 20, their song bombed at country radio.
    Hade he gone too far?
    Know when to fold ‘em
    He was to hit the jackpot two or three more times at country, but by 1987, Kenny Rogers had had his last Number One. He never came near the pop charts again.
    “I think I had gotten too far away from my core base, which was country,” Rogers says. “You have to have a core group of people who follow you and defend you at all times. And the minute you offend those groups, they’re not easy to get back.
    “At one time, if you had a country record you could be there forever. That was what attracted me to it.
    “I think I made some strategic mistakes based on my own musical comfort level – and at that same time, country music was going much more country, so I was much farther out of the pocket.”

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    if i remember right, RCA had paid TONS to land Diana and other high profile artists and acts. way more than they should. frankly they weren't extremely wise investments and so they were looking to get out of bad deals, recoup whatever they could and then invest more wisely in future acts

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    It’s interesting that Kenny mentions he had moved to far away from his core base which was very much what happened to Diana. Experimenting is all good and well, but every artist needs to remember what made them famous in the first place.

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    RCA signed Ross,Barry manilow, Kenny Rogers and pointer sisters among others.
    Suddenly they were all hot and then they weren't.
    As if someone pulled the plug.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    RCA signed Ross,Barry manilow, Kenny Rogers and pointer sisters among others.
    Suddenly they were all hot and then they weren't.
    As if someone pulled the plug.
    I rather think Diana pulled the plug on herself david.
    In fairness to rca, any other record company would have struggled when presented with the mammoth task of trying to turn songs such as “So Close”, “Upfront”, Pieces Of Ice”, “Eaten Alive” etc etc into hits. Not to mention albums such as Silk Electric” that i recall being savaged by the music press at the time.

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    the RCA years were not a wash out by any means - she scored platinum,gold & silver albums in the uk and top ten singles all over the world - hardly a disaster..her solo Motown years had been patchy as well

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    Diana was the hottest act in show biz when she signed with RCA. She was the coldest act when she left. She essentially tried to sell garbage and the public walked away. In other words, she did it her way and only her way. The world loved Berry’s way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    the RCA years were not a wash out by any means - she scored platinum,gold & silver albums in the uk and top ten singles all over the world - hardly a disaster..her solo Motown years had been patchy as well
    A mountain of success. That explains why rca and were desperate to resign her when her contract expired.

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    eaten alive went platinum in uk ,i think sales of 4 million. but, just some inside scoop.
    diana didnt do it her way per say.
    originally quincy jones was to produce her first solo album at rca but ,if i recall correctly ,was producing Patti Austin,who became ill,this backed ross debute up by 6 months
    diana promised an album by oct. Austin felt bad and promised to record all dianas backing vocals for free to try and make up for the screw up. diana moved on to lionel richie who was on tour, then the bee gees who were knee deep with striesand and brother andy. they would not be available until 84.
    i also think Niles was now producing Madoona ,so he was not available.
    personally ,not sure if Ashford and Simpspn but obviously she decied to produce herself.
    the singles were hits and the album went platinum. my sister loved the first 2 rca albums,while i did not. she wasnt even a ross fan but did steal my lps to play them .
    at least she kept her word with rca and gave them a hits,.really not a bad run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I rather think Diana pulled the plug on herself david.
    In fairness to rca, any other record company would have struggled when presented with the mammoth task of trying to turn songs such as “So Close”, “Upfront”, Pieces Of Ice”, “Eaten Alive” etc etc into hits. Not to mention albums such as Silk Electric” that i recall being savaged by the music press at the time.
    This is quite true, she could not pull the shenanigans she got away with at Motown. I interviewed a guy who was an intern at RCA in the 80s. When he was asked to sit in on a meeting with Ross and the shirts at RCA to promote her new lp Eaten Alive he was elated. What he saw was so disturbing it left him speechless. She had recently remarried, was expecting or maybe already had the first boy, what pounding her fists on the table demanding RCA do this and do that and no she was not going on the road to promote this lp. She was beyond that now. When she finally left in a huff, the man in charge [[forget his name) picked up the phone, called Promotion and instructed them to give the budget on Ross's new lp to Hall and Oates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    This is quite true, she could not pull the shenanigans she got away with at Motown. I interviewed a guy who was an intern at RCA in the 80s. When he was asked to sit in on a meeting with Ross and the shirts at RCA to promote her new lp Eaten Alive he was elated. What he saw was so disturbing it left him speechless. She had recently remarried, was expecting or maybe already had the first boy, what pounding her fists on the table demanding RCA do this and do that and no she was not going on the road to promote this lp. She was beyond that now. When she finally left in a huff, the man in charge [[forget his name) picked up the phone, called Promotion and instructed them to give the budget on Ross's new lp to Hall and Oates.
    LOL! Quite a story, talk about biting the hand that feeds you ..... she should have been a bit more thankful RCA had an audience of people gathered there to help her .... that is, if she played them right.... What were they saying I wonder that set her off ... what did she hope to gain by alienating them?


