Monday, November 19, 2018

Musical Monday - Upside Down by Diana Ross

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: September 6, 1980 through September 24, 1980.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: September 13, 1980 through September 27, 1980.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

One of the mantras of the early 1980s was "disco is dead", but one really has to question whether this was true or not. Songs like Upside Down seem like they should be called disco songs, but since disco was so disfavored, they weren't. Is this song disco? Is it R&B? Is it some combination of the two? This is certainly a dance song, and it seems to have a disco-ish beat, but no one I know seems to think of it as a "disco" song.

One possible reason for the treatment of this song may simply be that it was recorded by Diana Ross, and she had enough heft to make people overlook that it is a song that probably belongs in a musical genre that was "dead" when it was released. On the other hand, one has to wonder where this song stands in Ross' larger career. She had come to superstardom in the 1960s as part of the Motown group the Supremes, and had broken away to become a top level solo artist in the 1970s. Even though this was one of only six number one hits Ross had as a solo artist, it is well down the list of songs that people are likely to come up with when they think of Ross' career.

This is not to say that Upside Down is an obscure song. If it is brought up, most people (at least in my experience) will recognize it, and many will recognize it as having been performed by Diana Ross, but in a career that had reached the incandescent heights that Ross' had, it is kind of overshadowed. This is compounded by the fact that this song came out in what can only be described as the twilight of Ross' career - she only reached the top of the charts one more time, and to do that she had to pair up with Lionel Ritchie for the duet Endless Love. Further, Ross was being eclipsed by other divas who rose in the late 1970s such as Donna Summer. Ross still had career left before her, but her glory days were in the past, and that seems to have resulted in this song being a little bit overlooked.

Previous Musical Monday: Start! by the Jam
Subsequent Musical Monday: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Sailing by Christopher Cross
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Sailing by Christopher Cross
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Diana Ross     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

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