1995, proved to be a landmark year for Diana Ross. It had now been 25 years since the ex first lady of The Supremes had launched her career as a solo artist and had gone from one of 3, to a woman out on her own as one of the biggest selling and iconic female solo artists of all time. And it was also the year, she would release arguably the last classic album of her career... The influence of Diana Ross in so many female Pop/R&B Divas that were to follow, cannot be underestimated. Ms Ross was arguably THE crowning music Diva of the 1970's through to the early 1980's, with very few rivals able to bring the right balance of magic, soul, drama and of course, glamour to a song. But, by the very end of the decade, it was fair to say that Diana, although still an undisputed legend, was being somewhat overshadowed by a new wave of leading female talent on the charts, most notably Madonna, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson. Plus, fellow 'old timer's, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin, had done much better work critically and commercially than the last few of Diana's albums. As the 80's gave way to the 90's, even more leading ladies of music would come along to overshadow Diana. Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton and Celine Dion especially, would have the success with a similar formula that Ms Ross had been the forefront of in her 70's hey day. But, a legend is always a legend. And one such as Diana Ross should never be counted out. Her 1991 album, The Force Behind The Power, had been her biggest success in Europe for at least a decade (if not the US), and her 1993 30th anniversary retrospective One Woman would go on to achieve multi platinum sales in the UK and be her biggest selling album ever there. With these foundations behind her, in the autumn of 1995, Diana would be back to take on the new girls at their game. R&B was perhaps at it's height in 1995, especially in her native US. Despite it's strong ( at least European) sales, one criticism of The Force Behind The Power, was that it was a bit too MOR and Diana had been playing it too safe and not tried to create an album that would appeal to a younger generation of music lovers-something she had tried to do so the album before but to dismal sales in the process, 1989's Workin' Overtime. This new Ms Ross album however, would successfully achieve the right balance of the two and appeal to both old and new. Take Me Higher, had a team of some of the top 90's R&B producers on board, from the Babyface camp of Kenny Edmonds to Yab Yum. For it's lead single however, it would be the hugely anthemic title track that was chosen to launch the project. Take Me Higher, of which was produced by legendary Diva producer Narada Michael Walden, was her most alive and fulfilling dance song for years, taking the energy of the likes of early 80's Disco hits Upside Down and I'm Coming Out, but bringing it bang up to date for 1995. Critically acclaimed, it became a huge #1 dance hit in the US (her first since 1984). Take Me Higher, alas failed to make a dent on the single charts, failing to enter the US Hot 100, and just becoming a UK top 40 entry by stalling at #32. Disgracefully too low for a song of this caliber and even more so as Ms Ross had promoted it too in the UK via Top Of The Pops. Still, Take Me Higher has well and truly lasted the test of time, and still is a firm favourite of fans and of Diana's herself being a frequent entry in her concert performances. The album Take Me Higher, would be released in the first week of September 1995. It would give Diana, her best reviews for years, being praised for her strong vocals and being a classy collection of mid tempo R&B tracks and signature Ross ballads. In fact, it contained only two dance songs, the title track and her cover of the Gloria Gaynor classic, I Will Survive. This would serve as it's 3rd and final UK single in February 1996 and outperformed both the lead single and follow up, the haunting ballad Gone (#36) by peaking at #14. Sales wise, it was not a success in the US, peaking at just #114 on the Hot 200, this continuing the downward trend of Ross albums in her home country. In the UK, although not as big as The Force Behind The Power, it still made it to #10 and spawned a trio of top 40 singles-something that many female artists now in the same position Ms Ross was back in the mid 90's, could only dream of having... 25 years on, Take Me Higher, still remains an album of pure class and excellence, with several songs from the project having a life of some form long after the album's release. Perhaps Diana chose to cover I Will Survive to prove a point home. Acts come and go, music trends change, but above all, she will still be here. And from that, we couldn't be more thankful.