    [Patti Labelle probably would've showed up to the gathering with sweet potato pie!]
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 11-28-2021 at 11:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    LOL! Quite a story, talk about biting the hand that feeds you ..... she should have been a bit more thankful RCA had an audience of people gathered there to help her .... that is, if she played them right.... What were they saying I wonder that set her off ... what did she hope to gain by alienating them?


    [Patti Labelle probably would've showed up to the gathering with sweet potato pie!]
    Interesting! But the timeline confuses me. If Diana was recently married, it could have been Eaten Alive in 1985, but if she was pregnant, it would have been Red Hot Rhythm And Blues in 1987. I thought the release of RHRAB fulfilled and ended the RCA contract with the company not obligated to promote. Also, Daryl Hall & John Oates’ final RCA album was 1984’s Big Bam Boom. Which album were they meeting about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    She was pounding her fists on the table demanding RCA do this and do that and no she was not going on the road to promote this lp. She was beyond that now. When she finally left in a huff, the man in charge [[forget his name) picked up the phone, called Promotion and instructed them to give the budget on Ross's new lp to Hall and Oates.
    I can fully understand her panic and fear as she watched her career crumble to bits. At this point, she could not go back to Berry with her tail tucked betwixted her legs. And, she knew she had zero ability to produce quality music that the public loved and RCA expected. She could only scream, pound her fists, and watch the boat continue to sink.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 11-28-2021 at 12:46 PM.

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    When Ross left that RCA meeting in a huff, she probably thought she put the fear of God in them and everything would change.

    Little did she know that people will cower in fear and tolerate bulls*it from someone when they are getting rich off that person. When there is little or no money to be made from tolerating the angry behavior, they quickly tell that person to f*ck off.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 11-28-2021 at 01:17 PM.

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    here's an interesting thought though - had Diana stayed with motown, would she really have had that big of a career in the 80s? motown was rapidly losing it's stature in the industry and wasn't really tapping into the new sounds and trends. you had another British Invasion but Motown most certainly was NOT the definitive American sound to counter it in 83.

    Lionel had hits until mid 86 and then he was done. Stevie was hot through 85 and then totally not. Smokey had a few hits very early in the decade but then not much either.

    So would have Diana really been much different?

    There is a lifespan for a pop artist in the US on Billboard. I think it's most likely that diana wouldn't have performed all that much differently.

    It is certainly possible that her output would have been more consistent. and her public image might not have suffered the hits of people seeing her as an out of control diva.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    When Ross left that RCA meeting in a huff, she probably thought she put the fear of God in them and everything would change.

    Little did she know that people will cower in fear and tolerate bulls*it from someone when they are getting rich off that person. When there is little or no money to be made from tolerating the angry behavior, they quickly tell that person to f*ck off.
    You say a lot of wise things, circa. [do you listen to Dr. Laura?].
    I know I put up with a lot of BS in my life just for the sake of survival, so I can imagine how compounded that becomes when there's big money involved.

    Which is why Diana should have shown up with sweet potato pie....."we're all in this together guys, if I do well, YOU do well"......


    the same thing when the 'little' delivery guy takes the bother in his life to bring you your package... a little 'thank you', some appreciation, goes a long way
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 11-28-2021 at 01:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    here's an interesting thought though - had Diana stayed with motown, would she really have had that big of a career in the 80s? motown was rapidly losing it's stature in the industry and wasn't really tapping into the new sounds and trends. you had another British Invasion but Motown most certainly was NOT the definitive American sound to counter it in 83.

