Diana Ross’ birthday was last week, and I missed it.
I don’t know how that happened. It’s one of my personal High Holy Days.
Born on March 26, 1944, Diana Ross first came to fame with the Motown Sound of “The Supremes”
No, not this bunch…
Originally called the Primettes, the Motown Girl Group took America by storm with their first album. Released in 1962, “Meet The Supremes” included “Baby Don’t Go” and “Your Heart Belongs To Me”. The Supremes didn’t really cross over into the mainstream until 1964 when “Where Did Our Love Go” was released and reached the No 2 spot on the US charts. It was No 1 on the US R & B charts at the same time.
From the start, Diana was destined to be the lead singer. Her voice, according to Barry Gordy could take the Motown sound across the color line in mainstream America. And it did.
The daughter of a US Army Soldier and a School Teacher, Diana wanted to be a fashion designer. She studied design and seamstress skills (can you say Home Ec?) while in Cass Technical High School, graduated a semester ahead of her class, and was voted “best dressed girl”. This should surprise no one, she always looks awesome!
She joined the Supremes in 1959, there were some personnel changes…ahem…and she, at Mr. Gordy’s insistance became the lead singer.
The Diva in her eventually led to the group’s name change to “Diana Ross and The Supremes”. And eventually, she left, went her own way and became the superstar we all know and love.
The Supremes continued to record and perform, but Diana was a brighter star, and one of the biggest money makers at Motown.
She became a movie star as well. “Lady Sings The Blues”, the…ahem…story of Blues Great Billie Holliday was her first movie and she was nominated for an academy award. The movie was nominated for five Oscars in all, and won none. Liza Minelli took home the statuette for “Cabaret”. Of course, I was torn! They were both great performances by totally awesome singers!
The movie resembled the real story very little. Billie Holliday looked nothing like Diana, and her on screen lover, Billy Dee Williams looks about as much like Louis McKay as I do.
But, it’s Hollywood, and Billie Dee Williams in the 70s brought in the movie goers…so to heck with accuracy! The rest of Diana’s films didn’t fare so well.
Thankfully, she didn’t stop singing and recording.
She’s been married twice, has five children, and has helped and encouraged her brothers and sisters in business, college, and life. She’s also a grandmother.
As a solo performer, she’s had over 25 top ten singles, 14 top ten albums, and made nine films.
If you add in her time with the Supremes, she’s sold over 75 MILLION albums!
Sorry Miss Ross…happy belated birthday…you may be a Diva and this may really be Billie Holiday’s birthday, but you’re still a superstar!