To Love Again (1981)

“And there ain’t no use in holding on, when nothing stays the same…”

After scoring two of the biggest hits of her career — “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out” — and propelling her sound to a completely new place with the dynamic diana album, Diana Ross slowed things down considerably and took a step back to the past with her next album, To Love Again.  The LP is essentially a Michael Masser songbook, featuring four new songs on Side A and five classic love ballads written and produced by Masser on Side B, including the #1’s “Touch Me In The Morning” and “Theme From Mahogany.”  Therefore, like 1978’s Ross, it’s sort of a studio album/compilation hybrid, this time bound together with Masser as the common theme.

The album came after the success of “It’s My Turn,” a beautiful ballad of empowerment written by Masser and recorded by Ross as the theme song to the film of the same name.  The song was a big hit, reaching the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in late 1980, following closely on the heels of “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out.”  Diana herself has often cited the ballad as one that’s very close to her, having written in her memoirs, Secrets Of A Sparrow:  “Michael…was a very difficult man to work with, maybe because he knew how fabulous he was, but he could surely write songs that were relevant.  ‘It’s My Turn’ became very important to me” (202).  It’s interesting that Diana pointed out in her book that she had trouble working with Michael Masser — perhaps that’s the reason half of this album is made up of older songs. For his part, Masser is quoted in the liner notes of the CD re-release of To Love Again as saying, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have known and worked with Diana.”

The entire To Love Again album holds great significance in terms of Diana’s discography because it contains her last batch of new recordings for a Motown album before leaving for RCA (unlike Diana’s Duets and All The Great Hits, which were both also released by Motown in 1981 and were outright compilation albums).  After the enormous success of the diana album, the “It’s My Turn” single, and of course the monster-mega-insanely successfully “Endless Love” duet with Lionel Richie, Diana accepted a $20 million offer to leave her first and only record label; her debut album for RCA, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, would be released in late 1981.  Because Miss Ross was so vocal about her reason for leaving Motown — she wanted more creative control over her career — “It’s My Turn” certainly feels like it could have been a personal anthem for her at the time.  It also gives an interesting subtext to the rest of the new songs — which all have to do with the challenges of leaving one situation for another.

The problem with placing new songs and established hits on a single album is, of course, that the new songs have to compete against those that are already proven winners.  Every single one of the final five songs – especially “Touch Me In The Morning,” “Theme From Mahogany,” and “To Love Again” — are strong, standout Diana Ross tracks.  “It’s My Turn” easily stands among them; unfortunately, the other three new recordings aren’t even close.  The very best Diana Ross ballad performances are built upon a foundation of simplicity; they’re not overproduced, and they allow Diana’s voice to take the lead.  As much as Michael Masser clearly understood that, “Stay With Me” and “One More Chance” in particular are a sea of swirling production elements, and Diana’s vocals are pushed so far at times that they cease to even be pretty.  Therefore, To Love Again is an uneven and not always satisfying listen, although it’s fitting that an album released less than a year before Diana’s “new start” at RCA features some of the greatest highlights from her career thus far.

 ***

1.  It’s My Turn:  This song still stands as one of the greatest ballads Diana Ross would ever record; it was a deserved Top 10 hit, and it’s a crime that Diana didn’t receive a Pop Female Vocal Grammy nomination for it.  The vocal performance here is simple and powerful; there are no background voices to distract from Diana, and she stays comfortably within her range while still displaying impressive lung power as she belts out the familiar refrain.  Michael Masser’s lyrics here are some of his most memorable; though lines like “I can’t cover up my feelings in the name of love…” and “…if living for myself is what I’m guilty of, go on and sentence me, I’ll still be free…” are admittedly schmaltzy, the song is instantly relatable to anyone who’s ever made the decision to go out on his or her own and try something new.  Diana’s reading of the lyric is never overdone; she sounds wise and tempers the sometimes overly-optimistic theme with just a hint of sadness which adds complexity and depth to the entire work.  Diana’s emotional crooning of the words “…it’s my turn” at 1:50 into the song and then again at the end is some of her best singing since The Wiz soundtrack back in 1978; she’s certainly feeling this song as she’d been feeling those songs back then.  “It’s My Turn” remains a fresh, satisfying listen, and still sounds like it could be a hit today.