    Lionel had hits until mid 86 and then he was done. Stevie was hot through 85 and then totally not. Smokey had a few hits very early in the decade but then not much either.

    So would have Diana really been much different?

    There is a lifespan for a pop artist in the US on Billboard. I think it's most likely that diana wouldn't have performed all that much differently.

    It is certainly possible that her output would have been more consistent. and her public image might not have suffered the hits of people seeing her as an out of control diva.
    Agreed, nearly in full. Diana's recording life had already had a longer-than-usual run.

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    Diana's RCA years are often unfairly compared to her 70s years, just like the 70s Sups charts are compared to their 60s history.

    Diana had 4 top 10 pop records plus 3 additional top 10 dance hits. and 3 albums that went gold/platinum out of 6 released. not a terrible run

  19. #19
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    but why its unfair to compare the two??


    by extension , if we pit Diana's 80's years to her 90's history, the eighties were outstanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    but why its unfair to compare the two??


    by extension , if we pit Diana's 80's years to her 90's history, the eighties were outstanding.
    From what perspective, quality of music or record sales?.

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    Hmmmm
    does one reflect the other ?

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    She would have fallen out of the pop charts as the 80s progressed regardless of what label she was at or her material. She was aging and the young people were looking for their own stars. Another factor that makes the RCA years not as strong as the 70s Motown solo years was that her material on RCA, overall, has aged worse than her 70s Motown recordings. Her 70s stuff overall, has a classic, timeless quality sound to them whereas her 80s stuff on RCA, overall, is of its period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Hmmmm
    does one reflect the other ?
    In my opinion rarely so. I was just interested in hearing your ruminations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    She would have fallen out of the pop charts as the 80s progressed regardless of what label she was at or her material. She was aging and the young people were looking for their own stars. Another factor that makes the RCA years not as strong as the 70s Motown solo years was that her material on RCA, overall, has aged worse than her 70s Motown recordings. Her 70s stuff overall, has a classic, timeless quality sound to them whereas her 80s stuff on RCA, overall, is of its period.
    I’m not so certain. Diana possessed one of the most commercial pop/r&b voices in music history, coupled with being one of it’s most glamorous stars ever. She was still scoring pop hits, at least across Europe right up until 99. “Not Over You Yet” reaching the top ten in the UK being just one example.
    Her 80’s music was for the most part out of synch with what was happening and what people wanted to hear from her.
    Albums such as “ross” , Eaten Alive”, and ”RHRAB” alienated many fans and prematurely lost her the youth market. At least in the USA.
    I agree with your comparison to her Motown and rca recordings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albator View Post
    [FONT=&quot]Ok, it may not be about Diana Ross in the first place, but I think it gives a great insight about what happened to her while at RCA.
    From Kenny Rogers POV
    this is going to be an interesting thread.

    that meeting is interesting however, I’m guessing he’s getting the album mixed up and talking about red heart rhythm and blues because she was not married when eaten alive was released and she had no children, young children anyway. Also she toured to support eaten alive but toured briefly for red heart rhythm and blues. I think that she would not have gone into that meeting and been angry because she was coming off I near platinum excellent album swept away and had no reason to crab - however, I can see her blaming RCA for the failure of Eaten Alive and going into the next album meeting with a ‘tude. I don’t think it is the fault of RCA that the lead single was impossible to understand and a bad choice for lead single when Chain Reaction had hit written all over it. By the time they released it, the train had left the station.

    The RCA years had, by most accounts, enough material to make one great pop album…… Unfortunately it was spread out among six albums.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    this is going to be an interesting thread.

    that meeting is interesting however, I’m guessing he’s getting the album mixed up and talking about red heart rhythm and blues because she was not married when eaten alive was released and she had no children, young children anyway. Also she toured to support eaten alive but toured briefly for red heart rhythm and blues. I think that she would not have gone into that meeting and been angry because she was coming off I near platinum excellent album swept away and had no reason to crab - however, I can see her blaming RCA for the failure of Eaten Alive and going into the next album meeting with a ‘tude. I don’t think it is the fault of RCA that the lead single was impossible to understand and a bad choice for lead single when Chain Reaction had hit written all over it. By the time they released it, the train had left the station.

