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  1. #1

    Why didn't this great performance produce a US hit?

    Yes - Motown promo in the 80s [[even the 70s) was bad, but...


  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    Yes - Motown promo in the 80s [[even the 70s) was bad, but...
    I don't know why Diana Ross' "Chain Reaction" wasn't a bigger hit in the USA. However, we can't blame it on Motown's Promotion since she was recording for RCA Records at that time.

  3. #3
    This performance did lead to renewed interest in the record. On its first release in fall '85, it came and went quickly, peaking at #95. But after this show, it was re-released and hit #66, I believe.

  4. #4
    i know i'm in the minority on this but i just never felt this song was that spectacular. it's not a bad song but it's not magical either.

    in 1985 Diana was 41 years old and that is ANCIENT in the realm of pop. while the very early 80s were a hugely successful time for Diana, by mid 80s that was definitely fading.
    yes she went Top 10 with Missing You but that record took a LOT of effort to get moving. She was still very much so trying to re-establish herself as a big pop star on the charts and here's she's trying to push a retro song? i think it was totally the wrong move. the general record buying public already thought she was old so doing an oldies [[even an updated one) was a bad idea

    and also there were just much better tunes that were that "oldies" vibe - Walking on Sunshine, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. these are just better tunes and clearly registered with the US audience more. Even if CR was equally as great of a tune as these, it wasn't the right thing for Diana.

  5. #5
    I think if CHAIN REACTION was released as the first US single [instead of EATEN ALIVE], the project might have done better. I was surprised that it could only manage a #95 placing its first go-round.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i know i'm in the minority on this but i just never felt this song was that spectacular. it's not a bad song but it's not magical either.

    in 1985 Diana was 41 years old and that is ANCIENT in the realm of pop. while the very early 80s were a hugely successful time for Diana, by mid 80s that was definitely fading.
    yes she went Top 10 with Missing You but that record took a LOT of effort to get moving. She was still very much so trying to re-establish herself as a big pop star on the charts and here's she's trying to push a retro song? i think it was totally the wrong move. the general record buying public already thought she was old so doing an oldies [[even an updated one) was a bad idea

    and also there were just much better tunes that were that "oldies" vibe - Walking on Sunshine, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. these are just better tunes and clearly registered with the US audience more. Even if CR was equally as great of a tune as these, it wasn't the right thing for Diana.
    I beg to differ about Diana's age. Dionne, Gladys, Aretha, The Pointer Sisters were all having hits and resurgence in the 80s. I don't think it had much to do with her age. Up to 1990s, older artists were still able to chart. Nowadays its unheard of but in the 80s many of Diana's contemporaries were still enjoying success.

    I never found "Chain Reaction" to be the call back to the Supremes days so many think it is. I don't think it sounds anything like Motown. It's a decent song but I never found it to be deserving of the top 10 hit status. The real issue I believe was the material and Diana herself.

  7. #7
    It's always amazed me how this song flopped in the US whereas, in the UK, it was a MASSIVE hit. It is still popular here to this day across the generations and in my opinion rightly so. The accompanying video is also full of fun and dynamism. I think the song has a fun aspect to it too.

    Perhaps it was a timing of release issue in the US? It would surprise me if it was an age thing in the US but perhaps attitudes there are different to the UK.

    I feel that CR has elements of Supremes' mid-60s work. To me, it has overtones of Back In My Arms Again.

    Takes me back dancing to CR when younger LOL.

  8. #8
    In retrospect it’s apparent how deserving this tune was to do better.But at the time no one could’ve realized/appreciated that this would turnOut to be the best single Diana would put out the remainder of her career [arguably post Motown for that matter] .
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-13-2024 at 11:40 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    I beg to differ about Diana's age. Dionne, Gladys, Aretha, The Pointer Sisters were all having hits and resurgence in the 80s. I don't think it had much to do with her age. Up to 1990s, older artists were still able to chart. Nowadays its unheard of but in the 80s many of Diana's contemporaries were still enjoying success.

