Swept Away (1984)

“The rise and fall is endless…”

Although 1983 brought Diana Ross unprecedented publicity thanks to her appearance in the blockbuster television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever and her pair of Central Park concerts, the star’s singing career slipped a bit, something that must have worried both Diana and her record label, RCA.  Rossproduced in part by Gary Katz and Ray Parker, Jr., was her strongest set yet for RCA, but it went virtually unnoticed by the general public, giving Ross only one Top 40 hit with the atmospheric dance cut “Pieces Of Ice.”  When the album’s following two singles failed to click, Diana turned attention to her next album, clearly determined to assemble a collection that couldn’t miss.  To do this, Executive Producer Ross enlisted a Who’s Who of popular music figures to write and produce for her, including former duet partner Lionel Richie (1981’s “Endless Love”), former producer Bernard Edwards (1980’s diana), and RCA golden boy Darryl Hall, who’d been scoring hit after hit with his musical partner John Oates for several years (including 1982’s “Maneater,” a love letter to the iconic Supremes sound).

The album’s first release, however, came attached to an unlikely name.  “Iglesias Faces Hard Choice” read a headline in the June 10, 1982 issue of music industry trade magazine Billboard, with an accompanying article documenting the search for a perfect duet partner to help break Latin crooner Julio Iglesias in the United States.  According to the article, the “hard choice” faced by the singer was whether to record with Barbra Streisand or Diana Ross, noting, “It’s felt that a collaboration with either artist would aid Iglesias’ penetration of the U.S. market, where he is still relatively unknown.”  It would take a full two years after the appearance of this article, but a duet would indeed break Julio Iglesias in the states — and that duet partner was Willie Nelson.  The male duo’s “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was featured on Julio’s first English-language LP, 1100 Bel Air Place; that album’s second single was another duet, this time with Miss Diana Ross.  Produced by Richard Perry, “All Of You” gave Iglesias a second straight hit, and became Diana’s first Top 20 single since 1982’s “Muscles.”

Because “All Of You” was released by Columbia Records, the label to which Julio Iglesias was signed, RCA didn’t wait long to jump in with its own single; the month after “All Of You” peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100, Diana’s own “Swept Away” did the same thing.  Written by Daryl Hall and Sara Allen, “Swept Away” was a dark, driving track that gave Miss Ross her first #1 dance hit in four years; the song was also a major R&B success, peaking at #3.  With two Top 20 pop hits, Diana’s fourth RCA album, eventually titled Swept Away, was already a solid success and certified gold when something amazing happened; third single “Missing You,” written by Lionel Richie and dedicated to recently deceased Marvin Gaye, was released in late 1984 and slowly began to gain momentum.  After the music video for the song was played during the American Music Awards on January 28, 1985, the song exploded at radio, becoming one of the singer’s biggest hits ever; it topped the R&B chart for three weeks, besting her previous single and becoming her first #1 on the chart since 1981’s “Endless Love,” coincidentally also written by (and performed with) Richie.

“Missing You” is the undoubted highlight of the set, and remains a career-best performance by Diana Ross; that said, Swept Away is an undeniably uneven album, especially when compared to the sonically cohesive Ross.  The hits are all extremely strong, and there are some very solid album tracks that probably could have been hits, too; unfortunately, the misses here are big misses.  Tracks like “We Are The Children Of The World” and “Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do” are two of the most unlistenable songs Diana would ever release; others, like “Rescue Me” and “Forever Young” are oddly disengaging.  In this way, Swept Away is the 80s equivalent of 1976’s Diana Ross; that earlier album contained two of Diana’s biggest hits (the #1’s “Theme From Mahogany” and “Love Hangover”), but also featured “Smile” and “Kiss Me Now” among other very weak efforts.  Though the really great material on both albums helps elevate the works as a whole, it doesn’t quite balance out the really poor songs, either, making both albums interesting but at times challenging listening experiences.

***

Billboard: December 1, 1984

1.  Missing You:  Swept Away opens with what would become one of Diana’s biggest hits of the decade; released as the album’s third single in November, “Missing You” made a slow climb to the top of the R&B charts, finally reaching #1 for a three-week stay on February 23, 1985 and remaining on the chart for an astounding 24 weeks total.  On the pop side, “Missing You” was already fading on the Billboard Hot 100 (after peaking at just #46) when it was featured on the American Music Awards in late January; it regained momentum and eventually peaked at #10 in April, giving the singer her 12th solo Top 10 pop hit.  The genesis of “Missing You” came soon after the death of Marvin Gaye in April of 1984; Diana is quoted in The Billboard Book Of Number One R&B Hits as saying, “It actually came out of a conversation that Smokey Robinson and I had one evening about how we were missing Marvin…and what he meant to us, as well as to music.  Then Lionel and I got to talking about how we need to tell people that we love them while they’re still alive.  Lionel used all this to write that beautiful and special song” (340-341).  Certainly Lionel Richie knew a thing or two about Diana’s gifts in singing ballads, given that he’d teamed up with her on the massive hit “Endless Love” in 1981; this song takes the best aspects of that previous hit, a touching simplicity and relatable, meaningful lyric, and adds to it an emotional depth and power that highlight the best qualities of Diana’s voice.  Richie’s career, it should be noted, had exploded at the time he wrote and produced “Missing You,” thanks to his monster LP Can’t Slow Down and its series of hit singles; that album would eventually be awarded a diamond certification for selling ten million copies.  Thus, Richie’s confidence was likely high in the studio, and he pulls a performance out of Diana Ross that is arguably her strongest ever on a ballad.  Simply put, Diana’s vocal is masterful; there’s a sorrow and somber quality to her voice that never becomes overdramatic or schmaltzy, and the yearning in her voice as she sings questions like “Where did you run to?” and “What were you going through?” is completely authentic.  The real thrill of the song comes during the bridge, as Diana unleashes a rare power in her voice; starting around 2:30 into the song, as she wails “I cried so many tears,” she’s pushing her voice in a way she really hadn’t since 1979 and her The Boss album.  The production is beautifully done; never once do producers Richie and James Carmichael allow the instrumental to compete with Ross or become too overbearing.  This is one of the great R&B ballads of the decade, and it should have won Diana a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female; that it garnered no nominations at all seems baffling now, especially given that the song which followed it at #1 on the charts, “Nightshift” by the Commodores (coincidentally also dedicated to the late Marvin Gaye), won one for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.  Still, the song is one of her enduring hits; it also managed a peak of #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and has been sampled several times in the years since by Hip hop artists including The Notorious B.I.G. on 1997’s “Miss U.”  Ross also filmed a popular promotional video for the song, which became the very first video ever played on music video channel VH1; it would also be featured on the singer’s video collection The Visions Of Diana Ross, released in early 1985.

2.  Touch By Touch:  Although Lionel Richie didn’t write “Touch By Touch,” his influence can certainly be felt in its grooves; this Caribbean-tinged number seems to be directly related to Richie’s “All Night Long (All Night),” which had topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks beginning in November of 1983.  “Touch By Touch” was co-written by Arthur Barrow, Joe Esposito, and Richie Zito, three prolific musicians notable for popular soundtrack work including Flashdance and Top Gun; Ross herself produced the recording, creating a vibrantly colorful atmosphere that, while certainly of its time, still sounds fresh today.  The song itself is extremely catchy; the “Touch…By…Touch…” refrain is a great hook, and the lyrics are succinct and memorable.  Miss Ross is the perfect person to deliver the song’s punchy melody; her bell-like soprano hits each and every note with a crisp confidence that’s incredibly engaging.  There’s a brightness and liveliness to her voice on this track that had been missing from some of her earlier work with RCA; it brings to mind her work on Supremes cuts like “You Can’t Hurry Love,” although the urgency of those earlier performances is replaced here with a mature sensuality.  Though it wasn’t released as a single in the United States, “Touch By Touch” was released  internationally and performed well in several overseas markets; according to writer J. Randy Taraborrelli, RCA wanted a follow-up single to “Missing You” in the U.S. and Diana gave them a choice of this song or “Telephone.”  The label went with “Telephone,” but it’s interesting to ponder what might have happened had “Touch By Touch” gotten the opportunity instead.  When Diana Ross hosted the American Music Awards on January 26, 1987, she chose to open the show with this song; it’s a terrific, dynamic performance featuring dancers, jugglers, aerialists, and Miss Ross standing on a platform with wind whipping her dress a la Marilyn Monroe on the subway grate.

3.  Rescue Me:  For an album that seems crafted specifically to present Diana Ross as a modern, relevant artist, the decision to include an R&B hit from 1965 certainly seems like an odd one.  Originally recorded by Fontella Bass, “Rescue Me” topped the R&B chart for a full month in late 1965, just as Diana and The Supremes were topping the Billboard Hot 100 with their sixth #1 pop hit, “I Hear A Symphony.”  “Rescue Me” was covered many times in the years following its original run; it was released as a single by both Cher and Melissa Manchester during the 1970s.   It’s interesting to ponder why Diana Ross, the producer, chose to record it for Swept Away; perhaps she wanted something to recall her first big hit for RCA, the bouncy remake of 1950s classic “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.”  Unfortunately, this version of “Rescue Me” falls far short of that earlier cover; there’s a distinct lack of energy here, which is fatal to a song that cries out for gut-wrenching passion.  Arguably, the biggest issue is Diana’s vocal; she’s singing in a very high key (as she had on “Touch By Touch”) and sounds to be straining at times.  Rather than really pushing her vocal to the higher register and giving it some power, she simply seems to push through it with a weak, breathy vocal, resulting in a sound which, at times, borders on shrill.  The instrumental track isn’t particularly strong, either; though there’s some nice guitar work (sounding very Chic-like on the solo), the track overall seems to be a little too sterile for a song that features such passionate lyrics.  In just a few years, Diana Ross would record an album in tribute of classic soul and rhythm & blues music (1987’s Red Hot Rhythm & Blues); it’s too bad she didn’t just wait to record “Rescue Me” for that project, where it would have been a better fit and likely gotten a better treatment by producer Tom Dowd.