    The RCA years had, by most accounts, enough material to make one great pop album…… Unfortunately it was spread out among six albums.
    I can easily understand why EA was picked as the first single. MJ wrote it and also sang chorus. He was hotter than lava by 85, and frankly, the lyrics may be hard to sing along to, but the rhythm is very, very catchy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Diana's RCA years are often unfairly compared to her 70s years, just like the 70s Sups charts are compared to their 60s history.

    Diana had 4 top 10 pop records plus 3 additional top 10 dance hits. and 3 albums that went gold/platinum out of 6 released. not a terrible run
    Good call, SupFan, and when Funkytown Grooves did their expanded versions I was happy at how well the lps held up. The RCA Years get dug up several times a year hear, with negative comments far outnumbering the positive but there are those who do like these adventurous albums.

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    It might have been the Red Hot lp, but my memory is getting fuzzy as the years go on. I seem to remember that the lp in question was Eaten Alive and yes I see it was released maybe a little before Ross re-married. Whatever the reasons, she was adamant that she was not going to tour to promote it that it was up to RCA to make the lp a hit. Ross was entering her forties, her girls were either teens or pre-teens and she had at least met her future husband by this time and wanted to nurture these relationships. Being on the road for a couple months and then going to Europe to promote an album would have interrupted this.

    Would Diana Ross have lasted longer had she stayed at Motown? Yes I think she would have lasted a little longer. Gordy would have given her as he always did preferred material and the best promotion. Coming off all the hits in 1980 and 81 BG would have known how to expand on this. Maybe another big screen movie could have fitted in during this time frame to further establish her as another Streisand. Berry Gordy had the connections RCA didn't have and he knew by nature what was best for his protege.'
    In fact, had she stayed I think Motown could have lasted into the early 90s. As it was in their last couple years only Smokey and Stevie, their veteran artists, was selling music. I find it interesting that Motown's last Billboard hit under Gordy was a re-issue of his Contours hit Do You Love Me.

    At RCA she quickly because just another female singer on their roster.

    The other side of the coin, Diana realized after the massive success of the Nile Rogers lp and the Endless Love single that she was not getting the money she deserved. Staying at Motown probably wouldn't have changed that. She left the company with only a little more than Mary Wilson was given in 1991 when she demanded to take over her own finances.

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    if you examine this purely from a cost/benefit analysis, going to RCA was 100% the right decision. the money she earned from the signing and the monies she received as her own manager would have dwarfed anything she would have gotten from motown. whether it was the late 80s or early 90s, she would have slipped out of the top of the pops charts regardless. but the money she got at RCA would still have been much much greater than whatever royalties she might have received from a motown hit in these later years.

    interesting about maybe another movie. hadn't thought of that. and that could be. also her overall image would probably have been better preserved, although Mary's Dreamgirl would still have been written. And a more positive public image might have allowed for more of a rebound in the late 90s or 00s. ignoring Return To Love, a lot of older pop stars had a re-emergence in the years and it's possible Diana might have with I Will Survive, Carry On or another trendy pop song. But i think her public image pretty much removed her from station playlists and general pop audiences

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    if you examine this purely from a cost/benefit analysis, going to RCA was 100% the right decision. the money she earned from the signing and the monies she received as her own manager would have dwarfed anything she would have gotten from motown. whether it was the late 80s or early 90s, she would have slipped out of the top of the pops charts regardless. but the money she got at RCA would still have been much much greater than whatever royalties she might have received from a motown hit in these later years.

    interesting about maybe another movie. hadn't thought of that. and that could be. also her overall image would probably have been better preserved, although Mary's Dreamgirl would still have been written. And a more positive public image might have allowed for more of a rebound in the late 90s or 00s. ignoring Return To Love, a lot of older pop stars had a re-emergence in the years and it's possible Diana might have with I Will Survive, Carry On or another trendy pop song. But i think her public image pretty much removed her from station playlists and general pop audiences
    From a financial point of view it was a brilliant decision.
    Diana did of course have a massive resurgence in Europe with “FBTP” which lasted the rest of the decade. If nothing else, it proved that by releasing half decent material she still had a committed following.
    Mary’s book was made all the more believable by Diana’s high profile, petulant behaviour of the early 80’s. The worst being the infamous letter which led to her being sued for millions.
    As you mention, her public image may well have affected her getting onto many playlists.