    I never found "Chain Reaction" to be the call back to the Supremes days so many think it is. I don't think it sounds anything like Motown. It's a decent song but I never found it to be deserving of the top 10 hit status. The real issue I believe was the material and Diana herself.
    it's not that someone older can't make a hit, it's that agism most certainly exists and it's much much harder to get that hit, in the US at least. those older group/singers all had big hits but not necessarily lengthy pop hit runs. the Pointer Sisters had a great resurgence in 1984 with Jump, I'm so Excited, Neutron Dance. but had had minimal hits in 82, 83, 85, 86, etc. Aretha also had hot and cold periods. Freeway of Love was big and the massive duet with George Michael [[who was also super popular at the time). but then years of nothing.

    now i absolutely agree that quality of material and quality of releases was a big problem with diana too. she helped trash her own recording reputation by releasing mediocre stuff. the whole EA set is frankly a nightmare.

  10. #10
    Or that this would be the last good one from the bee gees as well.
    we’d gotten spoilt…. And snooty.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-13-2024 at 11:48 AM.

  11. #11
    Age and the oldies sound were issues

    Diana’s contemporaries were not coming off the highs she had hit and most of them had another hit or two and they were then relegated to the oldies heap as well. And all the Motown groups were long gone

  12. #12
    I think Reese may have a point, that as the lead single, "Chain" might have a different story. On the other hand, I think Sup also has a point, that the song isn't "US good enough", if that makes any sense. I still think the song is a very good song. I like it a lot. But I agree with Sup that it doesn't stack up next to the other throwback sounds of the period. I don't think the background vocals compliment Diana at all. She either should have done them or a more soulful assembly of backing vocalists should have been employed.

    This is an excellent example of how Diana was not fit to control the music side of her career. When the original release failed here even though it was so successful around the world, a re-release makes sense. But re-releasing it as is was a mistake. The song should have been completely remixed. IMO it lacks a punch that may have allowed it to catch on.

    Ageism in music, particularly here in the states, is a real thing, but when you're as big as Diana was, I don't think we can bring age into the discussion when she hit big with the Swept Away project but then failed with EA. In a business that often reduces artists to being only as good as their last album, EA was a huge misstep. And with the bungled idea of RHRAB, it basically ended up being a wrap.

    I do believe there was a world where Diana's return to Motown could have produced a successful album, if not huge hit singles, but that too was bungled.

  13. #13
    Yes, this was an RCA release. Motown had nothing to do with it. It was produced by Barry Gibb who was superb with Barbra Streisand a number of years earlier.
    Chain Reaction is a good song, one of the better ones during her RCA years. It did have a throwback sound but it did not have the quality to really take off. It did sound a bit muddy and muted in parts. It was catchy, but I think maybe no further than #40 in the US. The main thing was Michael with her for Eaten Alive and that was also disappointing. I am not sure if Chain Reaction had been released first would have mattered for chart success. It was good, but was missing a certain something. Maybe, had the Gibb connection been exploited more...
    In the UK, they have a different taste than the mass US audience. I always liked I'm Still Waiting but knew that would never hit big in the US. Chain Reaction may have hit the UK better since there were groups and songs evoking that time period in the UK.
    I don't think it is ageism, Streisand, Aretha,Patti and so many others were doing fine at the time.
    I think Suzanne DePasse's theory on the 70's Supremes may have been true of Diana here-she was simply "sequined out".

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jim aka jtigre99 View Post
    Yes, this was an RCA release. Motown had nothing to do with it. It was produced by Barry Gibb who was superb with Barbra Streisand a number of years earlier.
    Chain Reaction is a good song, one of the better ones during her RCA years. It did have a throwback sound but it did not have the quality to really take off. It did sound a bit muddy and muted in parts. It was catchy, but I think maybe no further than #40 in the US. The main thing was Michael with her for Eaten Alive and that was also disappointing. I am not sure if Chain Reaction had been released first would have mattered for chart success. It was good, but was missing a certain something. Maybe, had the Gibb connection been exploited more...
    In the UK, they have a different taste than the mass US audience. I always liked I'm Still Waiting but knew that would never hit big in the US. Chain Reaction may have hit the UK better since there were groups and songs evoking that time period in the UK.
    I don't think it is ageism, Streisand, Aretha,Patti and so many others were doing fine at the time.
    I think Suzanne DePasse's theory on the 70's Supremes may have been true of Diana here-she was simply "sequined out".
    good points but i think by 85 having anything that said "Gibbs" on it was poison. there was SUCH a visceral reaction in the US at the time to anything related to disco. never mind that disco had never gone away, just evolved into house and other formats. but the general public looked with disdain at anything associated with disco and the Bee Gees were the paramount disco group. so IMO the project was doomed in the US regardless of the music quality.

    and of course i've loudly stated on here lol that i think EA might even be a worse album than WO! lol regardless of the comparison, there are just so many problems with the album that it was never going to work.