4.  It’s Your Move:  One of the strongest album tracks of Diana’s RCA output, “It’s Your Move” comes from a pair of songwriters who certainly knew how to craft a catchy pop song; just a few year earlier, Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick had scored one of the biggest hits in music history by writing Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten solid weeks.  “It’s Your Move” was first recorded by Australian singer Doug Parkinson for his 1983 LP Heartbeat To Heartbeat; rock group America then recorded it as “Your Move” and named their own 1983 album after the song.  The America recording has a predictably harder-edged arrangement with a faster tempo; here, Diana the producer slows it down, lending the song a moody feel and giving the melody more room to breathe.  Interestingly, doing so draws out the song’s similarities to the classic Motown sound; though this version is heavy on the electronic instruments, the actual melody line is written very much in the vein of the hits Diana was singing in the 1960s.  Listen, for example, as she delivers the opening lyrics, “I don’t understand it ’cause you won’t say yes/But you don’t say no” — it could be lifted straight from a Supremes single.  The background vocals are also arranged with a Four Tops vibe that nods toward Diana’s musical past while still sounding contemporary and youthful.  Ross herself offers up a relaxed, breathy vocal performance; the key is just right for her voice, emphasizing the emotive qualities that made her a star while never sacrificing that precise, retro-tinged melody.  “It’s Your Move” is a case of Diana Ross trusting herself to deliver a solid recording without straining to sound more youthful or needing to adapt to someone else’s style (as in the case of the following year’s Eaten Alive album); here, the artist relies simply on her own instincts to create a superb track that deserves rediscovery by both casual and die-hard fans.

Billboard: October 13, 1984

5.  Swept Away:  To create the album’s title track and (until the release of “Missing You”) marquee single, Diana Ross turned to labelmate Daryl Hall.  Known for his work with musical partner John Oates, Hall had scored a slew of major hits in the late 1970s and especially the early 1980s, often incorporating the sounds of classic R&B to create catchy, modern tracks that bridged the pop, soul, dance, and adult contemporary genres.  In addition to working with Miss Ross in 1984, Hall was also at work on Big Bam Boom, a new Hall and Oates album released right around the same time as Swept Away; his “Out Of Touch” climbed the charts simultaneously with Diana’s single.  Hall penned “Swept Away” with longtime partner Sara Allen, who’d previously co-written hits including “You Make My Dreams” and “Maneater,” while Diana Ross also received credit for writing a spoken introduction to the song.  Since signing with RCA earlier in the decade, Diana Ross had shown a real fondness for rock music; the harder sound hinted at in her 1981 hit “Mirror, Mirror” led to the full-on rocker “Fool For Your Love” on Silk Electric and the electric guitar-driven “Up Front” on RossThat penchant for edgier music continues with this track, a great rock/pop/dance track that features a powerhouse vocal from the singer.  The rock tone is set immediately with the urgent drum beat; from there, instruments begin to layer in, creating a swirling musical environment that becomes an almost literal translation of the title.  Most notable are the electric guitar (the solo is played by Hall) and shimmering, bell-like synthesizers, not to mention the icy background vocals.  Diana’s lead vocal, meanwhile, is her most urgent, frenetic performance in years; she’s completely committed to the lyrics, and really lets loose with her ad-libs, soaring to the top of her range and even growling out some lines here and there.  This is a perfect example of Diana’s talent in crossing genre lines; her performance could be categorized as pop, soul, dance, or rock, which is probably why the song charted all over the place.  “Swept Away” found its biggest success in the clubs, as the song nabbed Miss Ross another #1 hit on the Hot Dance/Disco Songs chart, her first since 1980’s co-listing of “Upside Down/I’m Coming Out.”  The song was also hugely successful in the R&B market, garnering strong airplay and sales and eventually peaking at #3 on that chart; it would have hit #1 had it not been competing with blockbuster singles”I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder and “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan.  On the Billboard Hot 100, the song peaked at #19 for two weeks, equalling the success of previous single “All Of You” and giving Miss Ross her 19th solo Top 20 pop hit.  Thirty years after its release, Rolling Stone would call 1984 “Pop’s Greatest Year,” and in a list of the year’s best 100 songs, ranked “Swept Away” at #83; writer Chuck Eddy described Diana’s performance as “cooing, flirting, growling, admonishing.”  It is, indeed, all of those things, and although “Swept Away” isn’t the singer’s most timeless recording, it certainly remains a compelling piece of work.

Jet: August 19, 1985

6.  Telephone:  “Hard, percussive rhythms joined with diaphanous vocals for an unusual effect; highest new entry on this week’s Black chart,” wrote Billboard in its June 1, 1985 issue, predicting solid success for Diana’s fourth and final single from Swept Away, “Telephone.”  Indeed, the song performed very well in the R&B market, enjoying a 12-week run and peaking at #13 on the R&B Singles chart in July; in American magazine Jet, the song made it as high as #6 on the Top 20 Singles listing.  Because RCA only really pushed “Telephone” to soul stations, however, the single missed the pop chart completely; this would be the first Diana Ross release to do very well on the R&B chart while being virtually ignored in the pop market, a trend that would unfortunately continue straight through to the next decade.  Aside from its chart fortunes, what’s really interesting about “Telephone” is that the song reunites Diana with one of the men responsible for her biggest album ever, 1980’s diana; that blockbuster album had been written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the group Chic.  Although there’d been some turmoil involved in the release of diana, hatchets were obviously buried, as Edwards returns here as writer (with keyboardist Denzil A. Miller, Jr.) and producer of a song that’s arguably Diana’s first real foray into the burgeoning Hip hop genre.  Led-off by the sound of a dialing rotary telephone (which obviously dates the song in today’s cell phone culture, but is nonetheless a very cool effect), the instrumental track here is incredibly sparse, consisting of slamming drums, a nervy bassline, and shimmering keyboards; in a way, the song is reminiscent of “Now That You’re Gone” from diana in the way that it plays as much with the space between the instruments as with the instruments themselves.  Diana’s vocal performance is striking to say the least; rarely since her early days with the Supremes had she sung in such a high register, and some of the notes she hits are pretty amazing, especially her run on the word “need” at around 3:30.  There’s a startling clarity and pitch to Diana’s work here that’s only heightened by the stark instrumental track and chilly background vocals, which are used very conservatively.  It’s to Diana’s credit that her performance comes across as quite emotive; her vocal is so stylized that it would be easy to lose the substance completely (think “Fool For Your Love” from Silk Electric).  To be fair, “Telephone” is fairly repetitive, something that likely turned off some listeners at the time, and it’s not necessarily a song that reveals new layers with repeated listens.  That said, it’s not supposed to be another “Missing You” — this is Diana’s first real “slow jam,” and it succeeds very well on its own terms.

7.  Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do:  In his 2012 memoir I’m Not Dead…Yet! (available on Amazon here), songwriter Robby Benson remembers being in the shower when his wife, co-writer Karla DeVito, came running in with the news that Diana Ross was about to call to discuss a song the couple had written.  Miss Ross was busy laying down vocals for “Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do,” the demo for which had been sung by the talented DeVito, and apparently she was having trouble hitting a high note on the chorus; Benson remembers Ross asking for changes, which he refused.  However, in the end, he writes, “Diana Ross sang the song the way she wanted to sing the song; changed the note — and it sounded great, just like Diana Ross!”  Ms. DeVito would end up including “Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do” on her own 1986 LP Wake ‘Em Up In Tokyo, and the truth is that her recording of the song is far superior to Diana’s; consisting of strange, electronic sound effects, a frantic Euro-pop beat (seemingly inspired by Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”), and a helium-influenced vocal performance, Diana’s “Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do” is a bit of a campy mess.  At the dawn of 1984, pop female vocalists Madonna and Cyndi Lauper ruled both the radio and television airwaves with danceable, beat-driven recordings and their unique, over-the-top fashion sensibilities; it’s pretty clear that Miss Ross was attempting to chase them down with this recording.  However, listen to Karla DeVito’s version of the song, and it’s obvious what a bad fit it is for Diana Ross; DeVito’s recording it similarly quirky, but the production isn’t nearly as cartoonish, and neither is DeVito’s full-bodied and effortless vocal performance (and she certainly does hit some impressive high notes on the chorus!).  Coming after mature, accomplished vocals on “Missing You” and “It’s Your Move,” Diana sounds rather unhinged here, singing in an extraordinarily high key that really thins out her voice and robs it of any subtlety or nuance; it’s no wonder the singer was having trouble going any higher on the refrain, considering she’s at the top end of her range for the entire thing.  It’s impossible to take her seriously in light of the tremendously grown-up tone set by the LP’s opening tracks; the whole thing sounds like a gimmick, at best.  Go with the songwriter’s recording, instead, if you’re seeking this one out.