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    The 1980s

    In 1983, Arista Records owner Bertelsmann sold 50% of Arista to RCA. In 1985, Bertelsmann and RCA Records formed a joint venture called RCA/Ariola International.[27] The following year, RCA Corporation was acquired by General Electric [[GE) and it sold its 50% interest in RCA Records to its partner Bertelsmann. The company was renamed BMG Music for Bertelsmann Music Group.[28] BMG revived the old RCA "lightning bolt" logo that was retired in 1968 to differentiate RCA Records from the other RCA divisions, which GE either liquidated, sold, or closed. BMG also revived the "RCA Victor" label for Red Seal, Broadway and soundtrack releases and other musical genres outside of rock, pop and country music. In 1986, Bob Buziak, formerly an artist manager, was appointed president of the label.

    During the mid-1980s, RCA Records operated at a deficit, due in part to "overpriced deals" with pop stars including Kenny Rogers and Diana Ross. In 1986, the label bought back $25 million in unsold albums and lost $35 million during the fiscal year 1987. As a partial corrective, a decentralized style of management which allowed RCA Records to function as a free-standing entrepreneurial business was implemented for 1988. Buziak drastically cut the RCA roster from around 40 acts to 11, and began to rebuild it with a focus on developing artists, including artists acquired through marketing and distribution agreements with Beggars Banquet Records, a British punk rock label, and Jive Records, whose roster included Schooly D, Kool Moe Dee, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
    By the end of the fiscal year 1988, RCA Records had gross revenue of $236 million in the United States, its most profitable year to date. Bruce Hornsby's The Way It Is sold more than three million albums, and the soundtrack for the film Dirty Dancing, which cost RCA $200,000 to produce, sold 15.6 million copies in less than two years. Its follow-up, More Dirty Dancing, composed of song tracks which had been left out of the first album, was produced for $80,000 and went on to sell more than 5.6 million. Among the most successful acts for RCA Records during the 1980s were the Eurythmics, Love and Rockets, Joshua Perahia, Rick Astley, Dolly Parton, Juice Newton, and Bucks Fizz.[29][30]
    slim info from wiki about RCA. the above is the only mention of Diana Ross. Curiously absent , any mention of Hall & Oates.

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    One could make the case that the single "Eaten Alive" was Diana Ross' equivalent of "Bad Weather". She hooked up with a very hot artist to write and produce her a hit, it was released and performed far below expectations given the presence of Michael Jackson on the record.

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    i've also always wondered how the AIDS crisis impacted her sales and fan base. with such a huge gay following, wonder how much these deaths took away a core component of her base

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i've also always wondered how the AIDS crisis impacted her sales and fan base. with such a huge gay following, wonder how much these deaths took away a core component of her base
    I remember a discussion regarding this some years back on one of the forums, quite likely Yahoo. It's a very valid theory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    One could make the case that the single "Eaten Alive" was Diana Ross' equivalent of "Bad Weather". She hooked up with a very hot artist to write and produce her a hit, it was released and performed far below expectations given the presence of Michael Jackson on the record.
    Replace the daft lyrics and you have a hit record.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i've also always wondered how the AIDS crisis impacted her sales and fan base. with such a huge gay following, wonder how much these deaths took away a core component of her base
    it most certainly contributed alongside sales for Gaynor,Summer etc.
    Theres been several mentions on this thread of Gordy masterminding Diana's career thru the 70s - once she slapped him in Rome filming "Mahogany" he had very little real involvement with her career for the rest of the decade - sure he got some album executive producer credits but in reality apart from turning up at her live shows and offering critique of her performances he had little to do with the business of her career - Depasse & Roshkind managed the day to day aspects of her career

