Back in '89 the big Boss of Motown Jheryl Busby (RIP) telephoned me from his US office to ask me if I would do him a personal favor and help with his artist Diana Ross in the UK. "Could I get her some cool press and somewhere for a secret gig to make her London trip fun for her?" Could I?? I was in heaven, she was always on the stereo in my home, my mum, my sisters, my girlfriends all loved her songs, as did I. She was the burning light of my favorite music label of all time Tamla Motown.
I found out that Soul II Soul were planning a massive gig in Brixton at the Academy and went to see Jazzie B in his Camden studio. "Jazzie" I said "would you like to put Diana Ross on your night as a secret performance for the Soul II Soul crowd?" He looked at me not quite believing me until I nodded my head and said "seriously" then the studio lit up with his smile from ear to ear - the night was a huge success and London buzzed for the First Lady of Motown.
My personal highlight was having dinner alone with Mr & Mrs Ross before the show at Mr Chows in Knightsbridge where she sat bobbing her head listening to the running order of her songs for the night off my Walkman wearing my Sony Boodo Khan DD100 headphones I looked across the table and the image froze in my mind forever, a true 'Oh My God' moment for me. She was a complete lady from every aspect, I was a very lucky guy from Gravesend and I'm still working with her music 29 years later on Kings Of Spins.
Diana Ross - Medley: Brown Baby/Save the Children
The Brixton Academy website - Brixton Academy Venue History
"Memorable shows included three consecutive nights with The Clash in 1985, at time when punk bands were banned from other venues and consequently Brixton Academy was rapidly becoming one of the most talked-about venues in Britain. Into the late 1980's, dance music was becoming a phenomenon. The acclaimed club nights 'Westworld', 'Energy' and 'Metamorphosis' events and surprisingly Diana Ross turned up for an impromptu free performance one night at 1.30am during a 3-day visit to London."