Jet: July 30, 1984

8.  All Of You:  The idea of pairing Diana Ross with Julio Iglesias stretched way back to 1982, when reports first surfaced that the Latin superstar was looking for a duet partner to help break him in the United States.  Certainly Ross was a perfect choice, considering she’d just scored the biggest duet hit of all-time with Lionel Richie and “Endless Love” in 1981; reports at the time intimated that Iglesias would soon be entering the studios to record his first English-language LP, and was wrestling with a choice between Miss Ross and Barbra Streisand.  When Julio Iglesias finally did score a hit duet in the United States, it was with country star Willie Nelson; together, the pair took “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1984.  The song was included on Julio’s album 1100 Bel Air Place, produced by Richard Perry (who’d produced Diana’s superb 1977 album Baby It’s Me).  Recalled Perry to Christian John Wikane in 2012, “I was doing an album with Julio and thought that [“All Of You”] would make a great duet with Diana.  I called her and she loved it except for the lyric.  I said, ‘I completely agree, so I’m having Cynthia Weil write a new lyric tonight.’  When Diana heard it she loved it, so I flew into New York and we did her vocal that night.  All the Columbia label heads came down to the studio to watch Diana record her part.”  The Diana duet was released as the follow-up to “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and it immediately began climbing the charts; in September of 1984, the song peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100, #38 on the R&B side, and #2 on the Adult Contemporary listing, one of her biggest hits on that chart ever.  As produced by Mr. Perry, “All Of You” is pure high-gloss romanticism, produced with such a heavy echo that the entire recording seems to be coming from a metal chamber; it’s certainly dated, but also undeniably effective.  Same goes for the vocals; the echo is awfully heavy on both Iglesias and Ross, but both offer up strong enough work that they manage to stay afloat rather than drown in it.  Aside from a few dreadful tracks on 1973’s Diana & MarvinDiana always acquits herself well during duets, knowing just how to showcase herself while allowing her partner to shine as well.  Her performance is an ideal match for Julio’s rather straight-forward reading; she is really emoting here, and her sensitive performance allows her to display breathy tenderness as well as satisfying strength.  Listen, for example, to her sing “As long as you live!” at around 3:30, her voice soaring above the track and background singers; it’s a great moment of belting that sounds worlds away from her high-pitched performance on the previous track.  It’s unfortunate that “All Of You” didn’t do a little better on the Billboard Hot 100; because “Swept Away” was released right on its heels, competition between the two Diana Ross singles might have hurt each other a bit.  That said, “All Of You” still gets airplay, and its fabulously sexy music video is always worth checking out.

9.  We Are The Children Of The World:  It’s hard not to associate this song with “We Are The World,” the all-star single recorded by Diana Ross and a host of other famous singers and released collectively by USA For Africa; it’s important to note, however, that Swept Away had already been released for a few months before “We Are The World” was recorded in January of 1985.  In a 2014 interview with The Diana Ross Project, musician Peppy Castro remembered getting this song to Diana Ross:  “I was introduced to Diana through [KISS vocalist] Gene Simmons. He called me up and asked me, did I have any material for Diana? I went over to Gene, who at the time had a penthouse overlooking the Central Park Zoo on 5th Ave. in New York….He took the songs I had and gave them to Diana for me and she had interest in ‘We Are The Children.'”  It’s no surprise that Miss Ross would be attracted to a song like “We Are The Children Of The World,” given its uplifting message and lyrical link to children; these are the kinds of songs the singer had gravitated toward since the beginning of her solo career.  Although Castro says his initial concept for the song (written with Mary Kelly) involved a heavier rock sound, Ross produced it with an ultra-slick instrumental including electric guitars, power drums, and a popping bass; unfortunately, her take lacks any kind of excitement or edge, and the chorus of children that sings along with Miss Ross drags the song down to the level of a Saturday morning kids’ TV show theme.  Diana sounds strong during much of the song, offering up a spirited vocal performance, but her work during the bridge borders on painful; she seems to lose any sense of control during this section, her  voice wobbling and barely hitting the right notes.  In the end, “We Are The Children Of The World” is easily one of the weakest moments on Swept Away, and should have been replaced by a superb song co-written by Peppy Castro and Diana Ross, “Fight For It,” the non-LP track release as the b-side to “Swept Away.”  (NOTE: Castro remembers that “PM Magazine” a television show out of Philadelphia, filmed a segment with Miss Ross based around this song, featuring the singer with a group of children.  That clip is often available on YouTube.)

10.  Forever Young:  Diana Ross ends the album with this famous Bob Dylan tune, which has been covered many times by many different artists.  After some very questionable choices over the second half of Swept Away, this song at least takes Miss Ross back to basics; she keeps her performance mature and simple, and at times almost sounds choked with emotion.  That said, the song has such a sad, somber quality that it’s almost tough to listen to.  While the lyrics of “Missing You” are far more morose, there’s a crispness to that production that allowed it (and the listener) to breathe.  This song is almost oppressively heavy; Diana really sounds like she’s singing it to someone who’s in the process of dying, and thus the song becomes almost too depressing to really enjoy, although the quality of her performance certainly can be appreciated.  Miss Ross apparently liked the song quite a bite; she performed a lovely rendition of it in 1986 on the “The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon,” and a year after that, she included it in her television special Diana Ross: Red Hot Rhythm & Blues.  

***

Swept Away certainly did what it needed to do, which was to give Diana Ross some new hits and keep her on the charts; it peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 and #7 on the R&B Albums chart, and was certified gold by the end of 1984.  Beyond those achievements, it gave her a bona fide classic, “Missing You,” on which she offered one of the great performances of her career; as noted before, that she didn’t win that elusive competitive Grammy for this song (that she wasn’t even nominated for it!) is a travesty.  Interestingly, for the first time, a Diana Ross album was far more enthusiastically embraced by R&B radio; while Swept Away and its singles performed respectably in the pop market, they were significantly larger successes on the R&B charts, where the album remained within the Top 75 for nearly a full year (48 weeks!) and three of the four singles peaked within the Top 15. This would remain the case for the next several Diana Ross album releases, which would produce singles that reached the R&B Top 20 while being completely ignored by pop radio and consumers.

Although Swept Away kept Diana Ross squarely in the pack of music’s most popular artists, the album itself is bogged down by some very poor choices, especially during the underwhelming (and, at times, just plain bad) second side.  Had a few of those songs been replaced and the entire album resequenced, Swept Away could have easily been Diana’s best at RCA; instead, it lacks the consistent quality and cohesiveness of its predecessor, Ross.  In this way, the album can be viewed as a perfect representation of Diana’s tenure at RCA Records; her output over six studio albums with the label remains a wildly mixed bag, ranging from a handful of career-best moments to downright bizarre experimentation.  Acting as Executive Producer, Miss Ross was likely able to create albums without anyone to disagree with her decisions; as Swept Away demonstrates, the results were fascinating, if not always satisfying.

Final Analysis:  3.5/5  (Some Great Tracks, But “Missing” More)

Paul’s Picks: “Missing You,” “It’s Your Move,” “Touch By Touch”

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About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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81 Responses to Swept Away (1984)

  1. wayne2710 says:

    Spot on again Paul ! All of You is a highlight, not just of this album but of her entire 80s output. Strange how it has become ‘lost’. It is a very mixed collection though, I think she was trying to reinvent herself without really having any sound idea as to what she was supposed to be reinventing. From the dreadful Tina Turner wig on the cover photo to the depths of awfulness with We Are The Children of the Word. And then there are the soaring ‘highs’ like Forever Young and Missing You. Pity she didn’t just take the good stuff from this and combine it with the good stuff from Silk Electric and make one really amazing album and consign the leftovers to the garbage can ! Sadly though I doubt if she would have known at this point in her career which songs were good and which were just plain bad.

    • Paul says:

      Wayne — once again I think you nailed it — MIss Ross was changing with the times, which is admirable and necessary and we all know she’s great at doing it…but perhaps didn’t have a clear plan on which way to go at this point in her career. This is likely why the album is such a mixed bag. As she was executive producer, the credit for including the great songs goes to her…but so does the blame for the missteps. Wouldn’t you love the chance to sit with her and ask what went into these decisions?

    • Paul says:

      Also — I think part of Diana’s possible “dilemma” on musical direction at this time is also a result of the bizarre musical decade that was the 1980s. So much music from this decade doesn’t hold up — it was an era of some strange novelty tunes and new sounds in music, many of which didn’t work. This sort of “scattershot” musical climate also probably made it tough for someone established like Miss Ross to keep up with the times!

  2. Tony says:

    Very fair and complete review Paul. You once again have nailed it. As I look back I recall . I recall a lot of buzz about this album. I recall fans talking about Swept Away and how great it was. I purchased it it baited breath, not want to get my hopes up too high.
    The minute I heard “Missing You” I was relieved – to me Diana was back!!!!
    Missing You – had every element of what what makes Diana great. There is a lovely, hummable melody, There is her spoken sequence, There is her cooing and wowing. There is a rawness , force and climatic power to her voice- almost Wiz like. This song embodied all the element that make Diana Ross songs great! I was so thrilled. Having said that – the songs ends weakly. i think the song could have had a better ending as it almost seems unfinished. Loved the video too!
    The song ‘All of You also very nice – and just what I needed as a fan. Could I get into the track- Swept Away – Damn YES!!!!!!! love it ! It was cool – it was as they say in Italian, it was very “oggi” ( today ,now)! I too liked Touch by Touch and wondered why this was not released- very catchy. I personally enjoyed her rendition of Forever Young but I do believe it is extremely sad sounding. The above songs were so strong for me that they allowed me to forgive her for the other horrid songs on the album. Hate Telephone- and the other songs. I get the feeling that Diana was getting tired of looking for new directions. she just slapped stuff together. But I do believe she was starting to listen to people again, she was trusting in and turing to the experts for a change, thus allowing herself to be guided and managed a little more. Hence the good stuff on the album!! Thanks Paul – I was swept away – not blown away. BUt my Diana was coming back !!!!!!!!- and boy was I ever missing her by then !

