Fortune and Fame, Diana Ross is the Name
Glamour, fashion and fame, let’s not forget singing was her main game. From lead singer to solo boss, we can’t talk about the disco with mentioning Diana Ross. Yes honey, Ms. Ross is the topic of discussion for today’s profile. She was one of Motown’s most talented and famous artist. From the Supremes to being the supreme, Diana Ross was the look, voice, and star of any show.
Transition for the Supremes
As a teenager, Diana Ross started singing with a group of friends called the Primettes alongside a male group, the Primes. They were invited to audition for Motown Records. Ross spoke with childhood friend, William “Smokey” Robinson about bringing the Primettes to Motown.
The Primettes finally auditioned for Motown executives. While they were singing, Berry Gordy heard Ross’s voice on the way to a meeting. He stopped in to ask the group to sing the song, “There Goes My Baby” once more. He was eager to sign them but once he learned their ages, he advised them to come back after finishing high school.
In the late 1960s, the Primettes began recording their own music at Hitsville U.S.A studio. Many of their songs were written by Smokey Robinson, who was vice president of Motown at the time. Gordy signed the girls in 1961 under the condition that they changed their name. Florence Ballard, a member of the group, came up with the name “Supremes”.
The rest of the members, including Ross, were not fond of the name because they were afraid it would be mistaken for a male group. Gordy signed them with the name regardless of this fact. Their first number one hit, “Where Did Our Love Go”, paved the way for the rest of the success to come.
The group was a hit both in America and overseas. They became Motown’s most successful vocal act throughout the sixties. They were blowing up rapidly, but, of course, with fame comes a few issues. Due to some weight and alcoholism issues with one of the group members, Ballard, Gordy terminated her from the group and replaced her with Cindy Songbird.
The group went from being the Supremes to Diana Ross & the Supremes. The success of this group was out of this world and Gordy knew that he had a goldmine in these talented women, especially Diana Ross.
Solo Act: Diana Ross
The group went on to record classics such as “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “Baby Love” just to name a few. By the early 1970s, Gordy was ready for Ross to pursue a solo career as he felt it was her time to shine on her own. He expected so much of her and this took a bit of a toll on Ross’ health.
This did not stop Gordy from making Ross as big a success as the group. Ross released her first solo debut that featured “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. One of the most precious moments we all remember is her inviting Michael Jackson on stage to sing “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”; it was said that she discovered the Jackson 5 but she denies having anything to do with their discovery. Both her and the Jackson 5 were at on top of the world and it was just the beginning for both of them.
In 1972, Ross recorded her first film debut for her first film, Lady Sings the Blues. The soundtrack reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard 200. Not long after this hit the ceiling, she recorded her second number one hit, “Touch Me in the Morning”. From then Ross went from stage to stage projecting her best qualities both in music and film.
She was loved so much that she became the first entertainer invited to the Imperial Palace in Japan to perform for a private audience that included Empress Nagako. She then became the first African- American woman to co-host the 46th Academy Awards. We wanted to see her everywhere all the time. Her presence on stage, in her music, and in films was mesmerizing to say the least.
Ross’ most successful album to date is Diana. It includes classics such as “I’m Coming Out” appealing to the dance audience she built with her earlier album, The Boss. She left Motown records at the end of 1980. She signed with RCA Records with a $20 million contract and complete production control over her seven-year term with them. She was the music industry’s most expensive recording deal in history.
We can’t go on without giving her all the props for her part in Mahogany with Billy Dee Williams, The Wiz with Michael Jackson, and the music she produced for these titles and many other favorite classic films we have today. Diana Ross was a one stop shop. Her status has influenced many artists today to put forth their best efforts in everything they do.
She was the epitome of “I can do all things” and she exceeded the expectations of everyone involved in her career. She was the most famous, glamourous, talented woman in the game making her iconic; legendary.
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