Saturday, March 16, 2019

"Chain Reaction" by Diana Ross

Song#:  2709
Date:  05/03/1986
Debut:  88
Peak:  65
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, R&B

Pop Bits:  This second single from Ross' Eaten Alive album was basically a non-starter when it was first released back in November of '85. It stayed on the Pop chart for a short three weeks peaking at a lowly #95. However, the fate of the song was far, far better in Europe where it reached the Top 10 in several countries including a three week stay at #1 in the UK. In late January of '86, Ross was tapped to host the American Music Awards and during the show she sang "Eaten Alive" and this song. Her performance reignited interest in the tune. That along with its European success prompted Ross' label to give the song a second chance. A "special new" mix of the song was put together and issued out as a single. On its second go-around, the tune did better but it was far from being a hit as it still couldn't get near the top half of the Pop chart. With that result, the cost of the reissue probably wasn't worth the effort.

ReduxReview:  There is not much more I can say than what I did in the original post for this song. The Gibb brothers did a nice job creating this for Ross, but it just wasn't what US listeners wanted, especially after the failed "Eaten Alive."

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The American Music Awards were developed by Dick Clark and began in 1973. Clark was still hosting American Bandstand at the time, which was famous for having performers lip sync their songs on the show. At the time, it wasn't that unusual for some acts to lip sync due to logistics or heavily choreographed routines. Unlike the Grammys where everyone is to perform live (or live plus backing track enhancements in the case of dance-heavy performances), the AMA's sometimes opted for lip syncing. For Ross in '86, it was half n' half. She opened the show with a live performance of "Eaten Alive." But for "Chain Reaction," which featured a cast of male dancers and Ross involved in the routine, Ross opted to lip sync. At one point near the end, she seemed to forget where she was in the song and missed a cue, but she quickly recovered. Yet no one said anything about it at the time. People kind of forget now, but when Michael Jackson did his famous moonwalk routine on Motown 25, he was lip syncing. No one seemed to care and he moonwalked his way to an Emmy nomination for his performance. These days, you can't do that. Artists are being called out all the time for lip syncing. The Milli Vanilli scandal certainly played a role and scrutiny has gotten worse since. Several artists have been accused of lip syncing at the AMA's including superstar Mariah Carey in 2018. She hadn't appeared on the show in a decade and she debuted an upcoming single "With You." While many fans applauded her performance, others called her out for lip syncing. These days, that's what a singer can expect - is it live for Memorex? If Memorex, don't look at your Twitter feed...


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