  15. #15
    i thought some fans said the whole EA project was so last minute. that Diana reached out to Barry, needing something immediate. and that might have contributed to the less than stellar song selection. i wonder what the problem was? I'm assuming her RCA contract required her to deliver an album a year and she was behind. was this when the supposed Harold Arlen material was recorded but then canned? hence her lack of having an album ready?

    or wonder if she was trying to coordinate with another producer

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i thought some fans said the whole EA project was so last minute. that Diana reached out to Barry, needing something immediate. and that might have contributed to the less than stellar song selection. i wonder what the problem was? I'm assuming her RCA contract required her to deliver an album a year and she was behind. was this when the supposed Harold Arlen material was recorded but then canned? hence her lack of having an album ready?

    or wonder if she was trying to coordinate with another producer
    I vaguely remember a thread about this. I think Diana had started recording an album with another producer. But for whatever reason, that project fell through and she turned to Gibb to fulfill her obligation to RCA.

    The Arlen project was recorded in 1986. One of its arrangers, Joseph Joubert, talked about how doing some arrangements for it led to him to working with Diana again on RED HOT...
    Last edited by reese; 06-13-2024 at 03:22 PM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I vaguely remember a thread about this. I think Diana had started recording an album with another producer. But for whatever reason, that project fell through and she turned to Gibb to fulfill her obligation to RCA.

    The Arlen project was recorded in 1986. One of its arrangers, Joseph Joubert, talked about how doing some arrangements for it led to him to working with Diana again on RED HOT...
    interesting - so maybe the whole idea of RHRAB came about after the cancellation of the Arlen project. which then begs the question of what she might have done for a tv special? if one at all. had the Arlen album been released, would she have done a special around it? a special but with a totally different concept and not related?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    interesting - so maybe the whole idea of RHRAB came about after the cancellation of the Arlen project. which then begs the question of what she might have done for a tv special? if one at all. had the Arlen album been released, would she have done a special around it? a special but with a totally different concept and not related?
    Joubert said he did an arrangement for OVER THE RAINBOW. He also revealed that Diana had recorded ITS ONLY A PAPER MOON and COME RAIN OR COME SHINE, amongst other songs. He had no idea why the project was left in the can.

    I can only speculate that since EATEN ALIVE didn't perform as well as expected in the US, maybe they wanted to get her recording career back on track before doing a standards album. Or maybe Diana didn't want to be seen as a copycat since this would have been not long after Streisand's THE BROADWAY ALBUM.

  19. #19
    I don't know if I totally buy that EA was last minute. You don't get Michael Jackson last minute. Seems like that takes a bit of work, even for Diana Ross.

    It's just totally mindboggling that Gibb is the direction she decided to go in. She's hearing Whitney- who was young, but making mature music that everyone could get into- and who was working with one of Diana's previous producers; Aretha who was hitting big with an up to date popular sound; Patti, who was doing the same; Madonna, who was working with Niles and making some killer music...and the Gibbs is where she turned to? Diana was always said to be competitive. Where was that competitive spirit at this point? All the girls, young and "old", were dusting her and she was just doing whatever. It's so disappointing because as a fan of 80s music, my 80s playlists should be chocked full of Diana Ross. It is not.

  20. #20
    Ronnie Spector and Dusty Springfield each had a huge hit in the 80's; enough to rejuvenate their careers. Cher had 4 Top 10 hits in the 80's. Then you also have two words: TINA TURNER. So women over 40 were killing it.

    Diana's product sucked. "Work that Body"? Olivia been there did that a year earlier with "Physical". "Pieces of Ice" barely scraped the Top 40, and was the only "hit" from ROSS. She rebounded with "Swept Away" and "Missing You", but then stunk up the airwaves with "Eaten Alive". How can you miss with Diana and MJ?

    Personally? I LOVE ""Chain Reaction". Easily in my Top 10 of Diana's career. But she needed to reinvent herself, like Ronnie, Dusty, Cher, and Tina. The big ballgowns and bigger hair, which has since become her signature, were just NOT what was hip and chic in the 80's.

    We talk about how the Supremes failed to progress in the 70's with the same look, the same tunes; Diana may be in a different boat, but definitely the same lake.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I don't know if I totally buy that EA was last minute. You don't get Michael Jackson last minute. Seems like that takes a bit of work, even for Diana Ross.

