Category: Diana Ross

twixnmix: 1970s Ebony Magazine Covers

twixnmix:

1970s Ebony Magazine Covers

twixnmix: Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross photograp…

twixnmix:

Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross photographed by Jim Britt, 1973.

On this day in music history: June 19, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: June 19, 1970 – “Diana Ross”, the debut album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit, MI and A&R Studios in New York City from September 1969 – March 1970. The former Supremes lead singer begins work on her solo debut before leaving the group officially in January 1970. Motown, wanting to market her as the “black Barbra Streisand” initially have Ross record with producer Bones Howe. The material they record ends up being shelved and Ashford & Simpson along with Motown staff songwriter/producer Johnny Bristol are  given the assignment of crafting the Motown superstars’ debut. The album spins off two singles including “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” (#7 R&B, #20 Pop) and a dramatic reworking of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (#1 R&B and Pop), first recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967. It is the albums breakout hit and establishes Ross as a solo star in her own right. The LP’s distinctive and iconic cover photo, taken by fashion photographer Harry Langdon, features a sepia toned picture of Ross wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and cut off shorts, holding an apple. The photo is taken with a special optical lens, distorting her features. After taking a series of high glamour shots the same day, the casual picture is chosen instead to stand in sharp contrast to the Motown superstars elegant, high fashion image. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2002, featuring eight bonus tracks, including four previously unreleased tracks from the aborted Bones Howe produced sessions and tracks produced by Johnny Bristol. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP on Universal’s “Back To Black” series, and by Speakers Corner Records in 2009. “Diana Ross” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200.

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twixnmix: Polaroids by Andy Warhol Bianca Jagg…

twixnmix:

Polaroids by Andy Warhol

Bianca Jagger (1971)

Valentino Garavani (1973)

Tina Turner (1974)

Pele (1977)

Liza

Minnelli (1978)

Diana Ross (1981)

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)

Grace Jones (1984)

Joan Collins (1985)

Keith Haring (1986)

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – &…

On this day in music history: May 23, 1979 – “The Boss”, the tenth studio album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is recorded at Sigma Sound Studios and Celebration Studio in New York City from January – March 1979. By the beginning of 1979, Motown superstar Diana Ross finds herself at another career crossroads. With the critical and box office performance of the big screen adaptation of “The Wiz” which Ross had starred in, as well as the mediocre sales of her two previous albums “Baby It’s Me” and “Ross”, she is in need of a career boost. Diana reunites with her old friends Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who had written and produced her first and third solo albums. The husband and wife duo who by this time have firmly established themselves as successful artists in their own right, pull out all the stops to craft a hit album for Ross. Writing and producing a full album of first rate material, Ashford & Simpson cut the tracks (with Val leading on piano) with many of the same musicians that have played on their recent albums including Anthony Jackson (bass),  Michael Brecker (saxophone), Ray Chew (keyboards), John Sussewell (drums), Eric Gale (guitar), Francisco Centeno (bass), Errol “Crusher” Bennett, Sammy Figueroa (percussion), Maxine Waters, Julia Waters and Stephanie Spruill (background vocals). Featuring a mixture of up and mid tempo R&B/Disco flavored cuts and sultry slow grooves, it is a perfect musical fit for the Motown diva. The title track “The Boss” (#12 R&B, #19 Pop, #1 Club Play, #41 AC) is an across the board hit for Diana Ross, placing her solidly back on the charts. It is followed by “It’s My House” (#27 R&B) and “No One Gets The Prize”. The album cut “I Ain’t Been Licked” also enjoys substantial club play and becomes another favorite among fans. “The Boss” becomes Ross’ best seller since her 1976 self-titled release, and is promoted further by an appearance on the HBO series “Standing Room Only” in June of 1979. Originally released on CD in 1988, it is remastered and reissued in 1999 with two bonus tracks, including the original 12" Disco Mix of the title track and a promo only extended 12" version “No One Gets The Prize”, both remixed by Jimmy Simpson. It is also reissued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan, with another by Culture Factory Records in 2013, packaged in a mini-LP sleeve and containing the same track listing as the 1999 CD release. Out of print on vinyl for over three decades, it is also reissued by Culture Factory Records in 2017, pressed on translucent red vinyl. “The Boss” peaks at number ten on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 22, 1980 – “…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1980 – “diana”, the eleventh studio album by Diana Ross is released. Produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, it is recorded at The Power Station, Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Motown/Hitsville USA Studios in Hollywood, CA from November 1979 – April 1980. Motown superstar Diana Ross approaches Edwards and Rodgers about producing her, after her children take her to see Chic at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Never having worked with a major artist before, the producers agree to do the project. Sessions are arduous, as they clash with the singer over their working methods. The situation comes to a head during one vocal session, when Edwards tells Ross she’s singing flat. She storms out of the studio, and goes the south of France for several weeks. After the sessions resume, she expresses her unhappiness with the way the album is initially mixed. The producers make some slight alterations and then tell her that if she still isn’t happy, she can remix them herself. With veteran Motown mix engineer Russ Terrana, Ross remixes the entire album, which creates more friction between both sides. So much so, that Edwards and Rodgers nearly ask to have their names removed from the credits. Fortunately cooler heads prevail, and producers credit remains intact, though they insist that Ross and Terrana be credited for the remixes. In spite of all of the behind the scenes drama, the album is ecstatically received by the public, becoming the Motown superstar’s most successful release ever. Fans and critics are further taken aback by the striking black and white cover photo, taken by legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo (Seventeen, Cosmopolitan). Instead of the normally high glamour look Ross is known for, she is shown on the front cover with her natural length hair, wet and swept back, wearing a white top and blue jeans (borrowed from model Gia Carangi). The albums stark cover photo is contrasted, with a casual, glossy inner gatefold photo taken by famed photographer Douglas Kirkland (Look, Life Magazine). It spins off the hits “Upside Down” (#1 Pop & R&B), I’m Coming Out" (#5 Pop, #6 R&B), and a third in the UK (“My Old Piano” #5 UK). It is remastered and reissued in 2003 as a two CD Deluxe Edition with the original “Chic Mix” being released for the first time. The second disc features rare and unreleased remixes of several Diana Ross dance floor classics. The CD booklet also features annotation by former Record World and Billboard dance music columnist Brian Chin. In April of 2017, the “Chic Mix” is issued as a double vinyl LP set, pressed on translucent pink vinyl. “diana” spends eight weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 15, 1976 – &…

