This sentimental ballad, written by Ross' "Endless Love" duet partner Lionel Richie, finds the singer expressing her grief over losing her friend and former Motown labelmate Marvin Gaye, who was shot and killed by his own father in 1984.
"[The song] actually came out of a conversation that Smokey Robinson and I had one evening about how we were missing Marvin and what he meant to us, as well as to music," Ross recalled. "Then Lionel and I got to talking about how we need to tell people that we love them while they're still alive. Lionel used all this to write that beautiful and special song."
This was Ross' sole #1 R&B hit during her tenure at RCA from 1981-1988. Despite returning to Motown, the site of her greatest hits, Ross never reached the top of the chart again. The closest was #3 with "Workin' Overtime" in 1989.
The music video was filmed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and features clips of Gaye and other Motown stars who died, including Florence Ballard (one of Ross' fellow Supremes), and Paul Williams of The Temptations.
After three weeks at #1, this was displaced on the R&B chart by another Marvin Gaye tribute: "Nightshift" by the Commodores.
In 1973, Ross and Gaye released the duets album Diana & Marvin, featuring the crossover hits "You're A Special Part Of Me" and "My Mistake (Was To Love You)."
This was sampled on several hip-hop songs, including Master P's "Gangstas Need Love" and The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Miss U," both from 1997.
This was one of several Diana Ross songs that Whitney Houston covered in 1997 for her Classic Whitney: Live from Washington, D.C. concert. Houston dedicated the tune to several famous people who'd recently died, including Princess Diana, The Notorious B.I.G., and Tupac Shakur.