ALBUM OF THE MONTH
FIVE REASONS TO LISTEN:
- Academy Award®-nominated “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To).”
- Grammy®-nominated “Love Hangover” in extended 7:48 original version.
- “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Maybe,” self-produced by Diana, written by Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson.
- “Smile,” recorded in 1972 for Diana’s Blue, an unreleased (until 2006) jazz album.
- Top 10 Soul hit, “One Love In My Lifetime,” later covered by Joss Stone.
FOUR FAST FACTS:
- Original LP release date: February 10, 1976.
- Top 5 on the Billboard charts.
- Iconic cover shot by renowned fashion photographer Victor Skrebneski.
- Reissue on vinyl July 15, 2016 to celebrate 40th anniversary of “Love Hangover.” Order the album here.
FULL TRACK LISTING:
- Diana Ross was issued shortly after “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January ’76. It was the title tune from Diana’s second movie, Mahogany, released the previous October. The hit single was written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin, and produced by Masser, who was responsible for Diana’s earlier No. 1, “Touch Me In The Morning.”
- Michael Masser had previously cut “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” with Thelma Houston, but Motown executive Suzanne DePasse felt the song was suitable for Diana and the Mahogany storyline. The singer introduced her version on Johnny Carson’s late-night TV show in October 1975, and it began its ascent of the charts. As it was featured in the movie, it also became eligible for an Academy Award®.
- Diana was in the middle of an eight-nation European tour when the Academy Award® telecast took place in March, and she performed “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” for the show via satellite link from Amsterdam. She then resumed her itinerary with concerts in Monaco, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the U.K.
- Motown producer Hal Davis began producing “Love Hangover” in 1975, after hearing a demo in a colleague’s office. Among the musicians he used: Joe Sample (keyboards), Art Wright (guitar) and James Gadson (drums). it was Berry Gordy who thought the song was suitable for Diana, but according to Davis, she was not enthusiastic. “So we got her a little taste of vodka – she’s a vodka drinker – and she sat back [in the studio], kicked her shoes off, and said, ‘Well, I’ll got out and give it a try.’ She got into it.”
- There was competition. The 5th Dimension covered “Love Hangover” as a single while it was still an LP track on Diana Ross, which forced Motown’s hand. When the company rush-released Diana’s original as a regular 45 and in a 12-inch version for the clubs, it triumphed: No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B rankings, and No. 1 on various disco charts.
- The writers of “Love Hangover,” Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod, were not short of credentials. Lyricist Sawyer, a British expat, joined Motown’s publishing arm in the late 1960s, and was a co-writer of “Love Child” for Diana Ross & the Supremes, among other hits. And music was equally in Detroit native McLeod’s blood: her sister was jazz pianist Alice Coltrane; her brother-in-law, jazz titan John Coltrane. Among Marilyn’s first notable Motown copyrights was “Include Me In Your Life,” cut by Diana and Marvin Gaye.
- Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson’s “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Maybe” was produced on this album by Diana herself, who cut the vocal in October 1975. The previous year, the song was recorded by Rufus for the LP which also contained their Stevie Wonder-written smash, “Tell Me Something Good.”
- Berry Gordy produced (with Don Costa) two tracks on the album, “Kiss Me Now” and “You’re Good My Child.” Shortly before the LP’s release, Gordy spoke to People magazine about his relationship with Diana. “At first, I taught her a lot. Then we became equal. Now I work for her. But she hasn’t quite become a dictator.”
- Diana Ross has been reissued on vinyl July 15 by Universal Music, to mark the 40th anniversary of “Love Hangover.” Order the album here. When first made available, the LP featured the star’s name at the bottom of the front cover art; for the second pressing, the name was moved to the top, for easier searching through record bins at retail. Aside from its initial release in 1976, the album was also made available as a two-CD expanded edition in 2012.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things that I like to do. I don’t ever want to be stuck in a category as far as singing because I like all music” – Diana Ross, talking about the album in an audio interview with Don Pietromonaco, included on the 2012 CD reissue of Diana Ross.
“She got into it. Her eyes were flashing, the strobe was flashing, the vodka was tasting better, the engineer was popping. There were only three of us sitting there [as Diana cut the ‘Love Hangover’ vocal] but you would have sworn there was a party going on” – producer Hal Davis, quoted in The Billboard Book Of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits.
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE TRACK ON THE ALBUM:
Producers: Gil Askey, Lawrence Brown, Don Costa, Hal Davis, Berry Gordy, Michael Masser, Diana Ross.
Songwriters: Nickolas Ashford, Lawrence Brown, Charles Chaplin, Gwen Gordy Fuqua, Gerry Goffin, Kenneth Lupper, Marilyn McLeod, Terri McFadden, Michael Masser, Ron Miller, Geoffrey Parsons, Leonard Perry, Pam Sawyer, Valerie Simpson, John Turner.
Pre-makes: “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Maybe” (Ashford & Simpson, 1974; Rufus, 1974), “After You” (Original soundtrack instrumental, Mahogany, 1975), “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” (Thelma Houston, 1973), “Smile” (Charlie Chaplin, 1936; Nat “King” Cole, 1954; Betty Everett & Jerry Butler, 1965, and more).
Re-makes: “Kiss Me Now” (Kenny Lupper, 1978), “Love Hangover” (5th Dimension, 1976; Stanley Turrentine, 1976; Jr. Walker, 1983; Jody Watley, 2006; Tina Arena, 2007), “I Thought It Took A Little Time (But Today I Fell In Love)” (Gloria Estefan, 1998), “One Love In My Lifetime” (Joss Stone, 2012). In addition, “Love Hangover” was widely sampled, not least as the foundation of “The First Night,” Monica’s No. 1 hit of 1998.