On this day in music history: May 15, 1976 – “Love Hangover” by Diana Ross hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on May 29, 1976. Written by Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod, it is the second R&B and fourth pop chart topper for the Motown superstar. With the departure of The Jackson 5 from Motown after the release of their album “Moving Violation”, producer Hal Davis is left without his top act after working together for five years. During this time he hears the original demo of “Love Hangover” in a Motown colleague’s office. Instantly excited about the songs hit potential, he cuts it right away. Recorded at Paramount Studios in Hollywood in mid 1975, it features musicians such as Joe Sample (keyboards), James Gadson (drums), and Henry Davis (of the band L.T.D.) (bass) playing on the track. Davis also comes up with the idea for the songs signature dual tempos, which the musicians are initially resistant to, but he convinces them otherwise. Shortly after, Davis plays the completed track for Berry Gordy who hears it as a smash for Diana Ross. Though initially, Ross doesn’t care for it, but agrees to record it at Gordy’s urging. Upon arriving at the studio, Davis pours her a drink and they get to work. The producer has recording engineer Russ Terrana install a strobe light in the vocal booth to add some ambiance, helping to put Ross in the proper frame of mind. The end results of which are heard on the finished record. “Love Hangover” is rush released as a single in March of 1976 when a competing version by The 5th Dimension is released on ABC Records just before it. Both versions enter the chart the same week on April 3, 1976, with The 5th Dimension’s version stalling at #80 on the Hot 100 the week of April 24, 1976, while Ross’ version soars to the top of the chart three weeks later. Ross’ version of “Love Hangover” also receives a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female in 1977. It is also prominently featured in the film and on the soundtrack of “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” in 1977. The song is also remixed twice, first in 1988 by Phil Harding of PWL (Pete Waterman Limited), and again in 1993 by Frankie Knuckles and Joey Negro for a remix album titled “Diana Extended: The Remixes”. “Love Hangover” has also sampled numerous times by many artists including Digital Underground on a remix version of their single “Freaks Of The Industry”, Will Smith (“Freakin’ It”), Craig Mack (“Rap Hangover”), Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (“Ready 4 War”), 2Pac & Snoop Dogg (“If There’s A Cure (I Don’t Want It”), and Junior M.A.F.I.A. (“We Don’t Need It”). R&B singer Monica’s hit “The First Night” also samples the Diana Ross classic, taking it to the top of the Club Play, R&B and pop singles charts in 1998.

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twixnmix: Diana Ross, Sammy Davis Jr and M…

twixnmix:

Diana Ross, Sammy Davis Jr

and Michael Jackson on The Hollywood Palace on October 18, 1969.

This was the Jackson 5′s first national television appearance.

twixnmix: The Supremes outside EMI headqu…

twixnmix:

The Supremes outside EMI

headquarters at 20 Manchester Square in London, October 1964.