Celebrating the Queen of Motown: Diana Ross

As the leading lady of the Supremes and her own solo career, living legend Diana Ross has contributed to many layers of America’s soundtrack. The Queen of Motown is turning 75 on March 26 and celebrating it in a big way by kicking off a “Diamond Diana” tour in Los Angeles that lets her fans celebrate with her. What better way to honor ‘The Boss?’

The Supremes

Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944 in Detroit, Michigan. As a teenager, she began singing in the group the Primettes with friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin. Martin eventually left the group, but the remaining members went on to become the legendary successful trio known as the Supremes.

In 1961, the group signed to Motown Records, and three years later landed their first number one hit with “Where Did Our Love Go?”

The group went on to break music records with a streak of four more singles topping the charts from 1964 to 1965, including “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again.”

 

The Supremes became the first U.S. group to have five songs in a row reach number one. In all, the group had 12 number one hits through 1969 including “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Love Child,” and “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

 

The Solo Years

In 1969, Ross left the Supremes to pursue her solo career. She was able to maintain her magic for making hits with the Top 20 “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” and the number one “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Other hit songs for Ross from the 1970s included “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” and the dance classic “Love Hangover,” with all three tracks reaching number one on the pop charts.

In 1972, Ross began flexing her acting chops and starred in the Billie Holiday biopic, Lady Sings the Blues, garnering her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She went on to star in classic films like Mahogany and The Wiz.

In the 1980s, Ross teamed up with Nile Rodgers for the platinum selling album Diana, featuring the number one hit “Upside Down,” and the Top 5 track, “I’m Coming Out.”

She landed on the Top 10 charts with “It’s My Turn” and then reached number one again, this time with Lionel Richie on the 1981 duet “Endless Love,” from the film of the same name.

On her new label, RCA, Ross released the albums, Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1981), which offered two more Top 10 hits, and Silk Electric, which had the Top 10 single “Muscles,” written by Michael Jackson.

She returned to Motown Records near the end of the 1980s and released the albums Workin’ Overtime and The Force Behind the Power. In the 2000s, Ross continued putting out albums including Blue and I Love You.

Ross has had a career that spans more than five decades and shows no signs of slowing down. She has won major awards including a Golden Globe, a Tony Award, and several American Music Awards. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 with the Supremes. In 2007, Ross received Black Entertainment Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award. That same year she was honored by the Kennedy Center for her contributions to the arts. In 2012, Ross received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, but despite being nominated 12 times, has never received an actual GRAMMY Award. In 2016, Ross received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, and in 2017 she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement honor at the American Music Awards.

Diana Ross is truly the boss, because her legacy has not only impacted music, but fashion and culture across many generations and genres.

We want to wish Diana Ross a happy 75th birthday!

About the Author

Shameika Rhymes
Shameika Rhymes

Shameika Rhymes is a journalist of all trades. She can usually be found producing television news and has written for outlets like ET Online, ESSENCE, EBONY Magazine, JETMag.com, Shondaland.com, SoulTrain.com, WEtv.com and her own website, www.themofochronicles.com. Follow her on Twitter @Mofochronicles @WriterShameika