2.  Stay With Me:  In a strange way, this song could be considered a kind of “answer” song to “It’s My Turn” – in the previous track, Diana had been declaring her independence in a relationship, and in this one she’s begging for the opposite to happen, as though taking on the other party’s point of view.  The song starts out promisingly enough; Diana’s vocal is tender and quiet, and there’s a nice vulnerability that as she sings “…I know there’s a whole new world you found, and it’s to that world you’re bound.”  However, at about 1:10 in there’s a bit of a tempo shift, as the beat kicks up and the background vocals kick in alongside Miss Ross.  This section is actually quite similar to the section of “Touch Me In The Morning,” when Diana sings, “Well, I can say goodbye in the cold morning light…”  However, while the  tempo had been steadily building in that previous #1 hit, the shift feels more jarring here (listen to the Roberta Flack version of “Stay With Me” recorded around the same time, without the tempo shift — the song feels much more cohesive).  The backgrounds also hurt the song a bit for the duration of the track; Diana’s voice becomes a little lost in the wash of female voices, especially at 1:52, when Diana reaches way up into the top of her register to sing “Won’t you stay with me?”  Hearing her sing such high notes should be a powerful, key moment in the song, but her voice quickly fades into the background as the other voices take over, which robs the moment of the emotional payoff — not to mention the fact that her voice doesn’t sound that strong to begin with.  There are some nice moments here; I like the key change at 2:50, a case in which Diana’s voice does sound full and powerful and really does rise above the rest of the production, but on the whole this song just isn’t the classic you’d hope for out of two such talented artists.

3.  One More Chance:  This is an interesting early 80s ballad from Diana Ross; it was released as a single, though it failed to do much airplay or sales-wise.  This may be the closest thing to a “power ballad” she had ever recorded at Motown, with the song building to an eye-popping climax in which Diana Ross growls in a way she never had on record before.  Seriously — if you’ve never heard this song before — immediately listen to the final 40 seconds; Diana Ross sounds almost raging-angry in her repeated delivery of the words “one more chance.”  Though there’s no doubt that, as J. Randy Taraborrelli writes in Diana Ross: A Biography, Diana’s voice is “pushed to the limit” here, it’s unfortunately not that pleasant of a listen.  Diana Ross had proven on The Wiz and The Boss that she could soulfully and gut-renchingly belt out a song, and performances from those albums (for example, “Home” and “I Ain’t Been Licked”) feature an appealing rawness to her voice.  Here, the near-screaming on both her lead and background vocals sounds way too forced; again, she sounds more angry than impassioned, as though she was ready to get the heck out of the recording booth and go home…and maybe that was the case.

4.  Cryin’ My Heart Out For You:  Aside from “It’s My Turn,” this is probably the best new recording on To Love Again; it’s not nearly as strong as the first track or the five on Side B, but it’s a nicely written tune by Masser, and the production doesn’t drown out the lead vocal here.  Diana sounds confident and comfortable with the lyric; though this is a heartbreak tune, she’s not as vulnerable as she’d been at the beginning of “Stay With Me.”  Diana’s performance instead sounds honest and simple for the most part, and certainly not overdone like her work on “One More Chance.”  Still, this track does give her a chance to show some range and emote quite a bit toward the end, as her voices soars into her upper register (especially as she sings “What can I do?” at 3:15).  This song was released as a single, though it didn’t even chart in the United States (although soon after it’s release, Diana would be back on top of the charts in a big way — with the theme from “Endless Love,” a duet with Lionel Richie.)

