NEWS: Unreleased Diana Ross “Wiz” LP Coming Soon

Did you hear the news?  Thanks to commenter and longtime friend of The Diana Ross Project, spookyelectric, we just did: Diana Ross might be going back to Oz with the release of a long-shelved album.

As reported exclusively by the website Electronic Urban Report (and writer Michael P. Coleman), the 1978 album Diana Ross Sings Songs From “The Wiz” is apparently getting a release later this month.  Click here to read the news from EUR.

We’ve known about the existence of this unreleased album for awhile; Diana’s “Motown version” of the ballad “Home” was included on the 2001 double-CD The Motown Anthology (read my review of that gorgeous performance here).  In his book Diana Ross: A Biography, writer J. Randy Taraborrelli included this information: “[The Wiz] soundtrack was released on MCA.  However, Motown planned its own LP entitled Diana Ross Sings Songs From “The Wiz.” She recorded alternate versions of “Home,” “Be a Lion,” and a new song, “Wonder, Wonder Why,” for this project.  However, they all remained in the Motown vaults” (523).

Of course, choosing this moment to release the album would make sense, with the upcoming live television production of The Wiz on NBC; there will be plenty of attention on the musical and the classic songs it contains.  Although the film version of The Wiz was basically ignored upon its release, it certainly has many fans today — and there’s no denying the powerhouse vocals featured on its soundtrack.  As I wrote in my original review of the soundtrack, “Diana Ross under [Quincy Jones’s] direction becomes a singer of superb strength and range here; the raw power in her voice is on par with that exhibited during 1971’s Surrender.  Even during the quiet moments of this album, Jones manages to bring out a rich, full sound in Diana’s voice that many other producers couldn’t seem to capture.”

From what Coleman has written in EUR, fans are in for a real treat with these Motown versions.  If the rest of then are anywhere close to the recording of “Home” that we’ve already heard, Miss Ross will surprise a lot of critics and casual listeners who are still unaware (or in denial) of the soul and power she possesses as a vocalist.

If anyone else has more information about the news of this unreleased album — post it in the comments section!  What are your thoughts about this news?


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Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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19 Responses to NEWS: Unreleased Diana Ross “Wiz” LP Coming Soon

  1. Tony says:

    This is huge ! I’m so excited. Her voice, those raw, emotive notes will certainly be spectacular.
    I can not contain myself. I am so in need of some new material from the Queen , even if it’s old stuff made new again!

    • Paul says:

      LOL Tony — I share your sentiments exactly! Diana’s voice was in peak form when she recorded the material for “The Wiz” — she’d been touring with her challenging “An Evening With…” show all over the world, and was clearly energized by the material. I really, really hope this is a good as we think it will be…and that it gets the attention it deserves.

  2. This sounds wonderful! Her Motown version of “Home” is one of the best vocals of her career – and I bet “Believe in Yourself” will be tailor made for her voice. Excited to hear the new song too 🙂 Wonder if Miss Ross already knows this is coming out!

    • Paul says:

      I wonder that, too! I’d be curious to know how “in the loop” Miss Ross is concerning these reissues and “vault” albums. Considering how busy she was at the time — and that she was apparently so unhappy at Motown — she might not even remember recording these. She apparently barely remembered the BLUE sessions, and from what I’ve read, she and Gil Askey were quite surprised when that one came out!

  3. fredpostman says:

    This is fantastic news,but like ‘Baby It’s Me [expanded version]it’s a digital only release…it beggars belief that a UK label like ‘Cherry Red’ can release dozens of different cds each and every month,but a big company like Universal cannot release even a small run version…for collectors like myself this is shocking!

    • Paul says:

      I understand the frustration — I’m a collector, too, and would love a physical copy. That said, I’m glad we’re getting the music at all — certainly Universal doesn’t have to release any of these “vault” recordings, and I feel fortunate that we’re getting it, even if it’s in the digital form.

  4. david h says:

    cd sales are the lowest they have ever been but I would think they could print a few 1000 for die hard fans…not sure but I know that Andy addressed this issue a while back . he was still trying to get the albums released on cd. not sure what Universals issue is other than they stated” Digital or not at all”
    I wasn’t sure this album even existed until now, I thought it was just another rumour, although I was never a fan of the Wiz and have never been able to sit thru the entire film. hearing her solo version of Brand New Day would be nice.always thought she would do this in her live show, better than EASE ON DOWN imo.

  5. djessie says:

    This “CD’s are over” nonsense is just that – nonsense! For example – the biggest singer in France, Mylene Farmer, just released her new album. First week sales: physical formats sold close to 104.000 copies. Digital downloads: 6.000!

