MAY 1973 (39 YEARS AGO)
Diana Ross: “Touch Me In The Morning” b/w “I Won’t Last A Day Without You” (Motown M 1239F) 45 single is released in the US.
“Touch Me in the Morning” is a popular song recorded by Diana Ross on the Motown label. In 1973 it became her second solo #1 single (and 14th careerwise) on the Billboard Hot 100 .
It was conceived by then-unproven songwriter and producer Michael Masser. He had been recruited by Motown CEO Berry Gordy and A&R chief Suzanne de Passe. Masser teamed up with the proven ballad lyricist Ron Miller to write it.
According to Masser, in a video documentary about Ross, she “always tried to push hard to get the vocals right for this particular song”, calling it a “draining experience” that resulted in several near-emotional breakdowns when she wasn’t up to her abilities. It was recorded in the early morning hours, as was her custom after she began raising her children. In a Barbara Walters Mother’s Day interview special, her second-oldest daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross, said Diana would put them to bed and record all night, in order to wake her children and send them to school the next morning.
Motown released the song as a single and it hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, becoming her longest-charting record, remaining on the chart for 21 weeks. It also spent a week at #1 on the adult contemporary chart, her first #1 on that chart. Sherlie Matthews, Clydie King, and Venetta Fields sang background vocals.
It marked a turning point in both the careers of Diana Ross and Michael Masser: it reinvigorated her singing career, coming immediately after her Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in her acting debut, Lady Sings the Blues; it introduced Masser to an audience that would become accustomed to his prowess at writing good love songs.