“Baby, I Love Your Way” (Released 1983)

Diana Ross Anthology Baby I Love Your Way

“Wonder how they have the power to shine…”

English singer/songwriter Peter Frampton (of the famous “talking guitar”) recorded the song “Baby, I Love Your Way” in 1975, first including the song on his Frampton album and then issuing a live version on the monster smash Frampton Comes Alive!  Being that the latter LP remains one of the biggest selling live albums of all time, the song got plenty of exposure; as a single, it peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976, becoming one of the artist’s signature tunes.  It remains a well-known song, reaching even greater heights in the 90s when covered by the band Big Mountain and featured on the soundtrack to the hit movie Reality Bites.

Miss Diana Ross tried her hand at the song not long after Frampton released it, cutting “Baby, I Love Your Way” with producer Richard Perry as the two worked together on the 1977 LP Baby It’s Me and, apparently, a possible follow-up collaboration which never materialized.  According to writer J. Randy Taraborrelli in Diana: A Biography, Perry and Ross cut three additional songs that remained in the vaults: “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Country John,” and “Brass Band” (he also notes that four other tracks were given to Motown singer Syreeta Wright for her 1980 LP, Syreeta).  Of the three songs Diana did apparently put vocals on, two remain in the vaults to this day.  Fans, however, finally got to hear “Baby, I Love Your Way” when it was included on 1983’s Anthology.

Retaining the prominent acoustic guitar from Frampton’s original recording, Diana’s is presented in a far more Quiet Storm/smooth R&B form — fitting, considering that’s the predominant tone of the Baby It’s Me LP.  Though the guitar gives the song a far different feel than the others produced by Ross and Perry, the rest of the track — with instrumentation including shimmering chimes, soulful keyboards, and shuffling percussion — bring to mind tracks like “All Night Lover” and “Confide In Me.”  As on those songs, Diana’s vocal performance here is just sublime; there is a warmth of tone that’s present on the best of her work, but also an unexpected sparkle and youth that echoes her earliest recordings with The Supremes.  Listen, for example, to her “ooh-ooh-ooh!” at 1:52; she conveys a sudden whimsy and joy in just three wordless syllables, a technique Diana Ross makes sound effortless but that is, indeed, unique to her.  Though the song weaves in elements of pop, soul, and jazz, the superb guitar work also exploits the song’s natural reggae feel (something that would become even more apparent when covered by Big Mountain in 1994).  Miss Ross offers up some relaxed and light ad-libs during the song’s final minute of running time, her crystal clear voice riding the track expertly.  She sounds about as comfortable on this track as on anything else recorded during the period; the song indeed seems to flow right through her.

Had “Baby, I Love Your Way” been considered for possible inclusion on the Baby It’s Me album, it was probably a wise decision to leave it off.  Though the song is lovely and the lyrics fit the romantic theme of the album, it’s a tune that’s so recognizable it might have pulled focus from the other compositions surrounding it.  The great strength of Baby It’s Me lies in its incredible cohesiveness; it is a complete work, one in which every single song naturally leads to the next.  Most fans would agree that Baby It’s Me remains one of Diana’s strongest complete efforts; in a 1977 profile in Rolling Stone, Ross remarked of the album, “We wanted to make a record people could make love to – keep putting the arm on back to the thing, and make love to it.”  She and Perry succeeded — probably far better than either ever dreamed — which is why it’s hard to imagine any additions to the track list today.

That said, if “Baby, I Love Your Way” was indeed intended for a follow-up LP, it offers a fascinating glimpse into what else Ross and Perry could have achieved together.  They’d team up again — Perry produced the 1984 top 20 hit “All Of You,” a duet with Julio Iglesias — but he would never handle another entire LP with the singer.  It’s more than clear that the two had a good working relationship — the joy and romanticism that comes through on Baby It’s Me could only have been created by two professionals feeding off each other’s positive energy.  This is why — at the time of this writing — the most anticipated piece of Diana Ross-related news is an announcement of a Baby It’s Me Expanded Edition from boutique label Hip-O Select.  The chance to hear the other tracks in the vault — along with possible alternate vocals, edits, and mixes — could only enhance the reputation of this masterwork, not to mention give fans so much more to enjoy.

