The pairing, of course, is no mistake: the 1975 Tony Award-winning “super soul musical” was adapted into a film in 1978, with Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and original cast member Ted Ross as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, respectively. Produced by Motown and directed by Sidney Lumet, with a young Joel Schumacher adapting the show into a screenplay and Quincy Jones as musical director (the first time Jackson and Jones would work together), the film was a commercial and critical disappointment but has since achieved cult classic status.
What fans may not know is that this initial underperformance curtailed the 1979 release of a new Diana Ross album where she performed the songs from the show in their entirety. Produced by Ross, Suzanne de Passe and Lee Holdridge, who’d arranged Diana’s chart-topping “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To),” the album would be entirely scrapped in favor of a new collaboration with Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson on The Boss.
Diana Ross Sings Songs from The Wiz features beloved songs from the musical including “Ease On Down the Road,” “You Can’t Win,” “Home,” the Luther Vandross-penned “Everybody Rejoice,” and Ashford and Simpson’s “Is This What Feeling Gets? (Dorothy’s Theme)” as well as “Wonder Wonder Why,” a song cut from Charlie Smalls’ original Broadway score and unused until a revival in 1984.
Produced by UMe’s usual Supreme dream team of Andy Skurow, George Solomon and Harry Weinger (who also pen an essay in the set’s booklet, which will feature unseen photos of Miss Ross), Diana Ross Sings Songs from The Wiz will be available to all digital retailers on November 27.
Diana Ross, Diana Ross Sings Songs from The Wiz (Motown/UMe, 2015 – intended for release 1979) (Amazon U.S.)
- The Feeling We Once Had
- He’s the Wizard
- Soon as I Get Home
- Trio Medley: You Can’t Win/Slide Some Oil/[I’m A] Mean Ole Lion
- Ease On Down the Road
- Be a Lion
- So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard
- Is This What Feeling Gets? [Dorothy’s Theme]
- Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News
- Wonder Wonder Why
- A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)
- Believe in Yourself