5.  Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To):  From Diana Ross (1976)  Read My Album Review Here

6.  I Thought It Took A Little Time (But Today I Fell In Love):  From Diana Ross (1976)  Read My Album Review Here

7.  To Love Again:  From Ross (1978)  Read My Album Review Here

8.  No One’s Gonna Be A Fool Forever:  From Last Time I Saw Him (1973)  Read My Album Review Here

9.  Touch Me In The Morning:  From Touch Me In The Morning (1973)  Read My Album Review Here

Note: For information on bonus tracks from this album, click HERE.

***

In the end, To Love Again feels a bit thin, especially coming after The Boss and diana, both strong, cohesive albums filled with great original songs.  Because the best songs here — “It’s My Turn” and those on Side B — are all available on other Diana Ross compilations, this album isn’t necessarily an essential in the Diana discography.  To Love Again was re-issued on CD in 2003 with an expanded tracklist, and was far more successful creatively — it contains the superior Masser production “After You” (which was inexplicably left off the original 1981 lineup) and other non-Masser love ballads from the mid-to-late 70s, most of which are better (i.e. not overproduced) than the 1981 recordings included here.  As mentioned before, later in ’81 Diana would score with the ultimate love ballad, “Endless Love” — a single that proves once again how important simplicity is to a successful Diana Ross recording.  I’m sure a lot of fans have a strong attachment to the original To Love Again; surely a lot of the lyrics here are very relevant and there are those who love Diana Ross singing a ballad, no matter what it is.  Still, I think Diana Ross and Michael Masser had set the bar so phenomenally high with their best work that they just couldn’t match it with all of these 1981 recordings.

Final Analysis (The “New” Songs):  3/5  (“It’s My Turn” Soars; The Rest Need More “Heart”)

Choice Cuts:  “It’s My Turn,” “Cryin’ My Heart Out For You”

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About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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55 Responses to To Love Again (1981)

  1. Antje says:

    Somewhere on the internet you can find the vocal track only of “It’s my turn” – stunning!
    Thank you, Paul, for making so many people’s Sunday.

    • Paul says:

      Wow…I’ve never heard this — I’m going to look for it now!

      • Tony says:

        It is stunning – I have heard it. You hear every breath and subtle note! Lovely!

      • markus says:

        here you are, Paul:

        another great review! Although I do love all that growling at the end of “One More Chance”…as we would say, she is “sangin HARD!”. LOL

        When I play that and “Fool For Your Love” from Silk Electric for people the reaction is usually “THAT’S Diana Ross???”

      • Paul says:

        I’ve gotten that reaction too…especially to “Fool For Your Love”…no matter what you might think of that song, gotta give her props for going there with such confidence!!

  2. Antje says:

    And let me take the chance to say a BIG thank you to Dick Ketler, who linked his wonderful “Dick’s Diana Ross Website” to yours. Both of you are doing a tremendous job!

  3. wayne2710 says:

    I have always loved this album, and of the ‘new’ songs believed One More Chance to be up there with the best of her work.
    I never really understood the cd expanded edition that added songs and productions that weren’t by Michael Masser, it took something away from it.

    • Paul says:

      Wayne — it’s funny — I used to love “One More Chance,” but over the years have liked it less and less. There’s just something that sounds really forced to me now, even though I think it’s a vocal by Diana that’s extremely unique and needs to be heard!

      As far as the added tracks on the CD…it totally ruins the “Michael Masser” theme and changes the entire idea, but I like that it includes some very nice performances (such as the Lionel Richie and Marvin Gaye duets). I also like it includes “After You” — which I wish had been on the original album!

