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Artist: Diana Ross

Diana Ross

Bio

Diana Ross (born Diane Ernestine Earle Ross on 26 March 1944 in Detroit, Michigan, USA) is an American soul, R&B and pop singer and actress. Ross is one of the most successful female artists of her era, both due to her solo work and her role as lead singer of The Supremes during the 1960s. In 1959, Ross was brought to the attention of Milton Jenkins, the manager of the local doo-wop group The Primes, by Mary Wilson. Primes member Paul Williams convinced Jenkins to enlist Ross in the sister group The Primettes, which included Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown. In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the female entertainer of the century. In 1993, The Guinness Book Of World Records pronounced her the most successful female artist ever (the title is now attributed to Madonna), partly due to her combined total of eighteen number-one singles, six of them recorded solo and the remaining dozen from her work with the Supremes. She was also one of the few pop singers to find modest success in the acting world winning an Academy Award nomination for her role as Billie Holiday in the 1972 film, "Lady Sings the Blues" as well as having hits with other film roles such as "Mahogany", "Out of Darkness" and "Double Platinum", not to mention her role in "The Wiz". Ms. Ross has been awarded many lifetime achievement accolades from many organizations and media outlets, including BET, Soul Train, the NAACP Image Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement in 2011. Her professional vocal collaborators have included the following during her career: Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Julio Iglesias, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Westlife, and Smokey Robinson, among others. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
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Articles

Diana Ross Blues & Soul, Oct 1971

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MOTOWN'S MUCH-heralded first independent production centred on Diana Ross, proved to be all it was cracked out to be – and more! Screened on B.B.C. 2 on Saturday, September 18 (it is due to be shown on B.B.C. 1 at some later date) it was a lavish show that gave every indication that Miss Ross is more than just a good singer! In fact, the first shot of Diana singing the opening bars of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' on a beach – which then turned into a hilarious piece of comedy, proved that Diana is as good a comedienne as vocalist.

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Her first singing number was 'Don't Rain On My Parade' (from Funny Girl) and she was clad (as throughout the whole show) in a stunning gown. To the strains of her first solo hit, 'Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)' Diana stepped out into the audience to say hello to the younger members and this was a natural prelude to the introduction to the fabulous Jackson Five.

All smartly-dressed and sporting Afros, the group indicated why they are America's favourites – their choreography alone is quite something. They offered 'Mama's Pearl' – with little Michael Jackson really letting loose. To the opening strains of 'Walk On By' a la Isaac Hayes, the group went into another of their smashes, 'The Love You Save'.

Next scene moved to Michael, complete with tuxedo and tails, crooning to Frank Sinatra's 'It Was A Very Good Year' with appropriate lyrical changes. This led into a highly amusing comedy skit with Diana, centred on Michael saying a final "goodbye" to his sweetheart! On then to 'They Long To Be Close To You' with Diana singing breathlessly. Introducing special guest, comedian Bill Cosby, called for another change of costume(!) and this time, Diana appeared with a very appealing natural hairdo. A few words of comedy and the scene changes to show Bill with the Jacksons playing baseball. Then, one of the funniest spots of the whole show: Diana appeared as an extremely oversized young lady, Alberta, whose daddy owns the local candy store! Bill and Diana duetted on a hilarious number, 'You And Me'.

Another American comedian, Danny Thomas, is introduced next and he attempts to teach Diana one of his jokes. More mirth – and then the lady shows why she is one of America's top girl vocalists with her hit 'Remember Me'. Not only does she sing, but she moves as she sings, unlike many of her contemporaries. Her all round ability as a comedienne is then given full chance to bloom as she appears firstly as Charlie Chaplin, then as Harpo Marx and finally as W.C. Fields. There must be very few performers who could pull the whole thing off as successfully and convincingly as Diana did.

It was then the turn of The Jackson Five to appear again and they went straight into 'I'll Be There'. Taking a line each to kick off with, the group wailed 'Feelin' Alright' – and following Michael's exhortations, Diana came out to sing and dance with the group! Wow! The show closed inevitably with 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' and Diana excelled. The orchestra was perfect and the backing singers were even more prominent than on record. There was some truly superb photography – and then the closing number, Aretha's 'Call Me' with suitable lyrical changes as Diana thanks everyone for their participation.

All in all, Motown have a great deal to be proud of in both this spectacular and Miss Ross. Without any question, no other soul girl could have attempted this and brought it off. The only criticism I could find was that there were possibly too many comedy sketches, and although these gave Diana ample chance to prove her versatility as an all-round performer, perhaps a little more singing would have balanced it all out a bit more. With this spectacular behind her, her continual improvement as a vocalist, her current success (with 'I'm Still Waiting' topping the British charts for several weeks) plus the prospect of her first film (the life story of Billie Holiday) there can be few who would dispute that Diana Ross is truly a star!

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Top Albums

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The Ultimate Collection

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Diana

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All The Great Hits

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Love Hangover

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Chain Reaction

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Touch Me In The Morning

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I'm Still Waiting

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