    It's just totally mindboggling that Gibb is the direction she decided to go in. She's hearing Whitney- who was young, but making mature music that everyone could get into- and who was working with one of Diana's previous producers; Aretha who was hitting big with an up to date popular sound; Patti, who was doing the same; Madonna, who was working with Niles and making some killer music...and the Gibbs is where she turned to? Diana was always said to be competitive. Where was that competitive spirit at this point? All the girls, young and "old", were dusting her and she was just doing whatever. It's so disappointing because as a fan of 80s music, my 80s playlists should be chocked full of Diana Ross. It is not.
    I might over emphasized "last minute." I think Bluebrock had been the one to say it was a bit of a rushed project. That she had to quickly reach out to Barry and also that Barry and the guys didn't have tons of time to tinker with stuff and all.

    it would be interesting to learn how the mess of the title track came to be. at first i thought it was fully written and produced by MJ but MJ was just part of the team. it's just a chaotic song and so unlike anything on the album. maybe it's a situation where they were looking over the other EA tracks and none of them really popping out as a "mega hit" so they worked on the title track. but then too much tinkering and work maybe just caused it to go over the cliff.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Ronnie Spector and Dusty Springfield each had a huge hit in the 80's; enough to rejuvenate their careers. Cher had 4 Top 10 hits in the 80's. Then you also have two words: TINA TURNER. So women over 40 were killing it.

    Diana's product sucked. "Work that Body"? Olivia been there did that a year earlier with "Physical". "Pieces of Ice" barely scraped the Top 40, and was the only "hit" from ROSS. She rebounded with "Swept Away" and "Missing You", but then stunk up the airwaves with "Eaten Alive". How can you miss with Diana and MJ?

    Personally? I LOVE ""Chain Reaction". Easily in my Top 10 of Diana's career. But she needed to reinvent herself, like Ronnie, Dusty, Cher, and Tina. The big ballgowns and bigger hair, which has since become her signature, were just NOT what was hip and chic in the 80's.

    We talk about how the Supremes failed to progress in the 70's with the same look, the same tunes; Diana may be in a different boat, but definitely the same lake.
    Diana released the WDFFIL album in Sept 81 and Olivia released Physical [[the single) also in Sept 81 and the accompanying album came out in Oct 81. so Diana really wasn't copying Olivia with this "workout trend." now that being said, Olivia's tune is timeless and Diana's is a mess. lol

    What makes Olivia's such a great song is the lyric itself has NOTHING to do with aerobics or working out. it is all about sex. it's the video that makes that coy allusion.

    Diana's is the opposite basically. it's about working out with a touch of coyness [[supposedly). the instrumental track is pretty hot. and even the title is sexy. but the idiotic lyric is terrible. if Diana had approached it with the same as Olivia, it could have been a massive hit. talking about sex and steaminess and "working that body"

  23. #23
    After the disco backlash in 79 and 80, the Bee Gees sound really faded. They could still produce a hit in the early 80s that leaned toward the AC sound and audience, but by mid 80s they were has beens and something of an undeserved joke in the US.

    From mid 80s onward Diana Ross seemed a step or two behind in terms of choosing producers to work with as she often picked those who had past their pop commercial peak, whether it was with the Gibbs for Eaten Alive, Rodgers and Edwards for Workin' Overtime, who try to get in on the New Jack Swing style, or working with Narada Michael Walden who had just passed his pop commercial peak [[though he could still produce some R and B Adult hits in mid 90s) for Take Me Higher.

    Narada Michael Walden would have been the right producer to work with if she was aiming for a big pop hit in the mid 80s as he was hot with How Will I Know by Whitney, Freeway of Love and Who's Zoomin' Who by Aretha, and We Don't Have to take Our Clothes off to have a Good time by Jermaine Stewart. But a Ross/Walden teaming didn't happen until 1995, an eternity in pop music.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    I might over emphasized "last minute." I think Bluebrock had been the one to say it was a bit of a rushed project. That she had to quickly reach out to Barry and also that Barry and the guys didn't have tons of time to tinker with stuff and all.

    it would be interesting to learn how the mess of the title track came to be. at first i thought it was fully written and produced by MJ but MJ was just part of the team. it's just a chaotic song and so unlike anything on the album. maybe it's a situation where they were looking over the other EA tracks and none of them really popping out as a "mega hit" so they worked on the title track. but then too much tinkering and work maybe just caused it to go over the cliff.
    I think they were banking on "Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, what could go wrong?" Well the lyrics for starters. Lyrically I get what Gibb-Jackson-Gibb were probably trying to do, they just didn't do it well. I think ultimately that killed the song because nobody could really figure out what the heck was going on. The track is fine, though. But to me if you're going to pair Diana and MJ together, something like "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" makes the most sense. Both of them had a wonderful way with a ballad. Why team them up- even if MJ is just heavy on the chorus and not a traditional duet- if you aren't going to really reach for the stars?

