Diana Ross – Diana: #529 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Diana Ross - Diana

So why is Diana Ross’ Diana on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

There’s a slice of time in the late 1990s when I had a decent grasp on the dive bars and small venues in corners of Manhattan (Upper East Side, the Villages both west and east, and the NYU bars on 2nd Ave., for example) that catered to college students and postgrads on, let us say, a “budget.”

The musical selection that you’d hear at the dive bars was remarkably similar. Notorious B.I.G. was a lock, as were songs by Mase, the latest Bad Boy Records artist that Sean “Diddy” Combs (known simply as Puff Daddy back then) was heavily promoting.

And for reasons that I find hard to explain except because it’s amazing, you would also hear Diana Ross’ “Upside Down” – released on Diana some two decades earlier – on just about any given night. I love “Upside Down” to this day and deeply associate it with a time in my life when some of my biggest dilemmas revolved around whether or not I should wear my “East Village jacket” before going out to hit the scene.  

I’m not sure if there’s ever been a song that combines funk, disco, R&B, and pop better than “Upside Down*.” I still get a kick out of hearing the little thwacking guitar chord at the beginning, and the beat, synthesizer, and Diana’s gorgeous vocals are deeply catchy and simply iconic.

* I mean, maybe you could make an argument for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or “Beat It,” but I’m still sticking with my girl here.

“I’m Coming Out” fuses horns into a catchy, upbeat disco groove and pulsing bassline. And it should be noted that lyrically it’s a song about empowerment and identity that has become important to the LGBTQ+ community.  

I’ve gotten into the sheeny gloss and groovy production of “My Old Piano” over the years, just great stuff. And man, I can’t get enough of Diana Ross’ voice, and it’s never better than on this track.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Diana Ross’ Diana

What’s kind of fascinating is that in addition to the popularity of music by Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Puff Daddy, and Diana Ross being played a lot in Manhattan dive bars in those days, music by all of those artists on the same song was also extremely popular, in the form of “Mo Money Mo Problems,” which features B.I.G., Mase, and Puff over a sample of Diana’s “I’m Coming Out.” Go figure!

Some stats & info about Diana Ross – Diana

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Disco, R&B, Dance Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #394
  • All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Diana released? 1980
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #529 out of 1,000

Diana Ross’ Diana on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Diana Ross’ Diana that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Upside you’re turning me, you’re giving love instinctively. Around and round you’re turning me, I say to thee respectfully.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.