Synopsis of Pop Music
"Reach out and touch somebody's hand,
Make this world a better place if you can..."
Some would say Diana Ross had it easy when she decided to become a solo artist: after all, she had several years of hit-making experience as the lead singer for the Supremes. Just the same, it's tough for a performer to forge a unique identity when she is so closely tied to a great success like the Supremes. Diana Ross overcame these obstacles to score several distinctive hits on the pop charts and also a respectable side-career as an actress. In the process, she recreated herself as an all-around entertainer.
Diana Ross’ solo career began when she left the Supremes in January of 1970. That summer, she hit the Top-20 with “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” a heart-tugging ballad that became Ross’ signature song and a centerpiece of her live act. She followed it with a #1 smash in her inspired, epic reworking of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell classic, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Building from a dramatic spoken intro to a multi-harmony crescendo, it was an instant classic. The one-two punch of these hits let the world know she had arrived as a solo artist.
Diana Ross continued to record throughout the next year, scoring Top-40 hits with songs like “Remember Me” and a lush remake of the Four Tops’ “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” She also starred in her own successful television special, Diana!, which included Danny Thomas and Bill Cosby. The next year, she realized a long-time ambition when she portrayed jazz legend Billie Holiday in the classic film Lady Sings The Blues. Her performance won her much critical acclaim, including an Oscar nomination, and also spawned a hit soundtrack album.
In 1973, Diana Ross returned to pop music with an album called Touch Me In The Morning. Its emotional and multi-textured title song gave her another #1 hit. She also released Diana And Marvin, an album of lush, romantic duets with Marvin Gaye. Although this album was an all-duet outing, both stars recorded their parts separately on different coasts. Their talent made the finished product a seamless affair and it scored a Top-15 hit with the sentimental “You’re A Special Part Of Me.”
Diana Ross returned to the film world in 1975 with Mahogany, a drama about the life and loves of a fashion designer. She also sang the songs on its soundtrack, including the gorgeous, soul-searching ballad “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To).” It became a #1 hit in early 1976 and was also nominated for the Best Song Oscar. That year, she also turned her attention to the disco boom with “Love Hangover,” a song that began like one of her trademark ballads but cleverly segued into a funky disco groove at the midway point. Like the “Theme From Mahogany,” it became a #1 hit.
As 1976 ended, Diana Ross returned to touring with An Evening With Diana Ross. This elaborate cabaret-styled showcase proved that she had made the transition from pop star to all-around entertainer. The next year, it became a television special and also spawned a successful double-album soundtrack. In 1978, Diana Ross returned to movie screens everywhere by playing the role of Dorothy in The Wiz, an urban take on the The Wizard Of Oz that was based on a hit Broadway musical. This film also featured stars like Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor.
Diana Ross once again returned to pop music in 1979 with the lavish, cosmopolitan-sounding pop of The Boss. The title track became a Top-20 hit and the spunky “It’s My House” also got a lot of radio play. In 1980, Diana teamed up with disco hitmakers Chic to produce Diana, an ultra-glossy disco outing that became a big-selling hit. “Upside Down,” a love lament built on a silky but propulsive groove, went to #1 on the pop charts and stayed there for four weeks. Ross also went Top-5 with the danceable self-pride anthem “I’m Coming Out.”
1981 began with a Top-10 hit for Diana Ross when "It’s My Turn," the ballad-styled theme from a Michael Douglas comedy, went to #9. She followed it with one of her all-time biggest hits in “Endless Love,” a duet with the song’s writer and producer, Lionel Richie. This tender ballad was the theme song from the film of the same name and stayed at #1 for an astonishing nine weeks. After this hit, she moved to RCA records and scored a Top-10 hit with a bouncy, electro-pop remake of the doo-wop classic “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?”
Diana Ross continued to score hits on RCA, usually involving her similarly-talented friends in the process. In 1982, she scored a hit with “Muscles,” a sexy dance tune written and produced by Michael Jackson. In 1984, Daryl Hall produced the dramatic hit “Swept Away” for her. The next year, she scored another notable hit with “Missing You,” a tribute to her departed friend Marvin Gaye that was written and produced by Lionel Richie. Ross returned to Motown at the end of the decade and also undertook a massive (and massively successful) world tour.
Today, Diana Ross remains a powerful force in the world of show business. She tours the world often and finds sold-out audiences wherever she goes. She has also continued her work as an actress on the small screen. In 1994, she played a woman suffering from schizophrenia in Out Of The Darkness. Most recently, she costarred with rising r&b star Brandy in the showbiz drama Double Platinum and was the guest of honor on a VH-1 Divas special. Whether singing or acting, Diana Ross is and always will be a legendary entertainer with a style all her own.
Artist Release History1970 - Diana Ross
1970 - Everything Is Everything
1970 - Ain't No Mountain High Enough
1971 - Diana! (Original TV Soundtrack)
1971 - Surrender
1971 - Lady Sings the Blues
1971 - I'm Still Waiting
1973 - Touch Me in the Morning
1973 - Diana & Marvin
1973 - Last Time I Saw Him
1974 - Live at Caesar's Palace
1975 - Mahogany
1976 - Diana
1977 - An Evening with Diana Ross
1977 - Baby, It's Me
1977 - Paradise
1979 - The Boss
1980 - Diana
1981 - To Love Again
1981 - Endless Love
1981 - Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
1982 - Silk Electric
1982 - Dynamic Diana
1983 - Ross
1984 - Swept Away
1985 - Eaten Alive
1987 - Red Hot Rhythm & Blues
1988 - Love Supreme
1989 - Workin' Overtime
1991 - The Force Behind the Power
1993 - One Woman
1993 - Christmas in Vienna (live)
1995 - Take Me Higher
1998 - Very Special Christmas
1999 - Every Day Is a New Day
2000 - Voice of Love
2000 - Stop! In the Name of Love
2000 - Take Me Higher
2000 - Gift of Love
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsAll The Great Hits (Motown)
Greatest Hits: The RCA Years (RCA)