    • ejluther says:

      I’m with Wayne – “One More Chance” stands up there her best material. Would I want her to sing every song with that kind of gutteral force and angry passion? No, but she turns it out here and delivers a wonderful performance both vocally and emotionally…I love the way she “acts” a song and think she does it beautifully here (as well as the title track “To Love Again”)…

      I also think it’s worth mentioning that the TO LOVE AGAIN album was essentially planned, compiled and released after Diana made her decision to leave Motown. If I remember it all correctly, she had very little to do with its release and probably didn’t want it to come out seeing as it wasn’t even a “real” album and oversaturating the market ran the risk of slowing the momentum of her RCA debut. In fact, there was yet another “new” Diana Ross record called REVELATIONS that Motown/Berry planned to release soon after TO LOVE AGAIN. A collection of unreleased tracks with little if no cohesion, the LP was apparently cancelled after Diana had this exchange with SOUL magazine about the planned project:

      “when “Soul” magazine posed the question to Diana that an unreleased Motown LP was in the works she said “I dont believe that..Berry would never stand in the way of my career..I know he loves me …He cant stop loving me overnight”..apparently Berry highlighted these comments in an internal Motown memo about the planned release and the project was aborted..”

      more on the REVELATIONS project here:
      http://soulfuldetroit.com/archive/index.php/t-5401.html

      Speaking of the RCA years, I’m very much looking forward to the discussion about the next several records – what an eclectic mix! Again, thanks for doing this project – it’s really great to revisit all these albums through your perspective and to hear others weigh in on them. Plus, it’s just kind of staggering to reflect and consider the sheer size of her catalog – she’s nothing if not prolific!

      Any chance once this is done you’ll go back in time and spotlight her albums with The Supremes? I would LOVE to see that happen…

      • Paul says:

        Hey! That’s a great point — I’m sure Diana didn’t have much, if anything, to do with this one since she was in transition between labels at the time.

        I’m definitely considering doing the Supremes next — I’m dying for the chance to write about the “Funny Girl” album, on which I think Diana does some of her finest singing — not to mention great works like the “Love Child” albums and all those great singles!!

  4. Tony says:

    One of my greatest Diana ballads is “Its; My Turn.” For me, the album needed this song on it to even make the album listenable! Second, To Love Again, is magic to me, a master piece for sure. The other new songs all begin with a promising introduction – but all fail me by the time the song ends. I started out liking “On More Chance” as well, but it actually grates on me. WHy? Well the new ballads on the album – sound like Diana “acting Like Diana Ross.” They sound unauthentic- LIke she is imitating her self! I do enjoy “Cryin My Heart Out for You”- but – for some reason – still leaves me a tad empty. Having said that– with a take away – like “Its My Turn” – all is fine !

    • Paul says:

      What a perfect way to say it — Diana acting like Diana Ross. Michael Masser has a quote somewhere that says something about Diana “being wrapped up in being Diana Ross” — that’s maybe what he was alluding to.

      • Tony says:

        Wow ! I thought i was the only one who thought Diana’s singing on the Funny Girl album- was amazing! ( Not to digress- but – I played that album to death) And for the record – I found it in a Used Record store – I was way too young to have been around back then!! I do believe the Funny Girl Album is extremely rare!

      • Paul says:

        I can’t wait for the day when it’s re-mastered and re-released. I discovered it when “The Music That Makes Me Dance” was included on the Love Song compilation a few years ago — I had never heard Diana belt the way she does at the end of that song while a members of the Supremes — her vocals on the album are absolutely superb…her best of the 60s, I think. Someone should have put her in a Broadway show back then!!

      • Antje says:

        She sometimes referred to herself in the third person, or made remarks of what was expected of her “being Diana Ross”. From the film set “Out of darkness” somebody recalled, she would appear all natural. Then, after the shooting was done, she disappeared into the bathroom with the words “I have to go back to being Diana Ross” …Of course, I do understand all this, it is part of show business to keep an image. But when singing? Or is it just another piece of the puzzle to explain why she left Motown? She said in an interview, she did what she was told at Motown. So maybe she even started playing a role when recording then, because she was so fed up with being bossed around?

      • Paul says:

        Interesting thoughts…maybe that’s it…she was “playing” herself…biding her time until she was in a new situation…

  5. spookyelectric says:

    I think the point about many listeners at the time thinking of this as a mainly ‘new’ album is a valid one – of course ‘Mahogany’ and ‘Touch Me’ were huge hits, but only more diehard fans would have known the rest of the tracks, especially the stunning title tune. The ‘diana’ album had introduced her to a whole new generation, so I think this was a pretty clever move on Motown’s part. It certainly feels more cohesive than some other compilations of her work.

