The fact that Annie Lennox’s album DIVA is 20 years old is extraordinary because I can remember the day I bought it, 20 years ago. It really does seem like it was only yesterday.


I live in New York so DIVA was scheduled for a release date 6 weeks after its European release. I simply couldn’t wait that long. I was also afraid it might never see a US release seeing Eurythmics didn’t get the same attention in America that they received in the rest of the world. I’d also heard that Annie didn’t particularly care if DIVA was released State-side.


I had very mixed emotions regarding DIVA and what it would sound like. I’d already heard ‘Why’ and ‘Primitive’ and, while I liked those songs very, very much, I didn’t fancy an entire record filled with ballads. I was hoping for something up tempo to listen to. As it turned out I would not be disappointed.


I drove to my local record shop, Slipped Disc, in Valley Stream, and picked up the import copies of DIVA on vinyl and cassette. The CD was available but I had not bought a CD player yet! I loved the record sleeve. It reminded me of the Eurythmics’ Savage era so I saw that as a good thing.


I played the cassette in the car on my way home and knew upon first listen that ‘Walking On Broken Glass’ was going to be a huge single for Annie. Every song on DIVA seemed to get better than the next one. There wasn’t a bad song in the bunch. My personal favourite was ‘Little Bird’ and I ended up playing that one over and over again until the end of the summer…. and then again and again once it was finally released as a single in early 1993.


I recall the summer of 1992 being very influenced by the presence of DIVA. I took that cassette with me everywhere and played it constantly at full volume. DIVA was definitely the soundtrack of that summer. Little did I know that DIVA would become a massive success in America and become part of the soundtrack to a generation. I was shocked…. Well, no, I wasn’t shocked… I should say I wasn’t surprised that it was successful.


Every once in a while the stupid masses get it right… It deserved all the success it achieved, but I was so used to having Annie all to myself that I was amazed to see people from all walks with their own personal copies of DIVA. It was getting airplay absolutely everywhere and everyone seemed to know all of the singles and had their favourite songs off of it. It was nice to see Annie finally get the attention she deserved after being the one and only Eurythmics fan (that I knew of) since the mid-80s. And I was well pleased with myself for being so far ahead of the curve!


It was also fantastic to see DIVA get so much press. I was constantly setting the video player up to record dozens of interviews and performances during that time period. You couldn’t escape Annie, or DIVA, even if you had tried.


DIVA also happens to be the very first CD I ever bought. My parents gave me a CD player on Christmas 1992 and an assortment of CDs they knew I’d like. I ran out the next day and bought DIVA on CD. It was just a big chain that’s now long gone. Guess what was playing when I entered the store? That’s right! DIVA. I bought two DIVAs that day… the standard and the exclusive one with the picture CD with the interview and feathers inside the package. I still have the latter. The former was replaced several times over the years.


Even though DIVA is now 20 years old it sounds timeless. It’s also the CD that appears in just about everyone’s collection out of all of Annie’s material. Anytime I see DIVA staring back at me from the wall of a CD collection, I know I’ll have something to talk about. I think Annie will always be best remembered for Sweet Dreams and that is, clearly, her signature song but I think DIVA stands out as her signature album.