    Albums still sell the most on physical formats (mostly CD’s), especially albums by artists that have been releasing music for a long time. A lot of people still prefer this format, for many reasons – sound quality, booklets etc, not to mention the fact that people have been collecting the releases for a very long time. I have no interest in “collecting” some digital files!

    For a short moment I got very excited when I saw the unexpected announcement about this new release – but after the “Baby It’s Me” fiasco I quickly started to suspect that history would repeat itself. Sadly, it looks like it will. I had been waiting for “Baby It’s Me” for what seemed like an eternity. I had bought all the previous deluxe CD’s and loved them. As for BIM, I didn’t buy it. And I won’t buy any future MP3 releases. I refuse to support this kind of “releases” that almost force fans into buying that format because the record company has decided that’s the way it’s gonna be. There are loads of deluxe re-issues coming out by several companies (just look at the RCA albums by Diana Ross) so there is NO reason why her Motown output should be treated any differently.

    Also: I am well under 40 years of age, so this is not just about “older people” refusing to “change with the times”. Just like loads of people prefer to own their movies on Blu-Ray because of the quality and to add to their collection, there are still many people that want to own their music the same way, for the same reasons. And as for Randy’s sad comments, the message has been clear to Universal: it’s not a question of not wanting the material, fans do want it – ON CD! Hopefully that will happen one day.

    • Paul says:

      Hey! I understand the frustration, and share it to an extent — I’d love a complete collection of deluxe reissues for my shelf — but I’m glad we’re getting the music at all. Certainly UMG doesn’t have to release this if it doesn’t want to — these songs have been sitting in the vaults for decades and could have easily stayed there. I’m glad we’re getting to hear these songs at all — and at least in the digital form, we can hope they will reach an even younger generation unfamiliar with Diana Ross and her legacy.

      • The thing we jeapordise by not purchasing theses re-issues in their digital form is that the powers that be that track sales will not then be much inclined to release anything in the future if they can’t see a return on investment. Yes some boutique brands will produce limited runs of 500 to 1000 however this is a niche market that is catered to and is in the business of servicing. Universal and much of the bigger media corporations remain in the business of making money through expediency. These companies do not count the units they don’t sell, so whatever cry in the dark is made that they should manufacture physical copies goes unheeded and unheard, they are simply not in the business for collectors, it is enough that they acknowledge that there is some form of market for these niche releases, if they are not purchased these releases (in any form) will not find a home anywhere.

  6. northcarolinafan says:

    I’ve never purchased a digital album/cd. Can someone please tell me how a digital release can include a booklet and never before seen photos? I am very “old school” and this may seem like a crazy question but . . .

    • Paul says:

      Not a crazy question at all…it’s a weird concept. Digital releases often also include a “digital booklet” — which is downloaded along with the songs and stored on the computer. On my computer (in my iTunes program), these booklets open up as PDF files. It’s similar to downloading an attachment to an e-mail.

  7. Jaap Kooijman says:

    Diana Ross performed A Brand New Day as grand finale of her 2009 Symphonica in Rosso concert in The Netherlands. I understand the local organizers included the song as it was her first of two Number One songs in the Netherlands (the other being Why Do Fools Fall In Love). But Ross clearly didn’t know the lyrics!
    I’m looking forward to hearing this album. I understand You Can’t Win is part of a medley — unfortunately, as it would be nice to hear her sing the full song.

  8. Jaap Kooijman says:

    Here is some footage of A Brand New Day in 2009.

  9. Michael G. Coyle says:

    I too hesitated about the Digital Only releases of Funny Girl and Baby Its Me. Being a fan and collector since my Mom bought me my first album in 1965, Supremes at the Copa, I wanted the hard copy. However, once I realized Funny and Baby would not be coming on CD I purchased the digital copy. I am certainly glad that I did!!!! Having these great recordings digitally is better than not at all. We can always hope one day Universal or some boutique label will issue the CD’s. Till then I can’t wait for Sings Songs from the Wiz. Maybe there is still hope for the unreleased Harold Arlen album Diana hinted at on the promotional tours for Forever Diana in 1993. Keep up the EXCELLENT WORK Paul!!!!

  10. Just heard “Diana Ross sings songs from The Wiz” for the first time on Spotify today! I love this album! I think these versions are more upbeat and pop than the soundtrack versions which I think are more musical theatre. All songs are great interpretations, but I love in particular “Brand New Day” and “Home” which brings out the very best in Diana’s voice and artistry. I will play this album for years to come! Looking forward to your review, Paul! Thanks for blogging! 🙂

  11. It’s been released on iTunes Australia!!! Just downloading it now!!! Can’t wait for a review! 😀

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