by Contributing Writer Michael P. Coleman
Superstar Diana Ross made history in 1981, leaving the label that launched and nurtured her stellar career, Motown Records, for a then unprecedented $20 million deal with RCA. In doing so, she accepted the largest signing advance ever given to a music artist. During this chapter of her career, Ross stepped out creatively, becoming one of the first female artists to produce entire pop albums. The first was the platinum Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, featuring the title cut, “Mirror, Mirror”, and her exceptional solo rendition of that year’s mega hit duet with Lionel Richie, “Endless Love”.
While the six studio albums she released under her contract with RCA (she followed her RCA debut with Silk Electric, Ross, Swept Away, Eaten Alive, and Red Hot Rhythm & Blues) were artistic mixed bags, the catalog as a whole is an underrated chapter in her phenomenal career. The aforementioned songs, along with the Michael Jackson-penned and produced “Muscles”, Lionel Richie’s “Missing You”, “Swept Away”, her 1983 collaborations with Ray Parker, Jr., and most of her final two RCA albums (including the exceptional Barry Gibb-produced Eaten Alive) stand up to anything Ross has ever done. Unfortunately, the projects have never received proper digital remastering, and have been out of print entirely for several years.
Funky Town Grooves (funkytowngrooves.com) corrects that oversight next week, with the release of all six RCA titles. The latter three albums are being released as “Expanded” editions, with bonus discs that include remixes of her RCA hits and rare gems recorded at the time but never released in the United States.
The six albums are being offered at introductory, promotional prices, through Wednesday, September 24th.
Michael P. Coleman is a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California. Reach Out & Touch him at michaelpcoleman.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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