(My cellmate Peg used to work PR at UMass, and one time found herself with the pleasure of entertaining Billy Dee Williams for about a week. According to her, he did not view his association with Miss Ross very fondly.)
So it is with great interest that I picked up the "deluxe" edition of "diana," which just recently was reissued by Motown. This two CD set contains this classic Ross album in its released form, as well as the original mix by Chic, which was rejected by Ross, who sent it back to them with "suggestions" on how she would like to have the music remixed. When the changes she requested weren't made, Rodgers and Edwards suggested she go back into the studio and do "whatever she wanted to the record"... which she did. The final cut was issued, under protest of Rodgers and Edwards, who requested that their names be taken off the album. This didn't happen, but the story added to Ross's reputation as being temperamental and controlling.
After listening to both versions, my feeling is: the diva knows best. The original mix did nothing to showcase her talents, and her desire to sweeten the tracks to make them more "hitworthy" was absolutely spot on, particularly for an artist with a spotty solo career at best. "I'm Coming Out, for example, is far superior in its final mix than it is in the original. There is no way that it would ever have been a hit.
Bottom line: Rodgers assertion that "we could make the kind of record that we wished we could make for ourselves because we had Diana Ross to protect us" indicates he wasn't interested in the artist, but looking to further his own artistic ambitions, and that should never be the focus of any truly successful album, which should always focus on showcasing the artist (provided the artist has talent), not the vision of the producer (although if the two can go hand in hand, that's the best of both worlds.) Music aint movies.
But that's just my two cents. On a lighter note, my current bathroom reading is "Big Lies," by Joe Conason. You go skewer the radical right, big boy!