Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Muscles" by Diana Ross

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1203
Date:  10/02/1982
Debut:  61
Peak:  10
Weeks:  17
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Ross' second album for the RCA label, "Silk Electric," got off to a good start with this first single that just nicked the Top 10. It did a bit better at R&B where it reached #4. The song helped the album get to gold status, but it wasn't one of her most successful as indicated by its #27 peak. The song got Ross another Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. The album's cover was created by Andy Warhol, who already had another one of his works gracing another charting album at the time - Billy Squier's "Emotions in Motion."

ReduxReview:  I think many folks have forgotten this song, but I'm pretty sure that it provided the spark for Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana." At the time I thought this was a dumb song (and that is coming from someone who likes muscles...). I kind of like it now. I'm not sure why I judged it so harshly back in the day. I like the arrangement and it has a nice, slinky, sexy feel to it without being skanky (although a little skank doesn't hurt sometimes). It doesn't rank among Ross' best, but it's has some kinky fun going for it.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Ross' long-time friend Michael Jackson wrote and produced this song for her. Apparently, Ross had a desire to be with a guy who was loaded with muscles and that created the inspiration for Jackson. It has also been rumored that the song was named after Jackson's pet boa constrictor Muscles. Whatever the case, having Jackson's name (and voice) attached to the song certainly didn't hurt. However, this was before "Thriller" came out. Had the song been issued a year down the road during the height of "Thriller"-mania, Jackson's attachment to the song might have made it a bigger hit.



  1. I have taken the opposite route to my view of this song. I did like it when it first came out; now, whenever I hear it, which is admittedly rarely, I cannot stand it. It doesn't seem to fit the format of a traditional pop song. Other than the three word "chorus" ("I want muscles"), there seems to be nothing memorable about the song at all. Ross certainly used the song to great effect in her concerts, as the one I went to when the song came out, featured her dragging muscular men up on stage and having them take off their shirts. Maybe even she knew there needed to be some distraction from the inanity of the song.

    1. Ha! I like that viewpoint. It is an idiotic "song," but I get a kick out of it now.