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post

    What makes Olivia's such a great song is the lyric itself has NOTHING to do with aerobics or working out. it is all about sex. it's the video that makes that coy allusion.

    Diana's is the opposite basically. it's about working out with a touch of coyness [[supposedly). the instrumental track is pretty hot. and even the title is sexy. but the idiotic lyric is terrible. if Diana had approached it with the same as Olivia, it could have been a massive hit. talking about sex and steaminess and "working that body"
    Yup. The track is hot. Diana sounds great. The backing vocals are great. The lyrics are...nobody wanted to hear Diana trying to get people to exercise. Now I will admit, I often find myself singing the "Reach, Stretch, Push" lines and "Every morning when we wake, to make up for that piece of cake we ate last night" as I go about my day, because it is catchy. But the whole doggone song is about actual exercise. With better clever, double entendre lyrics, I do believe Diana could have had a major hit record on her hands.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post

    From mid 80s onward Diana Ross seemed a step or two behind in terms of choosing producers to work with as she often picked those who had past their pop commercial peak,
    I've said this many times. I don't understand why she would do that. If they weren't worth producing a project when they were hot, what the heck made them worth it when they were not? Maybe money was an issue. I'm guessing hot producers can charge more when they are hitting big and heavy in demand than when they aren't.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I think they were banking on "Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, what could go wrong?" Well the lyrics for starters. Lyrically I get what Gibb-Jackson-Gibb were probably trying to do, they just didn't do it well. I think ultimately that killed the song because nobody could really figure out what the heck was going on. The track is fine, though. But to me if you're going to pair Diana and MJ together, something like "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" makes the most sense. Both of them had a wonderful way with a ballad. Why team them up- even if MJ is just heavy on the chorus and not a traditional duet- if you aren't going to really reach for the stars?
    completely agree. the lyrics are a mess and due to the poor production, totally indecipherable. I'm guessing another MJ component of the song was the machine-gun, rapid fire approach to the lyrics. That was a trait of many MJ songs, to my knowledge it wasn't so much an approach of the Bee Gees but could be wrong. But it most certainly wasn't typical of Diana Ross. My thoughts are that songs with that approach to lyrics are less about the lyrical content and more about the aesthetic. it's not bad or wrong, just a different genre. however DR has ALWAYS been about the lyric, the meaning of it, the power of the words. so it just was never going to work for her

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Yup. The track is hot. Diana sounds great. The backing vocals are great. The lyrics are...nobody wanted to hear Diana trying to get people to exercise. Now I will admit, I often find myself singing the "Reach, Stretch, Push" lines and "Every morning when we wake, to make up for that piece of cake we ate last night" as I go about my day, because it is catchy. But the whole doggone song is about actual exercise. With better clever, double entendre lyrics, I do believe Diana could have had a major hit record on her hands.
    exactly!! I have no idea who wrote Physical for Olivia and if they were influenced to use that word for the title due to the crazy mania for Jane Fonda fitness tapes and all. or if it was just a happy coincidence. maybe they thought "hey let's play with this and make it steam hot" whereas, like you said, Diana literally wrote about exercise lol.

    had it been the double entendre piece, the whole WDFFIL set could have been so much better and different. as it is, Mirror Mirror and Sweet Surrender are excellent pieces and if WTB had been solid, you have a totally new and fresh style for Diana to anchor the album. of course ditch the HIDEOUS solo version of Endless Love.

    Think I'm In Love is a very solid ballad. Two Can Make It is rather weak, not bad but meh.

    I don't know the timing of all of the recordings. Supposedly the Silk Electric tracks were leftovers? except maybe Muslces. so maybe you really could merge the two into 1 excellent debut album

    Mirror
    Sweet Surrender
    WTB revised
    Think I'm in Love
    Turn me over - lol i always thought it was hysterical at the time. this was decades before those hidden tracks on cds lol
    Who
    Still in love
    anywhere you run to
    In your arms - but produced by Michael Masser

    I like I Am Me so I could get along with dropping that in there. and Sweet Nothings is campy fun.