    • Paul says:

      Tony — your posts always give me such a smile, because I can feel your enthusiasm and I totally get it! The high points of “Swept Away” are so good that it certainly makes this album a necessity for Ross fans…I just wish it had been more consistent. I have listened to it HUNDREDS of times…I pretty much have the entire thing memorized…and it’s one of the few Ross albums on which the songs I like haven’t changed, and the ones I don’t like haven’t changed. I loved “Missing You” from the minute I heard it (at 4 or 5 years old!)…but even as a kid I knew I didn’t like “We Are The Children…”!!!

  3. Dominic says:

    Great review! I agree with all of your comments, except “Telephone”, which I think is a near masterpiece, a magnificently lean slice of funk that is among the best things Diana ever recorded in her later career.

    I also love “Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do”, but then again I also love “Fool for Your Love”, “Turn Me Over” and all the other weird oddities in Diana’s discography.

    • chris meklis says:

      I’m with you on Telephone Dominic and even Nobody Makes Me Crazy….I also think Telephone is a near masterpiece ahead of its time….unbelievable just how progressive Diana was in her career, yet this asset to her artistry was never fully appreciated like say Madonna’s

    • Paul says:

      Hey Dominic! Thanks for reading/commenting! I definitely understand how you feel about “Telephone” — again, I think it was ahead of its time should have charted higher than it did. It’s really not unlike a lot of the female R&B hits that would come out in the next few years, and certrainly Bernard Edwards knew his way around writing striking songs. I find “Telephone” to be a lot like “Now That You’re Gone” on the “diana” album.

      As for the oddities, I always, as a fan, enjoy discovering and hearing them, too…but listening to them repeatedly is a different matter 🙂 I gotta say I agree — I think the “Turn Me Over” gimmick is great!

  4. markus says:

    Another excellent review Paul…you assessed this album perfectly. Particularly great is what you said about Telephone. This is one of my best friend’s favorite Diana songs (and he’s not really a fan). I remember once on a road trip to NYC he’s sleeping in the passenger seat, I’m driving, middle of the night…and Telephone is playing. He stirs for one moment and says “her voice is so pure”, and then falls back to sleep. 😉
    I’ve often wondered if it would’ve sounded better with a more earthy, loose vocal from Diana (I usually dislike Diana singing such an affected way, like “In Your Arms”), but I think this actually fits the song well. But everything you said (“Hip Hop”, “a little ahead of its time for R&B radio”, etc.) totally spot on.

    I’ve always thought “Touch By Touch” is the hit that never was- not only comparable to All Night Long, but Debarge’s Rhythm of the Night as well, which actually was still several months away from release. Imagine if it had been the 4th single instead of Telephone?

    Agree with the Missing You, Swept Away and It’s Your Move (which is a fantastic album track) comments. Nobody Makes Me Crazy…for years I absolutely hated the song. It grew on me from a camp point of view. I must admit I’ve had people in my car and felt slightly embarrassed for Diana when it comes on, but she’s totally committed to this ridiculously quasi-avant garde new wave atrocity. But you know what? If you asked which song to get rid of between this and We Are the Children of the World, the “children” would get the boot. I’ll allow Diana a camp oddity on her album, but Children is toooooooooooooo saccharine and generic. Beyond bland.

    Fight For It kind hovers over the proceedings, doesnt it? They really couldnt have squeezed onto the vinyl? or couldnt Diana have just let Children go? Anyway, in case anyone has not heard Fight For It:

    • Paul says:

      Thanks, Markus — and you are so right, I’d totally forgotten about “Rhythm Of The Night” — but it’s another one very similar in feel to “Touch By Touch” and shows again what a hit this song could have been.

      I am with you — if one song had to go, it would be “We Are The Children…” — no question!

  5. Antje says:

    Next to “Missing you” of course, I am an addict to “Telephone”. Singing in such a high pitch and still being able to shift accents, and add emotions – I wonder who else could have been able to do this. She is far beyond her “comfort zone”, yet there is no shrillness to her singing (just like on “Let’s go up” – on this I agree with you, Paul).
    As I admitted to like “In your arms”, you may wonder that I totally disagree on “All of you”. I think it has to do with Julio Iglesias as I disdain him. But I agree, often her duets are superb; recently I came across “I’ve got a crush on you “ with Rod Stewart – great!
    Altogether, “Swept away” is another album I hardly play – can’t wait till we get to 1995!

    An idea that had already slipped into my mind when discussing „Ross“: Admittedly I do not know anything about blogs on other singers – but is there a community that is as harsh on their favorite as we are on Diana Ross? It seems we wanted her to be perfect in the ears of MILLIONS throughout almost five decades of recording– who could have ever accomplished this? She always said she is a risk-taker. Rather than playing it safe her experiments at least added new, sometimes exciting sounds to her catalogue. Sales figures are not a measure of good music, though of course it is satisfying when both coincide. I wonder whether even we could agree on what a “perfect Diana Ross song” should be like – and on the cover as well.

    • Paul says:

      Antije — interesting thoughts. I think when an artist turns out the sheer volume of work that Diana Ross has, it certainly opens fans up to lots of discussions and debates.

      Personally, I’ve always given her credit for trying new things, and I hope that’s obvious in this little project. I like that Diana tried new things and was never afraid (as she herself has said in interviews) “to make an ass” of herself (love when she said that, by the way!). However, I try to be objective about her music and acknowledge when those new things work/don’t work. It’s never about her personally — this project is about the music only, not about her personality, fashion, album cover choices, etc.

      Miss Ross, to her credit, is pretty realistic about her successes and failures — she’s plainly said that she wasn’t happy with some things she’s done. She also is a person who seemingly doesn’t look back in regret; she does what she wants to do, then moves on. I think that allows fans some freedom to really look closely at her choices and discuss her work without having to worry about being too judgemental. We are all here because we are fans and we know what Diana Ross is capable of. At her best, there is nobody better.

      • Antje says:

        Paul, I clearly understand what your project is all about – and I love it a lot. But, as chris meklis remarks so rightly – we are a diverse bunch, just like her music. It is so easy critizing while lying back comfortably, especially when commenting in retrospective. As so many statements show, you may well change your mind on a lot of songs. Definitely it is about the music, but listening to her music is also associated with emotions and memories.This is what I was trying to point out – we should be fair.

      • Paul says:

        I think overall Ross fans are pretty fair toward her (although I don’t frequent a lot of message boards, so perhaps I’m not aware of everything going on out there). That’s why we’ve stood by her for so many decades! Sure, everyone has his or her own favorite “era” or song, but we can mostly agree when she is truly at her best — as on “Lady Sings The Blues,” “Ain’t No Mountain…,” “Missing You,” etc. It’s the lesser known aspects of her career that are more divisive, and I think more fun to look at and discuss. I hope fans aren’t “lying back” criticizing merely for the sake of being critical…I think the fact is we just enjoy talking about Diana Ross.

        What is “unfair” to me is the on-going misperception that Diana was a “limited” vocalist with little range. There are still many listeners (and VERY short-sighted writers) out there who believe that Diana Ross was essentially a Motown product with a small voice. That’s why I wanted to put my own opinion out there…even in such a small way as this blog. Listening to her work every week and thinking critically about her vocals on each song has done nothing but deepen my appreciation for her talent. I already knew what a truly great singer she was — clearly that’s why I am a fan and started writing about here — but really taking a close look at every single album track has even surprised me at the lengths she went to push herself and develop her own musical ability.

      • Tony says:

        It is about the voice Paul – you are so right. I love the focus you maintain on her voice and the quality of her singing. The later material – the 80.s material really does bring much more discussion. I will say – i do listen to the songs over again and seem to find something new in them to enjoy. Listening to fans rave about Telephone – made me give it another chance. Actually my dad – had a great saying. He would say “i don’t like him very much – I should get to know him better.” With songs I never liked much – I try a little hared to “hear” them. These discussions- help open my ears! I am still working on the Telephone song . Boy she really is in a high register!!!

      • Paul says:

        Tony,
        The discussions open my ears, too! It’s been interesting making myself listen over and over to some of the songs of Miss Ross’s that I really don’t like for the purpose of writing about them…in some cases, my opinion has changed totally. The song “To Love Again” is a perfect example — I never “got” that song until I listened to it repeatedly to write about “Ross” — it’s now one of my favorite of her ballads!

    • markus says:

      @Antje- believe it or not, i think some fan communities are actually MORE harsh on their artists. The Madonna folks, for instance…those fans are ruthless!

      • Paul says:

        Markus — I’d say the same thing about Mariah Carey fans — who can be SAVAGE when it comes to her musical choices!!!!

    • Tony says:

      I’m with you! I can’t wait till we hit 1995 as well. Lover her return home to Motown (for the most part). I rarely play the RCA material.

