Upside Down

Album: diana (1980)
Charted: 2 1
  • Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers wrote and produced this. They are the duo behind the disco group Chic in the late '70s. The upbeat song finds the singer sticking with a cheating lover because he keeps their romance exciting, turning her emotions upside down and inside out. Rodgers explained the tune was actually inspired by Ross' desire to experiment with her career and have some fun.
  • This was Diana Ross' biggest hit as a solo artist. Aside from topping the US R&B, Dance, and Hot 100 charts, the song landed in the top 5 on several tallies throughout the world, including more #1 entries in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand and a #2 spot in the UK.
  • Ross met the production duo backstage at a Chic concert in Santa Monica, California. "Diana couldn't believe the crowd reaction," Rodgers recalled to Billboard magazine. "She said, 'I haven't seen this since the Jackson 5.' She was backstage, dancing and into it. 'My kids made me come and see this show, all they were talking about was Chic, Chic, Chic. That's what I want my record to sound like.'"
  • After she released Diana, Ross left Motown and signed with RCA for a landmark $20 million deal. She released six albums through the label, starting with Why Do Fools Fall In Love in 1981, before returning to Motown in 1989 and reuniting with Rodgers for the album Workin' Overtime.
  • Ross, who felt her voice was overshadowed by the instrumentation on some of the tracks, demanded changes from the producers. Rodgers and Edwards made minor edits to appease her and told Ross if she still didn't like the songs, she'd have to remix them herself. They were shocked when Ross actually took them up on the offer. With the help of Motown producer Russ Terrana, she remixed the entire album, adding emphasis to her vocals. Rodgers was furious but ultimately relented on the condition that he and Edwards wouldn't be credited for the new mixes.

    "We don't want the public to assume that these are our mixes," he explained in a Billboard interview. "The basic problem was that we had two different concepts of what her voice should sound like. She hears her voice in one way and we hear it in another way. When it got a point where she wanted her voice to sound a certain way, we couldn't take the responsibility for it because that's just not how we make records."
  • Michael Jackson occasionally joined Ross on stage while she sang this at her live concerts in the early '80s, including her TV special Diana in 1981.
  • Salt-n-Pepa sampled this on their 1996 song "Upside Down ('Round-N-'Round)." That same year, MC Lyte also sampled it on her hit "Cold Rock a Party."
  • Ross performed this with Jamiroquai at the 1997 Brit Awards ceremony.
  • Mercedes-Benz used this in a 2013 commercial to promote the automobile manufacturer's "magic body control" stability function, which was proven by a bunch of chickens grooving to the tune while their heads remained stationary.
  • Several members of Chic contributed to the track, with Edwards on bass, Rodgers on guitar, Tony Thompson on drums, Raymond Jones and Andy Schwartz on keyboards, and Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin on backing vocals. The song also featured the signature Chic Strings from Karen Milne, Valerie Heywood, and Cheryl Hong.
  • This was used on the TV drama Scandal in the 2015 episode "Yes."

Comments: 9

  • Anton from EarthWas the music used in a very cute Mercedes Benz car commersh touting the suspension's magic body control, starring a bunch of chickens because they try to keep their head stationary whilst their body moves, check it out - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFbSAOZBVQU
  • Paul from Detroit, MiDianne and Mike: your posts made me laugh out loud! While it took me a long time to actually listen to this song, without immediately switching the station, once I heard it in it's entirety, I WAS HOOKED! :)
  • John from Nashville, TnUpside Down looked like it was going to be a flop at first. It debuted on the Billboard pop charts at #82. It struggled for six weeks before it moved to #49. Then to everyone's surprised, it jumped from #49 to #10.
  • John from Nashville, TnThis song was originally written for Aretha Franklin. Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were supposed to produce her last Atlantic album, but she wanted too much creative control. Thus this union never happened.
  • Mike from Long Island, NyI can't agree more with Dianne.Probably the worst song I have ever heard in my life. When it comes on the radio I don't turn it off, I listen and wonder why anyone in the world would like this song.
  • Marc from LondonSounds like rock solid 4/4 to me Mark. Of course, the strum pattern from Nile Rodgers' rhythm guitar is anything but simple - could that be what you are refering to?
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhThis song has one of the most complex beats in popular music. I always liked it.
  • Dianne from Ft. Bening, GaI absolutely detest this song and can't understand why someone as awesome as Diana Ross recoreded it. "Respectfully I say to thee, I'm aware that you're cheatin'" -- WHAT?! Why be respectful to someone who's cheating on you? And what's this "thee" business? The lyrics stink and the music sucks!
  • Markos from Athens, GreeceThis was from the most succesful Diana's solo album, "Diana", her last at Motown label, before she moved to RCA Records (for North America) and EMI / Capitol for the rest of the world.
see more comments

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

Trans Soul Rebels: Songs About TransgenderismSong Writing

A history of songs dealing with transgender issues, featuring Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Morrissey and Green Day.

Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)Songwriter Interviews

The Brazilian rocker sees pictures in his riffs. When he came up with one of his gnarliest songs, there was a riot going on.

Trucking Songs That Were #1 HitsSong Writing

The stories behind the biggest hit songs about trucking.

Early Days of MTVFact or Fiction

If you can recall the days when MTV played videos, you know that there are lots of stories to tell. See if you can spot the real ones.