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About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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12 Responses to “Baby, I Love Your Way” (Released 1983)

  1. Jaap says:

    One more Diana Ross / Richard Perry connection: he remixed “So Close” for the US single release… much better mix than the original album version.

    • Paul says:

      Yes indeed, Jaap — his remix is an enormous improvement on the original recording of “So Close.” The clarity of Diana’s vocals on Perry’s version completely changes the song, making it far more comptemporary and highlighting the strength of Diana’s performance. I wish his version was more available to listeners today!

  2. Tony says:

    Baby I love your way. I remember when I first heard this song how mesmerized I was with her voice. She sounds so beautiful and angelic. It’s fascinating how Diana can make every song she sings her wrong even if it’s a cover of somebody else’s. When I first heard her sing this song I knew it sounded familiar that perhaps I’d
    heard it before, but somehow her interpretation of the song really need me believe this was hers to begin with.

    I want toe hear the So Close version you are referring to!!!!!

    • Paul says:

      Tony — she definitely makes this song her own! Just by chance, I heard the original Frampton version last week while grocery shopping — completely different interpretations. Diana and Richard Perry really romanticized the song and made it so lush.

  3. Lawrence says:

    I totally agree, Tony! I used to play the anthology just to hear Diana’s version of “Baby I Love Your Way” – and it always baffled me why it wasn’t included in a real album or released as a single. Not sure I’ve ever heard the So Close single remix either – can anyone post on here??

    • Paul says:

      Listen to this. I’ve heard better quality of the single remix, but you can at least tell that Diana’s voice is not doubled here and this is an alternate take from much of what is used on the LP version:

  4. Lawrence says:

    thanks – I think I’ve heard this version before. I guess no matter what was done, it still has that nostalgia vibe, which might have been a tougher sell in 1982 for radio? But I do enjoy it. However, Double Diana sounds like a great title for a double album 🙂

  5. Diana does a lovely version of this but agree with you Paul that it would have unbalanced the original ‘Baby It’s Me’ album which is perfection as it is – 10 great tunes beautifully sequenced.

    By the way – pulled out my old copy of ‘Syreeta’ and the four Perry productions definitely make you wonder what Diana would have done with them (or did with them – did she ever lay down vocals on them?).

    The best is Bill Withers’ ‘Let Me Be The One’ which Syreeta sounds gorgeous on. I guess one Withers tune on ‘Baby It’s Me’ was enough and ‘Same Love’ certainly adds a funky edge to the album.

    There’s Ken Peterson’s ‘You Bring Out The Love In Me’ – very, very similar to his ‘Your Love Is So Good Me’ so it would have been pointless including both.

    A cool cover of The Chantels’ 50s classic ‘He’s Gone’ which Diana would have had a ball with (interestingly ‘So Close’ is virtually a note for note pastiche). Not on youtube 😦

    And finally ‘Love Fire’ (the single from the album) which Syreeta injects a lot of life into despite being a so-so disco tune. No major loss that Diana never released that one.

  6. Another interesting ‘trainspotter’ Ross fact – ‘Love Fire’ was written for Diana by Bob Esty & Michele Aller. Michele was the white singer who’s briefly seen performing ‘Had You Been Around’ in Lady Sings The Blues!

  7. Shahram says:

    Hi Paul. Please can you tell me when the release of the expanded edition of “Baby It’s Me” was announced? I cannot find any reference to this on the Hip O Select website. I know it was scheduled to be released over a year a go but nothing ever materialised.

  8. Pingback: Baby…It’s Here! The Expanded Edition Arrives… | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

  9. Pingback: Baby It’s Me (Expanded Edition) (Released 2014) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

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