      • Paul says:

        We may hit 1995 sooner than you all think…today the “Take Me Higher” CD got stuck in my car CD player! It won’t eject!!! Maybe my car is trying to send me a message 🙂

      • Tony says:

        Ya — like its probably her best album to date !!!!

  6. chris meklis says:

    This album is like a child to me-
    it’s the first album ever that I bought (age 10) and most definitely held within my top five of Miss Ross’s collections, though I may not play it that often…
    In addition I feel it is the best or at least 2nd best (Eaten Alive competing for best) of her RCA albums as far as sounding like a complete product.

    Up until this point I felt her RCA albums missing something, especially the Ross album of the previous year- it was not as eclectic as this, but this album feels far more like a complete product (save for Fight For It), and I also think that in comparison to her first very eclectic album Silk Electric, this album’s eclecticism actually seems to come together more easily.

    Though I appreciate Ross more now- in comparison to Swept Away it comes off boring and dull at times…
    This collection sees her stretching again and trying new things, and achieving superior production results with them than on Silk Electric.

    Someone earlier mentioned the Tina Turner style wig on the cover lol….
    I think we should take it for what it was- FUN and very fitting, firstly for the times and secondly matching the hard hitting rock of the title track.
    I personally love this cover- it startles the viewer and in my opinion demands attention, almost coerces the listener to see what music is inside.

    The lame pantsuit, slick and shimmery, the purposeful look with hand on hip- Miss Ross means business and the spiked hairdo says, “yes, I too can be a rock chic, should I so desire”…I love it- though I suppose it was perhaps too much for older fans- I was young then and as I look back on it now, it reminds me of my youth.

    Missing you is Ross’s best elements of voice versus interpretation summed up. Paul, you explained this classic perfectly- what a performance and what a beautiful music video (incidentally the first video ever played on VH1 when that station began broadcasting)

    Touch by Touch is another favorite of mine. And I have always liked Rescue Me, never expecting anything more from it. I have always found it a pretty bland repetitive song and I liked the purposeful base on the track of this song. There’s nothing more one can do to make this already middling song more attractive.

    Love It’s your move- it has a nice moody quality about it and perfectly bridges the all the relatively easy songs with what’s to come- Swept Away, something that the album needs here- and boy does it pack that punch.
    Incredible layering of music here and the vocals match the cover- sizzling rock all the way. Diana Ross finally succeeded here in bringing home a very edgy rock song authentically and memorably and making it chart well almost like Mirror Mirror- though this is vastly more risky.

    There is something addictive for me about the song Telephone- you say that you can’t find more layers to her performance here, I always do- there’s a very subtle sense of urgency about the whole track and her vocal, climaxing with the little riffs she does which you mentioned.
    The production is hauntingly sparse with brilliant base from Edwards, and I feel a sexual tension here that is compelling.
    It’s pure funk and it is interesting to listen to. Again this voice seems to fit in with the look of the fierce lady on the cover and the cheekiness comes through especially when she says the word “really” (when you feel like you “really”) in preparation for the startling high riffed “need” love line….
    I have heard that she actually performed this song live at the time this album was out- would so love to see her do this number live.

    And then there’s the bizarre yet for me compelling, frantic and almost existential crisis mood of Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do… she seems to be channeling a Glenn Close type stalker from Fatal Attraction lol!
    It’s again fun and she probably added this song to this collection, firstly because it was the 80’s and wanted to play with those sounds and secondly because it is precisely ‘anti-Ross’ sounding.
    I’m a stickler for synthetic sounds and interesting ‘Vangelis like’ music. The fact that she’s audacious enough to put in on an album deserves huge kudos- and she almost gets away with it too! 🙂

    All of you is a perfect pop ballad, lusciously produced and easy on the ear- and I agree- top class vocals here on her part. In fact it is the very sound of her voice on this album that I find so compelling- a different Diana Ross voice- she just seems so damn confident, it’s a joy to hear!

    Don’t like We Are The Children much, and yes, how she chose this over the superior quality of Fight For It is beyond me, but it must be said…Diana Ross has a knack of pre-empting things to come, here next year’s We Are The World.

    Forever Young is like this her ’80’s ‘Sleepin’ in content and performance. It is again an incredible emotive vocal and her live performance of this song on the Jerry Lewis telethon is beautiful.
    I was surprised in a way that you find this album uneven with so many weak points. I never saw it like that. For me it was a vast improvement on Ross 🙂

    One thing is for sure her fans are a diverse bunch- a lot like her music.

    Many Thanks Paul.

    See you next week for Eaten Alive x

    • spookyelectric says:

      Thanks again for the weekly posts Paul – it’s been great listening back through the catalogue and reading everyone’s comments. It’s thrown up a few new perspectives which has been interesting. Case in point: “Swept Away”. I’ve always thought of this as one of her stronger albums of the decade – listening again now I’ve got to be objective and say it’s probably one of her weakest!

      I never liked that first single – the Julio duet. Mainly I just think it’s a really average song and sorry to say I never had much time for Julio’s voice – especially when he sang in English. I always found it a bit comical. Diana’s ad-libs towards the end add some much needed excitement, but it’s all a bit too land of the bland for me. (Would have preferred it if Columbia had refused to license it for the album – maybe then there would have been a solo Ross version a la “Endless Love”!)

      And then the first ‘proper’ single (in the UK anyway) – “Touch By Touch”. Another weak song – the verses are ok but the chorus really doesn’t have enough lift to it. I see what they were trying to do with the ‘islands’ flavour similar to various pop-soul big hits of the day but it falls flat to me sadly. It was played loads on UK radio and did nothing chart wise. To me, this was the weakest singles’ set-up of any of Ross’ RCA album.

      But then “Swept Away”. Ridiculously this was never a single in the UK. I remember hearing it for the first time on Paul Gambaccini’s US Top 40 rundown and being thrilled. Yes, it’s very much ‘of the time’ but to me this is probably the best of all Diana’s 80s singles. From the opening spoken monologue you’re immediately drawn into the drama of the production. It’s totally excessive, totally 80s, and it totally works. The vocal interplay between Diana and Daryl Hall in the later half of the record is wild. (There’s a great 12″ Version of this track too which may press the ’80s’ button a bit too much for some listeners’ tastes – loads of cut-up vocal parts and staccato loops and loads of fun too).

      And then “Missing You”. Another landmark recording for Diana, absolutely. It really came at the right time in her career to remind audiences of the essence of classic Diana – the core of why millions fell in love with her in the first place. It’s a shame it took such a tragic event to spark it’s creation. Lionel Richie knew exactly how to frame Diana’s vocal and make the most out of it. Totally agree with you Paul, that middle-eight section where the track shifts gears is genius. What says “Ross” more that a spoken monologue? It must have been years at this point since Diana last recorded one (tell me Paul!) I read somewhere (probably a Randy Tambourine book) that Lionel was a one point in the frame for producing a whole album on Diana. If that is true it’s a real shame it never happened – everything they did together (well maybe not “Dreaming Of You”) was a masterclass in “Ross” magic.

      I saw Diana live in concert around the release of his record so it holds a special place for me because of that. My main memories are her running onto the stage in a wildly OTT sparkly outfit reflecting a million lights to “Swept Away” and a very seductive performance of “Telephone”. She would sway next to the mic, leaning backwards to emphasis the ‘lean on me’ part of the lyric. I remember being surprised when I saw the US R&B listings at the time and there was “Telephone”. It’s not a great, great Diana single in the shape of the previous two of course but it does have a great groove and her vocal is quite mesmerising.

      As a whole though I think it doesn’t really stand up to the consistency of the last album (or the next for that matter) – because the rest of the tracks don’t quite hit the mark in one way or another. All those tracks, including that b-side “Fight For It”, were Diana productions and I think the main problem is Diana really wasn’t the best person to be producing herself. I can only speculate no one could tell her that at the time though. Her vocal production always lent towards the brittle, thiner end of her register and the arrangements often were too obvious. So even on a great song like “Forever Young” it feels a little uncomfortable to listen to (her vocal here really reminds me of her self-produced solo “Endless Love”) or at its worst a bit painful (those sharp notes on “We Are The Children Of The World” – ouch!). Shame she didn’t put “Rescue Me” aside for a couple of years for the “Red Hot” album really.

      Still I think “Swept Away” was an important record for her. Unlike the last album “Ross” – this record feels very market-conscious. I don’t think they’re necessarily all her best recordings but there was something for every market on this record – AC, Dance, Pop – and of course “Telephone” was worked exclusively to R&B radio. Plus RCA put a load of marketing budget into all those videos – especially “Swept Away” which must of cost a fortune. It totally makes sense it was one of her most successful projects of the era.

      • markus says:

        enjoyed your thoughts, SpookyElectric (actually I’m enjoying everyone’s thoughts!)…but good to hear the perspective of someone from the UK. I’ve always been mystified as to why Touch By Touch was the leadoff single(!), and why Missing You didnt do well there.

      • Paul says:

        Hey Spooky — I think you nailed it saying this was a “market-conscious” album — I absolutely feel the same way. Diana was clearly trying to hit several different markets and I think she was working hard for a hit — and she got some.

        Releasing “Touch By Touch” was certainly a weird move in the UK — personally I like it and think it could have been a hit in the US, but I’d never choose it as a lead single.