    It’s interesting to hear the perspective on the new songs, I especially like the comment about ‘Diana imitating Diana’. I get that totally – it’s something I think all artists with a career as long as she’s had can sometimes be accused of – this is probably the first time that criticism was as consistently appropriate I think. (Although I personally get a kick out of the excess of ‘One More Chance’, especially those gutsy ad-libs on the fade). It’s also worth considering the time this was recorded as well – Michael Masser was writing/producing this kind of material for the likes of Billy Preston & Syreeta and Crystal Gayle around this time with a very similar ‘overproduced’ sound.

    Never was a big fan of ‘Stay With Me’ until I heard the Teddy Pendergrass version a few years later – he really nails the song. I only recently discovered it was originally recorded by Billy Davis on the late 70s ‘Marilyn & Billy’ album – another great version. Masser must have written the song with a male voice in mind – it takes on a slightly different meaning – more vulnerable than submissive maybe.

    Diana fans might also be interested to know that record also contains a couple of other Masser tunes – a loungey soul version of ‘I Thought It Took A Little Time’ by the pair (nice, but Diana’s version trumps it for drama and emotion) and also ‘Saving All My Love For You’ – which of course years later kickstarted a run of million selling Whitney/Masser collaborations. Wonder how Diana felt about that? Did she ever speak publicly on it?

    • Paul says:

      I’ve wondered, too, if Diana ever looked back and wished she’d worked more with Masser once he started having all those hits with Whitney. “Greatest Love Of All” is the kind of uplifting message song Diana Ross loves…seems it would have been a natural for her to tackle at some point. Of course, she did return to Masser’s compositions with “In Your Arms” in 1982, which Whitney also recorded (as “Hold Me” with Teddy Pendergrass). But. of course, more on that song to come… (MUCH more…I can’t stand it!!)

      • BabyLuv says:

        It’s funny that the 2 of you mention this because I have also wondered what were Diana’s early thoughts about those Whitney/Michael collaborations. “Greatest Love of All” is especially one song that I could hear Diana rendering. It makes me think whether Diana could’ve sustained commercial success in the US for a little while longer had she continued to reach out to him and recorded those songs.

      • Paul says:

        I wonder, too, if she would’ve had hits with those songs…or perhaps the public was just ready for a fresh new face. Whitney experienced the same thing in her career; there came a point when radio just didn’t want to play her anymore and newer singers took over. In Diana’s case, it’s a shame, as she was still making some really good music long after her albums/singles stopped being hits.

      • spookyelectric says:

        Of course, I forgot about that song. How appropriate that the last Masser song Diana recorded then got picked up for Whitney – like a passing of the diva ballad baton!

      • Paul says:

        I know, right? It’s funny that Whitney would deny all comparisons to Diana Ross way back in the day, saying she didn’t “need her” as an inspiration. It sure seems now that the people mapping out her early career were looking directly at Diana Ross for inspiration!!

      • BabyLuv says:

        I was shocked and actually a bit disappointed when I saw that clip of Whitney Houston denying Diana as an influence. Yes, her mother & cousin Dionne Warwick may have been stronger influences but I felt like she could’ve gave Diana more respect than that. It’s like she was offended at the implication.SMH. But clearly she put the pettiness aside & years later dedicated whole tribute segment in honor of Diana at one of her concerts that’s up on Youtube.

      • Paul says:

        I agree — there was a weird attitude in the way she said she didn’t need Diana Ross, and it certainly made it seem as though being compared to Diana was an insult. I’m glad that as years went on that attitude seemed to soften up; their careers were similar and overlapped in many weird ways…from working with Masser to starring in (or almost starring in) “The Bodyguard”…to working with Brandy on a TV movie!