    I do like Muscles but I'd save that for Album #2 and have MJ produce the whole thing and include a duet with he and Diana. if that had been her sophomore album for RCA after a mostly self-produced debut album like listed above, that would have been excellent.

  29. #29
    I never found "Chain Reaction" to be the call back to the Supremes days so many think it is. I don't think it sounds anything like Motown. It's a decent song but I never found it to be deserving of the top 10 hit status. The real issue I believe was the material and Diana herself.

    Yes it was Brad, the Eaten Alive lp was the nail in Diana's coffin at RCA. I interviewed a guy who went on to become a DJ and worked at RCA as an intern for one of the execs there. I begged him to be interviewed for the E TRUE HOLLYWOOD I did on Ross some years ago but he wouldn't. I guess he feared retribution.

    In any event he was at the meeting that Ross attended to launch the lp. She had recently remarried and was adamant that she was not going to travel extensively to promote this album and was banging her fist on the table cursing these execs saying THEY were going to make this album a hit. She was unhappy with her drop in sales, even though Swept Away did well. After bellowing and swearing she left the meeting in a huff and the CEO whose name I don't recall quietly picked up the phone, called the director of promotions and pulled the budget on Ross and assigned it to Hall and Oates.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    I never found "Chain Reaction" to be the call back to the Supremes days so many think it is. I don't think it sounds anything like Motown. It's a decent song but I never found it to be deserving of the top 10 hit status. The real issue I believe was the material and Diana herself.

    Yes it was Brad, the Eaten Alive lp was the nail in Diana's coffin at RCA. I interviewed a guy who went on to become a DJ and worked at RCA as an intern for one of the execs there. I begged him to be interviewed for the E TRUE HOLLYWOOD I did on Ross some years ago but he wouldn't. I guess he feared retribution.

    In any event he was at the meeting that Ross attended to launch the lp. She had recently remarried and was adamant that she was not going to travel extensively to promote this album and was banging her fist on the table cursing these execs saying THEY were going to make this album a hit. She was unhappy with her drop in sales, even though Swept Away did well. After bellowing and swearing she left the meeting in a huff and the CEO whose name I don't recall quietly picked up the phone, called the director of promotions and pulled the budget on Ross and assigned it to Hall and Oates.
    and i think the CEO at this time was NOT the CEO that signed her back in 81. the newer RCA leadership was not a fan of the previous regime spending huge sums to land megastar names and then never recouping the investment. the new CEO was perfectly fine with pushing younger, cheaper and more popular acts and artists

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i thought some fans said the whole EA project was so last minute. that Diana reached out to Barry, needing something immediate. and that might have contributed to the less than stellar song selection. i wonder what the problem was? I'm assuming her RCA contract required her to deliver an album a year and she was behind. was this when the supposed Harold Arlen material was recorded but then canned? hence her lack of having an album ready?

    or wonder if she was trying to coordinate with another producer
    Well I guess everyone has their taste and opinions. But I love the Eaten Alive album! Ití surely is in my top 5 albums of Diana Ross. To me the songs are beautiful. The title song is the only one that is just ok. I wore this album out when it was first released. Itís a masterpiece for me.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i know i'm in the minority on this but i just never felt this song was that spectacular. it's not a bad song but it's not magical either.

    in 1985 Diana was 41 years old and that is ANCIENT in the realm of pop. while the very early 80s were a hugely successful time for Diana, by mid 80s that was definitely fading.
    yes she went Top 10 with Missing You but that record took a LOT of effort to get moving. She was still very much so trying to re-establish herself as a big pop star on the charts and here's she's trying to push a retro song? i think it was totally the wrong move. the general record buying public already thought she was old so doing an oldies [[even an updated one) was a bad idea

    and also there were just much better tunes that were that "oldies" vibe - Walking on Sunshine, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. these are just better tunes and clearly registered with the US audience more. Even if CR was equally as great of a tune as these, it wasn't the right thing for Diana.
    I LOVE this song and this perforamce Ancient for a woman in the record biz but still cool for a man. The ageism and sexism in show business is disgusting. And the Rolling Stones are still considered so cool at 80. Tina Turner did everything Mick Jagger did and much more but in HEELS.