        I love the 12″ “Swept Away,” too — love the looping and mixing — it’s so much fun to listen to! I imagine DJs in that era were really experimenting with new sounds and effects, and this remix certainly plays into that.

    • Paul says:

      Oh dear — Chris — I DID respond — and am only realizing now that it never posted! I thought it was weird that you hadn’t responded to my response…now I know why…loll!!!

      Anyway…jeez…now I gotta type all this again?!?!? 🙂

      I totally get an album feeling like your children. For me, “Take Me Higher” is like my baby…that album is such an important part of my life that there is no way anyone can ever tell me there’s anything wrong with it!! It’s for me a magical work, and I still go back to it often when I need some words of comfort from Diana. I was a sophomore in high school when the album came out, and it really spoke to me then; it’s also the year I first saw her in concert!

      “Swept Away” was a big part of my childhood, but it was really “Missing You” that I connected to as a little boy and that I hold dear to this day. I still believe it to be her best ballad vocal performance, and I’m glad you mentioned the video, too, as I still think it’s one of her best. Diana has a spotty record when it comes to music videos…but “Missing You” is classy and simple, perfectly matching the record.

      I’ve always loved the entire first side of the LP (tracks 1-5) — I liked “Rescue Me” much more as a kid, but I still think it’s listenable and decent, if just bland. Unlike you, I actually like the song a lot — I’ve heard some great, soulful covers over the years — but Diana’s vocal here just lacks fire to me.

      It’s the second side that has always been a little tricky for me — even as a little kid. I really like “Telephone” — I always have. I think it’s a great addition to the album and an enjoyable performance from Diana, though I do wish there was a little more variation to the vocal. This is probably just a matter of personal preference; I like songs on which Diana displays both her high notes and her rich, deeper range. Next time I listen to it, I’m going to think about how you hear new layers to her vocal — and I’m sure I’ll start to, as well!

      “All Of You” and “Forever Young” are also strong side 2 tracks…but…oh, gosh, “Nobody Makes Me Crazy…” and “We Are The Children.” I have to say, I TOTALLY agree with your apt description of Diana-goes-Fatal Attraction on the former! I, as a fan, appreciate how different it is and how downright weird the production is…but I just don’t get why Diana included it on this album. To me, it just really throws the album off-balance — I’d liken it to throwing a song like “Fool For Your Love” onto the “Baby It’s Me” album. It’s just so out-of-left-field from the classy, sexy pop/R&B that comes before it. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but get the image of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote out of my hear — it’s just so cartoon to me!

      Personally,I think that although the highlights here (“Missing You, “Swept Away,” etc.) are so strong, the album from start to finish is not as strong as 83’s “Ross.” It’s like “Surrender” — even though not a single song on that 1971 album is as strong as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” I still think “Surrender” is a superior album to her 1970 debut when it comes to start-to-finish strength.

      As for the cover…it’s weird…but I like it 🙂 I mean, as a 5-year-old kid just getting the album, I thought it was the most awesome hair I’d ever seen…so how can I complain about it now???

      • chris meklis says:

        No Worries man! BTW- I love Take Me Higher very very much- def in my top five, so cannot wait to discuss it….but in terms of not responding to my post on Swept Away….If you’re not gonna love me right…..;-) lol x

  7. markus says:

    Sidenote- I just learned that actor Robby Benson wrote Nobody Makes Me Crazy???
    (who knew…lol)

    I’m really looking forward to the Eaten Alive review next week.

    I was listening to it on the way to work this morning…i have a feeling that’s going to be a lively discussion!

    • chris meklis says:

      Markus I have always been baffled as to why Britain (Ross’s most loyal chart audience) didn’t get the whole Swept Away (or Baby It’s Me for that matter!) album…it’s mystifying there’s no denying 😉
      This is the audience that made ‘Ndoobe Ndoobe’ a very sizable hit after all lol

      • markus says:

        @Chris- LOL at your ‘Ndoobe Ndoobe’ observation! More often than not they were spot on in recognizing great songs that the US market overlooked (“I’m Still Waiting”, “All of My Life”, “My Old Piano” up to this point). Of course, “Work That Body”was also a Top 10 hit there… 😉

        PS- nice “Top of the World” lyric reference in there. 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Markus — I’m scared for my life over “Eaten Alive” 🙂 Actually, it’s another case of my opinion softening now that I’m really analyzing each song closely as I write about them. It’s a challenging album for me in terms of the vocals…but some of the songs really are quite remarkable!

      • markus says:

        @Paul- LOL! i’m sure you will be as fair and balanced as always. I dont want to jump ahead, of course, but as I was listening I kept thinking about the “crispness” of Diana’s vocal (or lack thereof) that you noted on the Why Do Fools Fall in Love and Silk Electric albums. Unfortunately there’s more of that to come, but I still think overall it’s a great album.
        Ok, no more Eaten Alive talk from me until next week… 😉

      • markus says:

        PS- if the phrasing/enunciation/style of Diana’s vocals are perplexing, I think giving a listen to Barry Gibb’s demos for the songs (many of them are on youtube) may shed some light on that. They were a revelation for me in understanding the album…

  8. chris meklis says:

    I’m feeling extremely left out Paul!!! You have responded personally to every post on this album except for mine…

  9. Billy says:

    I find all of the comments about “Swept Away” being to the point. I would just like to add that I feel it is her most “1980s-sounding” record. It betrays the era out of which it came out, which could be considered a disadvantage for some, or nostalgic for others. While “All of You” is very melodic and I definitely enjoy it, it also sounds somehow corny, while the video is the epitome of 1980s aesthetics! Finally, I love “Telephone” with a passion, as well as the almost spiritual delivery on “Forever Young.” Needless to say that “Missing You” may very well be my favorite Diana Ross song ever.

    • chris meklis says:

      At Billy Funny enough- All of you both production, lyrics and definitely video, are very slick and almost like a parody rather than being a serious love song. But I like nonetheless

    • Paul says:

      Oh Lord that “All Of You” video…maybe when I’m done with her albums we’ll have to go through and discuss all of her videos. To say it’s the epitome of 1980s aesthetics is putting it nicely!! I’d say watching it is more like 1984 exploded all over the television screen…

  10. spookyelectric says:

    Congrats Paul – the blog seems to be getting more and more popular as each week passes – every time I check back there are loads more comments.

    Just wanted to pick up the conversation on the comparative lack of success of this album in the UK. On the face of it it does seem odd – especially as Diana would often sell out night after night at arenas across the country at this time. But I think her sales had been drained from her new RCA releases by a run of Greatest Hits packages that were promoted at the time – and there were one or two almost every year in the early 80s, sometimes heavily TV-advertised. So I think maybe the ‘new’ spikey haired punky Diana was competing with classic Motown diva Diana – and guess who won.

    That added to the fact RCA UK messed up the singles releases on this album. ‘All Of Me’ and ‘Touch By Touch’ I remember getting a fair bit of radio but neither hit Top 40, they passed on ‘Swept Away’ completely and by the time they got round to releasing ‘Missing You’ (several months after the US release) the momentum had just gone. It got very little radio and don’t think Diana ever promoted it in the UK at the time… so ‘Swept Away’ tanked. (But to be fair RCA UK more than made up for their promotion mistakes on the next album).

    On a ‘Missing You’ tip I discovered this recently – I didn’t know it existed – check the chemistry between Diana and Smokey – guaranteed to make you smile

  11. Lawrence says:

    Am looking forward to the “Take Me Higher” blog! It’s also the first time I saw her live (now I am up to 5 concerts?) and met her in person – and as we talked, she said I was cute, asked me if she could kiss me and did! I almost fainted with joy 🙂

    For “Swept Away”, I confess I rarely listen to the whole album these days. Still, I love the title track (and video), “All of You”, and “Rescue Me”. “Missing You” is probably the finest moment she had in the entire decade. Why she didn’t get a Grammy Award for this performance is beyond me. I agree with you that it’s very 1980s – but the willingness for Diana to experiment in styles on each album is still quite impressive.

    Best, Lawrence

  12. spookyelectric says:

    Got to say again Paul, it’s always great when your reviews shine a new light on something you’ve heard many many times and help you hear it in a whole new way.

    Case in point: ‘It’s Your Move’.

    I was thought of it as a nice little filler because the hook is kind of weak, but you’re so right about the Supreme-esque verses and vintage BVs. Great. There’s something so classically Brill Building when she sings “when I think you’re getting hot… you’re not”.

    Plus I’d forgotten this song was co-written by Steve Kipner – who at the time was mega in demand after ONJ’s ‘Physical’ had been so massive. RCA really pulled in some big guns on this album – Lionel Richie, Daryl Hall, Arthur Baker, Jeff Beck, Bernard Edward and on and on. They must have clocked up tens of millions of sales between them. You certainly can’t accuse the label of not investing in Diana in this period!

  13. david h says:

    lol, i guess i am the only one who likes NOBODY DRIVES ME CRAZY LIKE YOU DO. love it.the rest i agree on,thanks

  14. Mike says:

    I’m the odd one out here: Have always liked We Are The Children, have never cared for Missing You. The former rocks; the latter never gets going–I’ve often thought its hit status derived from Lionel’s considerable pull at the time and from the “stunt” element: had it not been so loudly proclaimed as being about Marvin, would it have received so much attention? All of You is voluptuous. Diana always responds to the challenge of a duet (cf: Crush w Rod Stewart), and her incredible, clarion, higher register takes on an even more exultant quality.

