March is definitely Diva Month. After celebrating the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin‘s birthday yesterday, we celebrate the birth of another great today: It’s The Boss, Miss Diana Ross!
There’s so much we need to say about this iconic woman. First of all, we should start by remembering how she became Motown’s First Lady in the 1960s, by lending her vocals to so many classics as one third of The Supremes.
For about a decade, this group churned out so many hits and undisputedly became the most successful act of the legendary record label. When The Supremes came out with a new song, it was considered a flop if it didn’t go to #1. That’s the standard they were held to!
In 1970, Diana Ross went solo and released her first album, which included a re-arranged version of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The song became the first of her 13 #1 hits. The epic re-arrangement of the song, including spoken verses have made it more well-known than the original.
Throughout the 70s, Miss Ross released a number of successful albums and singles which cemented her status as one of the greats in Pop and R&B music. Some of her most recognizable songs from this period include “Touch Me in the Morning,” the Disco anthem “Love Hangover” and “The Boss,” which gave her the famous nickname.
Miss Ross also proved to be a well rounded entertainer by taking on film as well as stage. She starred as musical pioneer Billie Holliday in Lady Sings the Blues, and took on the role of Mahogany. Both films were accompanied by music, the latter including her #1 hit “Do You Know Where You’re Going to?”
As the 70s faded and Disco was on the outs with the general public, Diana Ross turned to Nile Rodgers of Chic to update her sound. The result was the diana album (1980). diana was a defining moment in Miss Ross’ career. The album spawned “Upside Down” and the LGBT anthem “I’m Coming Out”, two of her biggest solo hits. The latter is also the opening number to her legendary performance in Central Park. Watch Diana run up to the stage to the explosive intro of this song. YAS!
The 1980s represented an experimental phase in her career. Diana Ross worked with new producers and gave her music new textures which explored synthesized and bass-driven tracks, driving her further towards becoming a Dance diva.
As the 90’s took hold, Diana showed no signs of slowing down. She continued to make music, from 1991’s new jack-influenced Workin’ Overtime to 1995’s Take Me Higher. The latter also included a supercharged cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, and a music video that put the spotlight on RuPaul and a few Diana Ross drag queens.
Beyond the music her iconic looks, aura, and diva attitude have been an influence for generations of divas.
Celebrate the iconic Miss Diana Ross with our playlist below: