40 Years of Diana Ross’ “Diana.”

Released: May 22, 1980

Genre: Pop, soul & R&B

Label: Motown

Producer: Nile Rodgers and Bernard Rodgers

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By 1980, Diana Ross wanted a more modern sound after the success of her 1979 album “The Boss.” & Diana was truly a boss. 36 years old at the time of its release, Diana was a living legend. Starting off her music career as a member of the most successful girl group of all time (The Supremes,) Diana reigned supreme for almost two decades. From her tenure with the supremes, her solo career and acting career, she came with the HEAT.

Hearing Nile Rodgers’ work with the group Chic in Studio 54, she approached Rodgers (one of the founders of Chic) about working with her on an album with material that stated how she felt about her life and career at that point.

The songs that the pair (Rodgers and other Chic founder Bernard Edwards) came up with were from direct conversations with Diana, and initially she was not pleased with the album’s results. The reason why was due to the fact that Disco was dying at this moment in time. The anti-disco backlash and an influential New York City DJ said releasing the album in its original state would ruin her career. That sent her running in tears asking why are they trying to ruin her career.

Diana remixed the entire album, re-recorded her lead vocals so that they were front and center. Rodgers and Edwards weren’t notified of the mixing, nor did they approve it. They considered removing their names from the album’s list of credits after being presented with the official version of diana.

Nevertheless. Diana was released May 22nd, 1980. The album is the biggest-selling studio album of Diana’s career, selling over 10 million copies worldwide. Diana peaked in the top 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, certified platinum in the U.S., and charted 3 successful international singles.

Diana is a visual of artistic freedom and representation of blackness, the LGBTQ+ community, equality and challenging ideas such as friendship and freedom. This is one of her most personal albums, in my opinion. Rodgers and Edwards made Diana feel like a person..and made sure her input was noticed in each and every song.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Diana Ross’ “diana.

All songs were written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers.

Side A

Upside Down

We love a nice bop! Our good sis kicked off the album with this disco influenced number. Described by Nile as “Diana wanting to turn her career upside down,” Upside Down is a feel good record that sets the mood every single time!

It was sampled by MC Lyte for the bad boy remix to “Cold Rock a Party” and 702’s “Round and Round” and interpolated by Xscape for their “I Will” record.

Tenderness

A disco record about being gentle with your love, Tenderness is the best!

Friend to Friend

Friend to Friend is one of Diana’s best ballads. I love the original untouched version by Nile & Bernard so much better. It was sampled by Lupe Fiasco for his Sunshine”

I’m Coming Out

The song that was supposed to allegedly end Diana’s career. One of the most defining songs of the 80s. Inspired after Rodgers and Edwards saw three drag queens dressed like Diana at the bar and felt compelled to write the song for Diana’s large gay following.

The term “I’m Coming Out” is often used by the LGBT+ community when they are embracing who they are, and many people thought Diana was either coming out of the closet herself..or that the song will eventually be the end of her career, speaking that the world was not LGBT friendly at the time. It became a huge hit internationally and is one of her signature songs.

The song is also well-known for being sampled in The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1997 record “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems” and Ariana Grande’s “Break Your Heart Right Back.”

Side B

Have Fun (Again)

A song about Diana wanting to have fun and enjoy herself is a feel good record.

My Old Piano

One of Diana’s best songs here! Rodgers and Edwards outdid themselves with this masterpiece! Everything about this song is just purely magical.

Now That You’re Gone

The production on this song alone is flawless. The silky smooth vocals truly makes this song pop out as one of the album’s highlights!

Give Up

You knew the album closer was lit as well when it kicked off with a funky beat!

40 years later, diana is still being treasured and appreciated by newer generations as well. Ms. Ross will always be the boss. Let that BE clear! -MJ

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