    • Paul says:

      Can’t belive you don’t care for “Missing You” — since it’s one of my top 3 Diana songs/performances ever!! But that’s what’s amazing about her discography — there is so much to choose from that just about everyone has his or her own favorite!

  15. bokiluis says:

    As time has passed, I have gone back and forth trying to decide which was my favorite RCA album. I stand two decades passed its release and now can comfortably declare “Swept Away” as indeed the winner. I sense Diana’s focus and determination with this album as producer/performer. It can be argued that because of the huge amount of responsibilities she had assumed once leaving Motown, taking full control of her career at RCA, the first 3 albums suffered and gained from these massive career changes. In my opinion, both “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and “Silk Electric” glided on the fumes from 1980’s “diana” global dominance. Billboard stated that “diana” went onto sell 10 mil copies and gave her fuel for several more years. Those first two RCA/EMI UK album(s), fed off their predecessors to gold/platinum sales across international territories. “Ross ’83” became a component in the grand marketing design, rather than the catalyst. Of all the 80s era releases, “Ross ’83” is one we know the least about. Rumours abounded that it was the RCA A&R forces that coupled her with Gary Katz. While others speculated it was Diana’s relationship with Gene Simmons that introduced her to the New York recording session players, of which, Gary Katz was already entrenched. The huge undertaking of a Central Park concert caused even more of a sense that Diana had far too much on her plate.
    So the “Swept Away” project had one specific goal…….more hits! For the singles, she turned to top line producers like Richard Perry (“All of You”), Daryl Hall/Arthur Baker (“Swept Away”) and Bernard Edwards (“Telephone”). She had gathered a nice collection of songs to round out the album, that she would self produce. This would really be the key to “Swept Away” going from a “good” album to a “strong album”. The 4 aforementioned singles would chart no lower than T20 on the Hot 100 while dominating specific genre charts:
    “All of You” w/Julio Iglesias peaks #2 Adult Contemporary/#19 Hot 100/Top 10 International
    “Swept Away” peaks #1 Dance/#19 Hot 100
    “Missing You” peaks #1 R&B/Top 10 Hot 100
    “Telephone” peaks #13 R&B
    Considering the “no-brainer” global success of “All of You”, legend states that RCA negotiated to include that duet, effectively removing a B-side, “Fight for It” that would have taken “Swept Away” a notch or two higher critically and commercially. If Diana did take her eye off the target momentarily, it would have been giving “We Are the Children of the World”, a Ross-co-penned track, an album slot…that rightfully belonged to “Fight for It”. (Hall & Oates previously used a sizable sample from The Supremes hits for “I Can’t Go For That” and “Maneater”. With “Fight for It”, Diana co-penned possibly the best song she has written to date, using similar bass lines that Hall & Oates utilized). “Touch by Touch” had an infectious island feel to it. Though she performed it on the American Music Awards, EMI UK went with “Touch by Touch” as the next international single to great results. “Touch by Touch” hit the Top 10 across several European markets. EMI UK could have licensed her AMA performance as their music video. It also became a regular concert staple from that era. Diana, like most of us, had a fondness for covering songs from her formative years. “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass was given an 80s new wave/soul pop twist that made it her best nostalgic cover to date. Robbie Benson contributed the new wave/pop song, “Nobody Makes You Crazy Like You Do” that best captured the spiked new wave hair cut she sported on the cover. “It’s Your Move” also demonstrated Diana’s astute growth in finding material that worked for her. Her cover of Dylan’s “Forever Young”, though a tad bland, gave the album cred.
    The “Swept Away” album gave Diana good, if not great, MTV play. The title track got respectable exposure on MTV, VH1 and BET. Diana’s strong relationship with Dick Clark Prod. afforded the “Missing You” video exposure to over 20-22 mil viewers of the AMAs that augmented the strong VH1 play (“Missing You” was the very first video the channel ever played) and top notch BET play insuring Diana her next #1 single!. The Jerry Lewis Marathon aired a special performance of “Forever Young” that was culled for additional VH1 play. Entertainment Tonight (ET) created and aired their own video for “We Are the Children of the World”, etc.
    I was not crazy about the album art, inspired by the “diana” album 4-5 years early. The spiked hair look had already been co-opt by RCA labelmate, Nona Hendryx and even more on Tina Turner’s groundbreaking “Private Dancer” album. Problem was, Diana was following a trend, when she was known for creating a trend.
    Despite this misstep, “Swept Away” endures. It is her most consistent of all her 80s releases. It underscored Diana’s growing abilities as a Producer and/or Executive Producer. Both “Eaten Alive” and “Red Hot Rhythm and Blues” were solid follow-ups…..but, both were poorly titled and misdirected on some level. In an era where we can create our own “playlist”, I have made my own “Swept Away: Special Edition”, eliminating “We Are the Children of the World” for the much stronger “Fight for It”!

  16. Luke says:

    “”Fight For It” was the b-side to the “Swept Away” single, but never appeared on an album. A slow-burning, funky rocker, it may be the best song Diana co-wrote in the 80s (she apparently produced it, too), and would have really elevated the quality of the second half of this LP. What was she thinking?”
    Well, you are in my mind! I listened to “Fight for it” a couple of years ago on youtube and i couldn’t believe my ears! She did chose “We are the children of the world” instead of this? Why? As far as the rest of the album is concerned, I think it was just a good album, nothing more, nothing less. I like “Telephone” more than “Touch by touch” and I prefer the remixed club version of “Swept away” than the album’s version. The video is a classic, Diana had never been sexier on a video before or after that. “Missing you was a masterpiece but after hearing it a thousand times during all these years, I tend to get bored with that.

    • Luis Boki says:

      It is fascinating how just the inclusion of one track, “Fight for It”, in exchange of the deletion of another, “We Are the Children of The World” could really make the difference, at least to my ears and I am convinced to other fans and consumers, of the quality of the “Swept Away” album. That album had several interesting stats like “All of You” being a #1 smash in Julio Iglesias’ native country, Spain (allowing for Diana to become even more popular there), #3 in Italy and #4 in Norway, along with “Touch by Touch” being a hit in several European countries as well. (On a side note, I wonder why she never used the American Music Awards performance of “Touch by Touch” as the music video because as far as I know it, that single was marketed without the benefit of a music video). As far as the tremendous amount of play on “Missing You”, at least in the states, it was a pivotal release that took the album to platinum status. “Missing You” reawakened American audiences to the “Swept Away” album and gave her the biggest R&B single since “Upside Down”. So I can never begrudge its exposure. That night, when she used her clout to get the video played on the American Music Awards, the album was completely rejuvenated.

  17. Luis Boki says:

    Paul, Let me once again thank you for your wonderful, in depth analysis of Diana’s body of work. I think a lot of the naysayers think that Diana Ross fans are two-deminsional, more interested in her glamour than her musical integrity. While I simply love Diana’s glamour and style she is so associated with (another reason “The Wiz” was baffling, how do you do a Diana Ross movie with a fashion show scene and Diana isn’t in the fashion show?), I am very enamored with Diana Ross, the artist. So as time has passed by, I feel that ” Swept Away”, to me, is both her best RCA era and 80s Album! It is possible we don’t give her enough credit for her most consistent producing endeavor. She wisely commissioned top notch producers for the singles from Richard Perry to Daryl Hall to Lionel Richie/James Carmichael to Bernard Edwards. But lying subtly under the hit singles are album tracks like “Touch by Touch” (a hit single in several European territories), “Rescue Me” (I like the “new wave” production lilt on this cover from Diana’s formative years. I think it gives the track an updated 80s feel), “It’s Your Move” just a good, solid album track, “Nobody Drives Me Crazy Like You Do” is again to be another befitting 80s sounding new wave pop song written by my old heartthrob, Robbie Benson, also reflecting the horrible 80s cover art. Diana does a much better job in producing “Swept Away” than on either “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” or “Silk Electric”. In reflection, “Swept Away” is my favorite RCA era album that Diana should be proud of her producing skills. Though RCA, for whatever reason has not seen fit to certify it platinum, I have seen net sales figures of 1.3 million albums in the states. That gives her 3 gold/platinum RCA era albums out of 6, which is certainly nothing to apologize for.
    (Finally, I do take exception to the statement that “Smile” and “Kiss Me Now” are both solid additions to “The Black Abum-Diana Ross ’76”. In fact, listen to Michael Jackson’s cover of “Smile” on “HIStory” to see how he was inspired by Diana’s version. “Kiss Me Now” had that fun, vaudeville feel that could have been in a Broadway show…like her Tony-winning, “An Evening with…..”.

    • Paul says:

      Swept Away will always hold a special place in my heart — I believe it features her greatest-ever ballad performance (“Missing You”) and some real highlight from her recording career. That said, I think the low points are so low that they end up making the album a little too inconsistent. As you said in another post — IF ONLY “Fight For It” had been featured instead of one of the weaker links. Still — Swept Away is an album for which Miss Ross should be extremely proud — and as you said, as much as people like to downplay her RCA career, she produced some very strong and successful work that is, in many cases, just as good as her Motown recordings.

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  19. topher says:

    I have strong memories of 84 . I remember we were full of MTV kind of music all the time and even if we didn’t like this type of music, we were influenced by the sound.
    And Diana’s self productions were lackluster . So we had her own production and the rest , the rest being more contemporary.

    Another thing is that she couldn’t duplicate the sound of those records live. Wether it’s “sweept away” or “telephone” , her voice is not the same . So i have the feeling her voice is accelerated or something like that , to make it higher and faster.