  33. #33
    I, too, love Diana's "Chain Reaction". It was super-Motown-ish with its shuffle beat and overall sound harking back to the '60s and The Supremes. I remember eating lunch up in the breakroom at work one day where somebody had left the TV channel tuned to the Video music channel. Diana's "Eaten Alive" came on which I was seeing for the first time. All I could think was, "WTF"? Just then, a woman eating her lunch commented to her friend, "God, that's awful!" I was so embarrassed and disappointed for Diana. But the two ladies were right. "Eaten Alive" truly was awful. I remember thinking, "Of all the good songs they could have released as a single like "Chain Reaction" [[which I love) or "Experience", they picked one of the worst songs that Diana ever recorded.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    I, too, love Diana's "Chain Reaction". It was super-Motown-ish with its shuffle beat and overall sound harking back to the '60s and The Supremes. I remember eating lunch up in the breakroom at work one day where somebody had left the TV channel tuned to the Video music channel. Diana's "Eaten Alive" came on which I was seeing for the first time. All I could think was, "WTF"? Just then, a woman eating her lunch commented to her friend, "God, that's awful!" I was so embarrassed and disappointed for Diana. But the two ladies were right. "Eaten Alive" truly was awful. I remember thinking, "Of all the good songs they could have released as a single like "Chain Reaction" [[which I love) or "Experience", they picked one of the worst songs that Diana ever recorded.
    IMO, Diana has recorded songs a lot worse songs than “Eaten Alive”. Change the silly lyrics and it’s actually quite a catchy song.
    I agree in that Chain Reaction” was just perfect for Diana, while “Experience” for me is pleasant, if underwhelming. She needed a much stronger number to follow “CH” then that.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    IMO, Diana has recorded songs a lot worse songs than “Eaten Alive”. Change the silly lyrics and it’s actually quite a catchy song.
    I agree in that Chain Reaction” was just perfect for Diana, while “Experience” for me is pleasant, if underwhelming. She needed a much stronger number to follow “CH” then that.
    i'm not even totally hating the lyric of EA. yeah it's a bit weird but if you actually read or hear the lyric, it's not terrible. IMO it was the insane production. You can hardly hear a word Diana is singing. so not only are the lyrics weird and not something you might intuitively guess, but they're indecipherable. this plus the overly loud/overpowering Gibb and Jackson voices in the background make it a total mess

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i'm not even totally hating the lyric of EA. yeah it's a bit weird but if you actually read or hear the lyric, it's not terrible. IMO it was the insane production. You can hardly hear a word Diana is singing. so not only are the lyrics weird and not something you might intuitively guess, but they're indecipherable. this plus the overly loud/overpowering Gibb and Jackson voices in the background make it a total mess
    I totally disagree about the lyrics.
    Lying on a bed of leaves in a modern time
    You forget and let your spirit breathe.
    Not lyrics one can generally relate to. Given relatable lyrics, with Diana’s voice less unfettered might have seen a huge upturn in the songs fortunes.

  37. #37
    I liked the song but I think this came out after the M25 disaster....she was kinda on think ice...with the USA audience...but. The reissue started to take off in early 86 but as it climbed ,it was pulled.
    Diana disappeared soon after and wasn't seen for two years.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    ...

    Yes it was Brad, the Eaten Alive lp was the nail in Diana's coffin at RCA. I interviewed a guy who went on to become a DJ and worked at RCA as an intern for one of the execs there. I begged him to be interviewed for the E TRUE HOLLYWOOD I did on Ross some years ago but he wouldn't. I guess he feared retribution.

    In any event he was at the meeting that Ross attended to launch the lp. She had recently remarried and was adamant that she was not going to travel extensively to promote this album and was banging her fist on the table cursing these execs saying THEY were going to make this album a hit. She was unhappy with her drop in sales, even though Swept Away did well. After bellowing and swearing she left the meeting in a huff and the CEO whose name I don't recall quietly picked up the phone, called the director of promotions and pulled the budget on Ross and assigned it to Hall and Oates.
    Interesting, but something doesn't seem right. "Eaten Alive" was released in September 1985. Hall & Oates last RCA album "Big Bam Boom" was released October 1984, a whole year earlier.

  39. #39
    I have heard that Diana left RCA not on good terms....they were over her.
    But in her defense...kinda...Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers and Pointer Sisters all signed with RCA, and soon they all left as quick as they could.
    Manilow stated, everyone I signed on with was gone. All these young execs and the didn't care about us older artists.

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