Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Swept Away" by Diana Ross

Song#:  2036
Date:  09/01/1984
Debut:  62
Peak:  19
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Dance, R&B

Pop Bits:  Ross was in a slump. After moving to the RCA label, her first LP for them, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, was a platinum success. However, its follow-ups didn't fare as well and her 1983 album Ross couldn't even reach gold level sales. She definitely needed a boost and initially she got a little help via her duet with Julio Iglesias, "All of You." With that song headed to the Pop Top 20 and #2 AC, the time was right to unleash this title-track single to her next album. The song was an instant hit at Dance where it became her first #1 on that chart since 1980. It also did well at R&B getting to #3. Although it could only manage to get inside the Pop Top 20, that result was her best since "Muscles" reached #10 in 1982. The news would be even better with her next single.

ReduxReview:  This song did indeed sweep me away. It also swept away the aftertaste left behind by the cruddy singles from her previous album Ross. This beefed up, rock-leaning tune was miles ahead of anything from that album or even the previous one (with the lone exception of "Muscles"). Even Ross sounded more engaged and performed a nice vocal - probably her best in years. Co-written by Daryl Hall (see below) it really doesn't have a whiff of Hall & Oates' blue-eyed soul, which benefits Ross. It doesn't sound like she is covering an H&O tune. Why this did not go Top 10 is a mystery, especially since the video did well on MTV and the song rocked. Still it was a major 80s step forward for Ross and it remains one of her best singles of the decade. The album was quite good too.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was co-written by Daryl Hall and Sara Allen with Ross providing the spoken word intro. Hall also did background vocals and performed the guitar solo. Hall also produced the song with Arthur Baker, who was quickly becoming an in-demand producer/remixer. At the time, Baker was having great success doing remixes for high-profile artists like Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen. The pairing of Hall and Baker seemed to work out well as Baker went on to collaborate with Daryl Hall and John Oates on their 1984 album Out of Touch. In addition to some production and remix work, Baker also co-wrote the LP's opening track, "Dance on Your Knees," with Hall.


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