Cultural Percussionist

Diana Ross Day

Diana Ernestine Ross (born March 26, 1944 Detroit, MI) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act, and are the best charting girl group in US history, as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. Ross’ success as lead singer of the Supremes helped to make it possible for future African-American R&B and soul acts to find mainstream success.The group released a record-setting twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including “Where Did Our Love Go“, “Baby Love“, “Come See About Me“, “Stop! In the Name of Love“, “You Can’t Hurry Love“, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On“, “Love Child“, and “Someday We’ll Be Together“.

Following her departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross released her eponymous debut solo album that same year, which contained the Top 20 Pop hit “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and the number-one Pop hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough“. She later released the album Touch Me in the Morning in 1973; its title track reached number 1, as her second solo #1 hit. That same year, her album Lady Sings the Blues, which was the original soundtrack of her film based on the life of jazz singer Billie Holiday, went to no. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, selling more than 300,000 copies within its first 8 days of release. By 1976, the Mahogany soundtrack included her third number-one hit, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)“. Her eponymous 1976 album included her fourth number-one hit, “Love Hangover“. In 1979, Ross released the album The Boss. Her 1980 semi-eponymous album diana reached number 2 on the US Billboard albums chart, and spawned the number-one hit “Upside Down“, and the Top 5 international hit “I’m Coming Out“. Ross’ final single with Motown during her initial run with the company achieved her sixth and final US number-one Pop hit, the duet “Endless Love“, composed for the Brooke Shields film of the same name, by and performed with Commodores front man, Lionel Richie. Ross and Richie performed the song on the telecast for the 54th Academy Awards, where the song was nominated in the category of “Best Song”. The success of the single launched Richie’s record-breaking solo career.

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