(March 31, 2020). Don’t look now, Dua Lipa, but you’ve got some very unlikely competition on one of Billboard’s charts.
It seems that Ms. Diana Ross, the Motown legend who turned 76 last Thursday, is having a bit of a chart renaissance these days – without having to enter a studio or sing a single new note.
Since January 2018, The Boss has had four consecutive songs reach Number One on one of Billboard magazine’s longstanding music popularity charts, one that originated in 1976 – the same year as the chart’s most recent Number One occupant (by Ross) was first released.
Which song and which chart, you might ask?
Why, it’s the Billboard disco chart – a weekly list that the industry trade rag started back in 1976 (the year Ms. Ross first ventured into the genre with her big No. 1 hit, “Love Hangover”) and is now published, safely enough, under the name Hot Dance Club Songs…owing to the fact that it is still compiled using reports generated by disc jockeys at clubs nationwide.
One of the chart’s top artists of the past two-plus years has been Ms. Ross, the veteran pop, soul, and (apparently) disco singer who just nabbed her fourth consecutive No. 1 hit there this past week with a 2020 remix of…what else?
You know, the song that in its original form was part ballad, part disco, and all divine (especially in its original 8-minute album version).
In 2020, American keyboardist and remix artist Eric Kupper has taken Diana’s “Love Hangover” and given it the latest treatment – one of the song’s many remixes over the years and one that club DJs around the country were compelled enough to give lots of spins and send it flying right back up the dance chart to its new No. 1 perch.
Kupper’s “Love Hangover 2020” (billed solely to Ross for chart purposes) crested at No. 1 on the Hot Dance Songs chart dated March 28 for a lone week, but a week that is significant nonetheless.
Here’s why numerologists and historians like yours truly are salivating over Diana’s latest crowning:
First, it happened just after the song’s 44th anniversary when it was originally topping disco and club playlists everywhere. “Love Hangover” was rush-released as a single during the third week of March 1976. The following week, for the issue dated March 27, 1976, Motown ran a full-page ad in Billboard announcing the sudden move, which had been prompted both by the immense popularity of Ross’s version in discos and because the California pop group the Fifth Dimension had just released their version of the song.
That a song originally released in 1976 has hit No. 1 on a Billboard chart on its 44th anniversary this year is especially intriguing when considering that the artist who recorded it was born in 1944 and turned 76 in the same week (numerologists take note of the numbers 76 and 44).
“Love Hangover 2020” is the fourth entry on the dance chart for Diana Ross in the past two years and three months – and all four have reached No. 1. All are remixes of old Motown classics beginning with the Motown legend’s 1970 No. 1 smash “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (No. 1 on the dance chart in January 2018); followed by the 2018 remix of her Chic-produced 1980 twosome “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down” (No. 1 together on the dance chart in August 2018 – they also topped it together in 1980); and thirdly her 1979 Ashford & Simpson-penned classic “The Boss 2019,” (No. 1 dance in April of last year).
Incidentally, all but one of those songs – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – topped Billboard’s disco chart their first time around. The exception isn’t surprising when considering the original version of “Mountain” isn’t really disco and it predated the disco charts by about half a decade.
Diana’s recent hot streak on the Hot Dance Songs chart is reminiscent of another time when she had a perfect batting average.
From 1970-80, the first five of her solo top-10 pop hits – “Ain’t No Mountain,” “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Theme from Mahogany,” “Love Hangover” and “Upside Down” – all went to No. 1 on the Hot 100. The streak was broken when “I’m Coming Out,” the followup to “Upside Down,” peaked at No. 5 in November 1980.
And finally, Ross is fricken 76 and apparently still very relevant! Yes, it may only be the dance (née disco) chart, one determined by the old-fashioned method of deejays reporting to Billboard what songs they’re playing in clubs – and yes, it may be a chart where a new No. 1 is seemingly crowned every week.
But it’s a national popularity chart nonetheless, and it’s not every day that a woman whose next major birthday milestone is 80, and whose most popular recordings are at least 40 years old and counting, tops any chart. Diana Ross has been and likely always will be a fan-favorite among dance-club goers.
DJROBBLOG thought you might like to hear what “Love Hangover 2020” and the other modern-day Diana Ross remixes – all courtesy of Mr. Kupper – sound like. What follows are YouTube clips of each one. Click through and see how close – or not – they are to the originals. You can also vote with a thumbs-up or emoji on the ones you like – or don’t like.
Enjoy…and congratulations Ms. Ross on your latest career achievement among many!
Song facts: Diana Ross’s first foray into disco came in early 1976 and quickly became a classic. The song was topping regional disco charts in Billboard before it was officially rush-released as a single on March 16. “Love Hangover” was so popular that Motown abruptly abandoned promotion on another new Ross single they had just issued two weeks earlier - and one that itself was climbing the charts fast, entitled “I Thought It Took a Little Time (But Today I Fell In Love”). Does anyone even remember what that one sounds like?
The glorious title single from her 1979 album “The Boss” was an ode to the power of love and how little control Diana Ross - or any other protagonist for that matter - had over it. Yet the album and single’s title has often been misconstrued as a self-moniker on Ross’s part. It didn’t matter, because she practically was the boss on any project that had her name on it, this No. 1 disco and top-20 pop and soul smash included.
In 1980, Motown had intended for “I’m Coming Out” - the uplifting anthem from Diana Ross’s biggest-selling solo album, ‘Diana’ - to be released as its first single. But a late change of plans made “Upside Down” the premier single choice, a full month after the album had been out. Smart choice...”Upside Down” shot to No. 1 on the pop soul and disco charts that summer, making it one of the biggest crossover hits of the year. “I’m Coming Out” was relegated to followup status, but still with a respectable top-10 chart showing.
On this 2018 remix, it’s “I’m Coming Out” that gets top billing, as both songs returned to No. 1 in a mashup helmed by Kupper.
The song that many people associate with the beginning of Diana Ross’s solo career is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” mainly because it was her first solo No. 1 away from the Supremes. Just over 47 years later it became the first of the Eric Kupper classic Diana remixes to return the diva to the top of the disco charts - ironic when considering it was the only one of the songs he’s handled for Ross that didn’t top the disco chart in its first incarnation. I’ll bet the legendary team of Ashford & Simpson didn’t have this in mind when they wrote the original.
DJRob is a freelance blogger who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.
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