  6. Tony says:

    I recall that interview. Sad, on many levels. Sad that Whitney didn’t see the warrior who paved her road(DIANA). Sad , that once again Diana was not shown the respect she deserved and earned. Sad, that Whitney seemed so petulant and rude when she had a chance to be graceful and poised. Whitney – did come to see that a career of Diana’s magnitude is to be respected, and honoured and is most certainly responsible for the career of many who followed. Whitney was just not properly groomed, and advised about her history. Diana respects her past , those who paved the way for her….. and deep down so did Whitney.

    Here is my prelude to the RCA years.

    Whitney changed the taste of the American listening audience. Diana did just that in the 60’s and 70″s. However, Whitney’s voice became the the new standard. Diana sounded a little more “white” when the audience wanted it . Whitney sounded a little more rich and gospel. Tastes had changed…. and so did the intensity of the desire for that crystal clear , clean, crisp voice know as Diana Ross!!!!! The world wrapped their arms around a new sound , a new tone…an new voice…Whitney.

    No matter how good the Diana song was , no matter how well it is sung, how ground breaking or innovative the music was….. the world wanted the “Whitney” sound.

    The RCA years……..to be discussed……NEXT.

    • Antje says:

      Summed up perfectly, Tony!

      • Antje says:

        Let me add this little story: Last year a voting on a – very much acknowledged – German-French TV-channel took place to crown the “The Queen of Pop”. Out of 50 proposals, Diana surprisingly made it into the top 10, together with Aretha, Beyonce, Donna Summer (!) and the expected (Madonna, Britney Spears and so on) – no Whitney, no Tina. Specials dedicated to the top 10 were broadcasted, including interviews with people like Nile Rodgers on their opinion/experiences. They also interviewed a professor from Princeton ( I think she is the one to come up with a book about the role of black female singers in musical history). She admitted that – though her body language clearly told she was obviously disliking Diana – she does not need to sing around a note like so many others, because she hits it perfectly while carrying along all the emotions.

    • Paul says:

      Tony — I totally agree that Diana’s output from 1985-onward really could have been the best work of her career and her sales still would’ve slipped. Popular arists, unfortuantely, have a “shelf life”…and there comes a time when people move on to the next big thing.

  7. BabyLuv says:

    Anyway, speaking of “It’s My Turn”…that song created one of my favorite Ross TV moments when she went into a spur of the moment rendition on Oprah. It’s so obvious this is one of those songs in her repertoire that will always be meaningful beyond words. You really feel the emotion come through, even as she sings it 20 years later.

    • Paul says:

      I LOVE that moment, too!!! One of Diana’s most amazing television moments, to be sure. She sounded amazing on those first few lines…the emotion was so thick…it was a moment that proved that hadn’t lost a bit of her ability over the years.

      • BabyLuv says:

        It’s only a couple weeks ago that I discovered that Aretha Franklin recorded a cover of the song.

    • Tony says:

      I fell in love with her all over again! That voice just moves me like no other!!! And sometimes we need to take things down off the shelf- to enjoy them again — and again. Actually that is what this Project does. It takes Diana Ross off the shelf and forces us us enjoy her and her voice again —- THANKS PAUL!

    • Tony says:

      I fell in love with her all over again when I saw this scene. That voice just moves me like no other!!! And sometimes we need to take things down off the shelf- to enjoy them again — and again. Actually that is what this Project does. It takes Diana Ross off the shelf and forces us us enjoy her and her voice again —- THANKS PAUL!

      • spookyelectric says:

        Good to see BabyLuv posting Aretha’s take on ‘It’s My Turn’. Heaven forbid dissing the Queen of Soul but this is a really good example of what Diana brings to a melody and lyric – Diana really sells the sentiment, Ree kind of bulldozes it. Of course Aretha’s version is thrilling and exciting, but Diana’s ends up far more moving and honest.

        Also on a ‘It’s My Turn’ tip – some readers might remember Diana’s recording (along with loads of other Ross classics) being used in a lovely little short film from the mid-90s called ‘Trevor’. About a teenager coming to terms with his sexuality – it won an Oscar for best Short Film and inspired a great charity ‘The Trevor Project’ that supports kids. Well worth hunting out.