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    in regards to BG and Ross solo career,lets see,.
    diana ross 70, touch me in the morning, Diana ross 76, boss n Diana were hits,...
    EIE,surrender,last time i saw him,baby its me[[love It) ross 78 all bombed,so worse thn other, so if ROSS STAYED, would she. imo no. BG had to much control and lost his touch.
    5 hits, 5 misses, not counting live sets or soundtrack Diana ,both of them sold less than 250,000 copies.
    only other hit was Hits 76 .
    RCA,
    why do fool ,silk electric swept away hits
    ross,eaten alive usa, red hot low sales 3 for 3 but internationally Eaten Alive did well selling 4 million copies. i actually think Ross was good but needed to be tweeked
    Last edited by daviddh; 11-29-2021 at 07:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    it most certainly contributed alongside sales for Gaynor,Summer etc.
    Theres been several mentions on this thread of Gordy masterminding Diana's career thru the 70s - once she slapped him in Rome filming "Mahogany" he had very little real involvement with her career for the rest of the decade - sure he got some album executive producer credits but in reality apart from turning up at her live shows and offering critique of her performances he had little to do with the business of her career - Depasse & Roshkind managed the day to day aspects of her career
    yeah after Mahogany, seems like DR was sort of placed on a back burner. DR 76 was already in the can by the time the movie was done. Baby It's Me did nothing and motown seemed to have bungled the promotion, Ross 78 was useless and the 1 solid song [[You Were The One) was overlooked. The Boss [[both lp and single) should have charted much higher and It's My House completely missed the charts. fortunately diana 80 was massive. and It's My Turn was a big hit. but To Love Again and One More Chance did nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    in regards to BG and Ross solo career,lets see,.
    diana ross 70, touch me in the morning, Diana ross 76, boss n Diana were hits,...
    EIE,surrender,last time i saw him,baby its me[[love It) ross 78 all bombed,so worse thn other, so if ROSS STAYED, would she. imo no. BG had to much control and lost his touch.
    5 hits, 5 misses, not counting live sets or soundtrack Diana ,both of them sold less than 250,000 copies.
    only other hit was Hits 76 .
    RCA,
    why do fool ,silk electric swept away hits
    ross,eaten alive usa, red hot low sales 3 for 3 but internationally Eaten Alive did well selling 4 million copies. i actually think Ross was good but needed to be tweeked
    Had the “diana” album not been the monumental success it was, i doubt very much “Fools” and the dreadful “Silk Electric” would have sold nearly as well as they did.
    Their success was riding on the coattails of her final two Motown albums, not including “To Love again”.

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    Kenny Rogers is probably right when he points the importance of fan base expectations.
    At RCA, she tried so many styles and she went too far IMO.
    But that doesn't mean what she recorded was terrible, far from that, in fact.
    But I admit that it took me 33 years to finally appreciate Eaten Alive.
    During the pandemic, I had to try something relatively new to me and after a while, I grown accustomed to this pop sound and now, I like it very much.

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    To each his or her own and we all have different opinions on the various RCA years - personally I thought Swept Away was brilliant and apart from the awful title track Eaten Alive was pretty good too.

    I also love Silk Electric!

    What is interesting though is that while diana is her #1 selling album in most [[maybe even all but one) territories while it did do better in the UK than many of her albums at time of release it was actually outsold by Fools!

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    Quote Originally Posted by florence View Post