    Anyway, i like “sweept away” she gives a razor shape performance on this one.
    “Telephone” is hypnotic, fascinating , scaring , and a fantastic production.
    “Missing you” is a classic Ross performance and Forever young is one of my all time favorite of her. Sad but true.
    “All of you” with it’s “dynasty” kind of clip is a monument of kitch .

  20. bokiluis says:

    I actually wished that Diana would have made a 180 adaption of the elements of a record like “Swept Away”. “Swept Away”, both the song and the album, had a bit of edge to it. Diana never seem to fully embrace the transformation of new sounds, live in concert.
    Case in point, it could be argued that “Swept Away” courted a younger demo, like say the MTV generation. When she would say, “I could never go out and wear jeans and tee-shirts in my concerts”. Or something to that effect. I was always puzzled as to why she believed that to be true. Who in her audience would take issue with her doing younger oriented songs like “Upside Down”, “I’m Coming Out”, “Mirror, Mirror”, “Muscles” and/or “Swept Away” in more appropriate attire. If she was going to compete effectively during the MTV era, her transformation needed to be reflected in her music and her image. Her most celebrated album covers of that time were Douglas Kirkland’s “The Boss” and Scavullo’s “diana”, both emphasizing au natural glamour. I yearned for her to switch into a hot glamorous top with a great pair of jeans and performing that kind of material with youthful exuberance and then return to her glamorous gown collection at the closing. Just switch it up! Every now and then, she would “Have Fun (Again)” like returning for encores at Radio City in a sexy leather pants and vest. (she would later do the same at Wembley and performed “You’re Gonna Love It”……audiences loved it and responded favorably).
    I don’t know why she felt that audiences demanded that she always wear gowns. Not if you are employing the services of Daryl Hall on a pop/dance/rock song like “Swept Away”. It did not have to be one or the other.
    It would have made, to me, her most valid play to the MTV era with the “Swept Away” album. On that tour she performed “Missing You”, “Touch by Touch”, “Rescue Me”, “Swept Away” and “Telephone” at different intervals. Heck she even did a much more digestible “Fool For Your Love” in a rock/soul fashion……so she seem to teeter with the younger MTV era generation, but, was never fully committed to that transformation. And that demographic knew it. So while Tina and Cher, admittedly a little more rock ‘n roll, were accepted by the MTV generation, Diana never committed to it.
    Add “Fight for It” into the mix. I actually envisioned her taking that Motown/James Jamerson bass line that runs through “You Can’t Hurry Love” (Phil Collins had reintroduce it to the MTV generation) segue into a bit of Hall & Oates “Maneater” fused it into “Fight for It” and then bring it full circle to “Swept Away”. It would not have threaten her core audience while seamlessly educating a younger audience to how she impacted the entire rock ‘n roll era as an artist. Alas, she always seemed to “play it safe” and cater to an older, less demanding, aging casino audience……when she really didn’t need to.

    • Trox says:

      I think you’re totally right, never understood her insistence in only using gowns, it aged her before it was time to age.

  21. davidh says:

    after listening to the SWEPT AWAY cd,i have decided you r correct about NOBODY DRIVES ME CRAZY

  22. Just found this cool extended mix of ‘Telephone’… not the promo 12″ RCA issued as last single from the set (that was just the album version) but a fan-made number. Still very good…

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  26. Larry says:

    I had been a casual Diana Ross fan as a Child. However, as a teen I was captivated by this album. The songs I lived as a teenager are not the same songs I love today. It’s interesting as she was trying to appeal to teenagers and long time adult fans bi still and have always loved Swept Away and you are not han if Missing You doesn’t bring you to tears. Touch by Touch is an eternal fave from this CD

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  29. James Grattan says:

    Hey Paul!!!..Swept Away remains for me, like looking into an old photo album of favorite memories. By this time I was in real time with my Diana Ross purchases. After playing catch-up for 3 years of her new releases and the back catalogue. THIS album played in my car cassette stereo on my way to school every day for senior year. EVERY song connects to new adventures found with a fake ID and my parent’s 69 Mustang:)
    …sneaking into a club and requesting “Nobody makes me…” Seeing her live for the first time, and she sings Swept Away!!!!!!…Touch by Touch remains the single that got away…and MIssing You being the song that I knew was a classic the first time I heard it on the radio.
    The Expanded Version of Swept Away is terrific…but nothing compares to opening that fold out LP with the Silver jeans and punk hair cut for the first time….THIS is the poster I wish I had.
    This album was so important to me for the years to come. I divided it up into playlists I carry with me on the IPOD after all of this time.
    Again, its always my fantasy that she would release some of these songs in a live compilation collection. Different deep album cuts of her performing them live over the years…..well…I can dream, can’t I???
    As always Paul, I’m so grateful to have this forum to read yours and the other contributor’s thoughts.
    James

    • Paul says:

      This always has a special place for me, too, because it’s the first one of hers that I remember buying, too. To be fair, I didn’t buy it…I made my parents go buy me the cassette tape! “Missing You” was the song that really did it for me — it was a song that I instantly connected with (and I was only 5 years old!) and drove everyone around me crazy by constantly singing. I also love the cover — it’s completely insane, but a fun and modern nod to the 1980 “diana” album — like a space-age version of that famous photo. Totally agree that “Touch By Touch” should have been a hit in the US — I think it should have been released before even “Swept Away.” Although the title track was a solid hit, I think “Touch By Touch” had the potential to be a bigger radio hit and reach a broader audience.

  30. James Grattan says:

    …and can you imagine the video “Touch by Touch” could have been?? Its always amazed me that Diana Ross wasn’t a bigger player in the video market. It seems so natural that she would have been a massive hit with video production. I remember reading a quote that she didn’t like the idea of having one interpretation for her songs. But with her acting chops, and her eye for art direction, its still a mystery to me why the all of videos weren’t more successful. And I love the idea you have going through her videos next on the forum. There’s a video for “I’m Gone” that shows how incredible she can be in the medium. The scene at the end on the waterfront, with the suitcase…PERFECTION from every direction. (Alright I’m starting to rhyme, so let me sigh off 🙂
    James
    PS: Did you say you were 5 years old when Missing You came out?????? :))

  31. TouchMe says:

    After the flop of ROSS, this seems like a bit of a safe bet for hits. Having said that there are plenty of wonderful tracks on this. I pretty much agree with your review. It’s accurate and fair. Does anyone else get the vibe that “It’s Your Move” is about our queen dating a closeted gay guy? “I’m giving up on trying to sell you things that you ain’t buyinnnng!”

    • Paul says:

      TouchMe — yes, as I wrote in the review, I think it was calculated very carefully to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and keep Diana on the charts. And in that respect, it’s a successful project. It did what it needed to do…albeit in a very uneven way. I’ve never interpreted “It’s Your Move” that way…but something’s definitely going on with the guy she’s singing about!!

  32. Trox says:

    The interesting thing is that “Nobody Makes Me Crazy Like You Do”, in my opinion, is not only a brilliant track, but it’s very ahead of its time, and it’s very Madonna (before Madonna did this type of work), vocal-wise and musically. If you pay attention to Madonna’s work in the mid-00’s (especially her Confessions on a Dance Floor album), you’ll see how much this Diana’s forgotten gem is the embryo for what came later. Other track that I found very similar to Madonna’s later work is Diana’s earlier 80’s track “Friend to Friend”. You can tell she inspired Madonna a great deal.

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  38. david wilson says:

    Greta review as always. Here in the UK by the time this album was released Diana’s chart career was waning her singles failed to make the all important BBC radio 1 playlist and they were lucky to limp into the bottom end of the UK chart. Touch by Touch was released here but fared no better than the other singles. The biggest disappointment was the complete failure of Missing You to crack the Top 75. It bubbled under the chart for almost 6 months but got no support from BBC Radio. The video was featured several times on the influential “Entertainment USA” TV show produced by UK music mogul Jonathan King (later convicted for molestation of young boys). Missing You is for me one of Diana’s greatest recordings and a “lost hit” here in the UK. If only she had flown over to promote the record it might have generated the interest needed to see it succeed. Diana had been such a massive star but she was seriously losing ground. She would of course have a spectacular if rather brief comeback a year later…

  39. Robert Gallagher says:

    Don Shewey, in a 1985 Village Voice article, “Arthur Baker’s Baby Boom” (full version on his site), wrote one of my all-time favorite reviews: “On the long version of Diana Ross’s “Swept Away” (which he originally produced with Daryl Hall), Baker wields the digital-delay’s repeat mode as electronic G-spot even more extremely. It’s almost cruel the way he uses technology to push Ross’s already desperate vocal, which gives the lie to the backup chorus chanting, “No, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.” The terrifying, triumphant electronic explosion he produces from her vocal track on the second chorus captures both the involuntary spasm of sexual climax (it makes Donna Summer sound like an expert pretender) and the angry abandon of a last round in bed with someone you’re about to start hating for the rest of your life.”

  40. Robert Gallagher says:

    In addition to Marvin, the “Missing You” video also pays tribute to Florence and Paul Williams.

    • Jaap says:

      There are two versions of the music video: one that indeed includes Florence and Paul Williams, and one that just includes footage of Marvin Gaye. Would love to see that 1982 Brussels concert released (from which the Marvin Gaye images are taken); apparently it was filmed entirely.

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