      • Paul says:

        I have never seen “Trevor” and I’ve always wanted too — I’m afraid I’ll sit there bawling through the whole thing…it may hit pretty close to home!!

      • Paul says:

        Tony — I am loving listening to her again, too…especially in chronological order. I am gaining a new appreciation for the risks she took over the years, especially in the 80s. Can’t wait to start discussing works like “Silk Electric” and “Eaten Alive” — I know we’ll all have differing opinions about her choices!

  8. spookyelectric says:

    Paul – do try to watch ‘Trevor’ if you can get hold of a copy. It may have dated a bit (it came out in 1994) but it really has something special about it – it’s funny and moving and really ahead of its time. It’s the first time I remember every seeing a rounded attempt a portraying a young gay kid on screen (this was over a decade before the likes of Ugly Betty and Glee). And of course, it has all those great Diana tunes in it. I interviewed Diana Ross a few years back and asked her about it and not only was I surprised she had seen the film and loved it, she told me all about The Trevor Project too.

  9. oscar zepeda says:

    I happen to love this album and I am glad the expanded edition included all the songs it did. “One More Chance” also being one of my favorite songs.

  10. chris meklis says:

    To Love Again: I always thought of as a classic Diana Ross ‘showpiece/ career summation’..
    When I eventually got that album on tape, I did not have any of the 70’s studio albums and so I listened to it as a studio piece which enticed me to the 70’s sounding Ross without the at that time, hard to digest strange tracks like Brown Baby and Save The Children, even Surrender, Young Mothers and Love Hangover… I found hard to digest as a “Diana rookie” (all of 11 years old in 1985)…I could not piece together sounds and concepts of her Anthology…

    So, with 2 RCA’s (Swept Away and Eaten Alive), a Betamax of Central Park and Caesars Palace 1979, I dove into To Love Again and it had a charm about it for me that finally bridged me to the 70’s Diana Ross.

    It’s My Turn needs no explanation- that stellar performance of perfect balance of emotion, vocal prowess, female assertion and lyric and mood interpretation represents what Diana the balladeer, Diana the self- assertive independent woman, and Diana the talented vocalist/performer is all about.
    And because of singular performances like this, where nobody can sing songs like this and pull them off (same with the Supremes hits), Diana has the right to ‘act’ like Diana Ross…lol 🙂

    I liked Stay With Me and Crying My Heart Out at the time, they were cute, melodious and satisfying, now I cannot handle Crying My Heart anymore…it’s too slick, and I rather prefer her gutsy growling of “One more” “One More Chance” in that song than I do the “Once again, I’m losing myself….over YOU!!!! I’m crying my heart out for you, What can I DOOO! I’m losing myself over you, OVA and OVER AGAAIN”….the former seems more authentic and expressive of the pain of losing a love.
    One More Chance has over the years become a firm favourite power ballad for me…

    To Love again and I Thought It Took A Little Time fast became my best soft ballads and I always have a soft spot for No One’s Gonna Be A Fool…probably because I knew and liked this song years before I ever had the whole Last Time I Saw Him album in my hands!

    Touch Me In The Morning, well no need to go into that- of course it’s a classic, a masterpiece creation for our lady!
    If I had been an older fan familiar with her 70’s albums- my take on this collection would have been far different I think

    Chris xx

    You are a stat mr. Paul…I and all the others are clearly getting right back into our albums and I love hearing opinions about them…Diana Ross has such a collection, “eclectic” is understating it!

  11. Michael Coleman says:

    Great review, but I couldn’t disagree more about “One More Chance”. After “Be A Lion” and “It’s My Turn”, it may be be favorite Diana ballad vocal.

  12. Michael Coleman says:

    Great review, but I couldn’t disagree more about “One More Chance”. After “Be A Lion” and “It’s My Turn”, it may be my favorite Diana ballad vocal.

    • Paul says:

      Thanks, Michael! I know a lot of people love “One More Chance” — and I agree that it’s a powerful performance — it just feels too forced for my liking!