    What is interesting though is that while diana is her #1 selling album in most [[maybe even all but one) territories while it did do better in the UK than many of her albums at time of release it was actually outsold by Fools!
    Who would have thought lol. Despite the relative success of the “WDFFIL” album, as a solo artist she will always be best remembered for the ‘diana’ album and her Motown catalogue. This as opposed to any album she ever recorded for rca.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    in regards to BG and Ross solo career,lets see,.
    diana ross 70, touch me in the morning, Diana ross 76, boss n Diana were hits,...
    EIE,surrender,last time i saw him,baby its me[[love It) ross 78 all bombed,so worse thn other, so if ROSS STAYED, would she. imo no. BG had to much control and lost his touch.
    5 hits, 5 misses, not counting live sets or soundtrack Diana ,both of them sold less than 250,000 copies.
    only other hit was Hits 76 .
    RCA,
    why do fool ,silk electric swept away hits
    ross,eaten alive usa, red hot low sales 3 for 3 but internationally Eaten Alive did well selling 4 million copies. i actually think Ross was good but needed to be tweeked
    That's actually a good take, David. I've sometimes wondered if RCA actually considered the international market[[s) in advance or if some of the records 'just happened' to become hits overseas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Mary’s book was made all the more believable by Diana’s high profile, petulant behaviour of the early 80’s. The worst being the infamous letter which led to her being sued for millions.
    As you mention, her public image may well have affected her getting onto many playlists.
    What letter? Sued by whom?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    That's actually a good take, David. I've sometimes wondered if RCA actually considered the international market[[s) in advance or if some of the records 'just happened' to become hits overseas.
    Diana actually signed two separate contracts in 1981: RCA for North America and Canada, and EMI for the rest of the world. So it was EMI that worked those recordings internationally.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by JLoveLamar View Post
    What letter? Sued by whom?
    Diana sent a letter in 83, to people in the music industry, where she named a couple of ex employees of hers and said either their performances or habits were unacceptable to her. One of the people on the list sued Diana for libel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atasteofhoney View Post
    Diana sent a letter in 83, to people in the music industry, where she named a couple of ex employees of hers and said either their performances or habits were unacceptable to her. One of the people on the list sued Diana for libel.
    I believe there were seven names listed in the letter.
    Unfortunately for Diana, it was one temper tantrum she would live to regret. I would like to think she learnt a lot from the experience.

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    IMO Diana Ross was one of those artists you should never have counted out. No one, and I do mean no one, stays a hit maker forever, so there would have come a time when she would be unable to buy a hit no matter what. The problem with trying to pinpoint an "appropriate" time for this to happen to Diana is that her music sucked by the general public's tastes. Diana's isn't a case of she was releasing all this great music, like some artists do, and the public just wasn't buying it. She was dropping crap after crap that couldn't hold up in competition against anything anyone else was releasing at the time. EA and RHRAB were disastrous, creatively speaking. And while her other RCA albums did comparatively well, the singles were sometimes awfully ridiculous.

    As has been said in the thread already, Diana moved outside of what her fanbase wanted to hear. That's not to say that stepping outside of that automatically equals a dud. I LOVE "Fool For Your Love". I play it often. But is that the type of song that she should have been doing? Absolutely not. Nobody wanted to hear Diana Ross doing rock music. Nobody. Diana was always best received when she did r&b/pop, hence why her big hits at RCA were songs like "Muscles", "Swept Away", "Missing You", "Mirror, Mirror". [["Fools" is an outlier as far as I'm concerned.) I get the "sense" of releasing the "Eaten Alive" single. Michael Jackson. Nuff said. But had she gotten with one of the major hit makers of 1985 to produce the EA album, there's no telling how successful the project could have been. And then RHRAB, to not bring in someone to make an album sizzle with that kind of title is insane. Diana still had some juice in the tank, but she was squeezing it in all the wrong ways. That makes the conversation about if she ran her course that much more difficult to "accurately" discuss. With the move to Motown, nobody cared anymore. Had that first project "back home" been something that played to her Queen of Motown status, people may have been more interested. But she had released so much crap, that even the marginally good stuff she put out on Motown Part II was ignored.

    I figure there's a good chance that no matter what, the early 90s would have saw Diana failing to score a hit single. But had she hooked up with top notch producers [[like a Face/Reid), her albums could have continued to be nice to big sellers. The youth were still buying tons of singles. Adults were still buying albums. But Diana's strength was never being able to see the forest for the trees, unfortunately.

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    Eaten Alive is definitely in the MJ or the Jackson style. an huge amount of lyrics, often muffled vocals, some syncopation to the melody. many of his big heats have more "atmosphere" and style than vocal or lyrical substance. certainly isn't a dig on MJ - he carved out a masterful sound and style for himself

    but that doesn't necessarily transfer to another artist

    Diana had always been an artist with a heavy focus on lyric and melody. she is masterful at conveying the emotional fiber of a song. she doesn't typically incorporate huge vocal gymnastics. again, not her style

    so EA is an attempt to try a new style. and perhaps its just too much off track for DR. maybe had they pulled in a few things it would have worked better. maybe just incorporate a few MJ styles or points

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    minus the title cut, eaten alive is a good album. solid vocals and one producer.. if i could remix it i would lower the bee gees vocals or use other back ground singers. except Chain Reaction, great track

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