  13. Mike says:

    Why has no writer that I know of ever commented on Michael Masser’s cribbing of some of his own Stay With Me lyrics for a Crystal Gayle song c. 1986? I’m writing this from memory, but this was one of her crossover songs, a medium-level hit, and both the melody and the accompanying line “I never thought that I would meet someone so beautiful” crop up several times within the song–instantly identifiable for those who know Stay With Me.

  14. Mike says:

    The song was A Long and Lasting Love, 1985, cowritten w Gerry Goffin. Chorus of it and Stay With Me have identical melody and identical first two lines. Second two lines differ.

  15. Piotrek says:

    On “To Love Again” (expanded edition) there’s a remastered version of “I Thought It Took A Little Time (but today I Fell in Love)”-probably the best thing that Diana Ross has ever recorded. I played it to my girlfriend and said that this must be our “first dance” during soon-to-come wedding. Perfect song.

  16. V16TROLA says:

    I listened to One More Chance last night on full blast. The power of the music and vocals in the last half of the song just blew me away. Agreed that it is completely overblown but I love the completely OTT-ness of it. Whilst I don’t come back to it that regularly, I still love it. 🙂

  17. Pingback: In Memory Of: Michael Masser (1941-2015) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

  18. Pingback: Record Store Wednesdays: “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” Cassette | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

  19. David Wilson says:

    I love Diana Ross. I’m a massive fan but I also retain the ability to be objective about her work. This album was a massive disappointment following the 1980 DIANA album produced by CHIC Organisation which captured the zeitgeist. Instead this was a real backward step containing a few sub par “new” schmaltzy ballads with some excruciating vocals and a few of her greatest hits. The impression was that these “new” hadn’t quite made it onto previous album projects for obvious reasons. Diana doesn’t have much depth to her voice and sounds even thinner here. I’ve never understood why Gordy allowed producers to push her voice beyond her limited range until it becomes painful to listen to and so off key (the final part of Touch Me In the Morning makes me wince every time I hear it) It only hi lights her shortcomings. This album was a blatant cash in by Motown as Diana was heading off to pastures new- if only she’d realised that the grass definitely wasn’t greener on the RCA side and that she was pressing the self destruct button on her career. Apart from It’s My Turn” the other singles didn’t chart well in the UK because they were 2nd rate dated bland MOR fayre. The move to RCA, Dreamgirls, The Motown 25 Special all contributed significantly to Diana’s downfall. Mary’s memoirs sealed her fate. This album was a warning sign of things to come- the 80’s Diana Ross’s “Lost Decade”. She should have dominated the 80s charts instead her career hit an all-time low. She did manage a few good hits (Missing You No10 US, Chain Reaction No1 in UK) but certainly not the consistency or quality we had come to expect. She was no longer the first choice for producers and songwriters to work with. Nor was she high on the list of those that other stars wished to collaborate with. A duets album or American Songbook style standards collection would’ve been awesome (I’ve Got A Crush on You with Rod Stewart gives a glimpse of what might have been). Such a shame.

    • Paul says:

      David — Of course I agree that the 80s were a wildly uneven period for Diana’s career — but I don’t think I’m as harsh when assessing the output. Every artist has a “shelf life,” sadly, and I’m not sure Diana would have continued to top the pop charts, even if she’d stayed with Motown. Ross has repeatedly stated that she felt the need to express her own creativity and exert control over the career — and that’s what RCA afforded her the opportunity to do (especially on the first 2 RCA albums). Although I’m not crazy about either of those two works, I understand that Diana was finally at a point in her career when she felt she could experiment, and I can appreciate that. Later in the decade, she would seemingly start to struggle with getting a “hit” again — and I think that’s when her discography became bland and uninspired (i.e. EATEN ALIVE, RED HOT). Thankfully, she really bounced back with FORCE and TAKE ME HIGHER, albums that balance her need for creativity with good, polished material. Thanks for reading along!!

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