50 Years of Diana Ross’ “Diana Ross.”

Released: June 19, 1970

Label: Motown

Genre: R&B

Producer: Johnny Bristol, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson.


Diana Ross was the lead singer of the most successful girl group of all time (The Supremes,) & experienced crossover success at one of America’s first Black labels Motown. With twelve number one hits to their name, The Supremes were Motown’s most successful act and remain the best-charting girl group in US History.

Diana left the group in early 1970 to embark on a solo career, & her eponymous debut album was the intro to the boss, Ms. Ross. Diana Ross proved that she can could prosper without being the lead of her former successful singing group that began her journey as an entertainer.

…& guess what she did? THAT. Working with the legendary songwriting/producing team Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, they brought out something in Diana that made this album set the tone for her entire solo career.

While the songs on this album are mostly re-recordings by other Motown acts, Diana makes them her own, showcasing how much of a powerhouse performer she really is. The album was number one on the Billboard R&B albums & certified Gold by the RIAA!

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you: Diana Ross’ “Diana Ross.”

Side A:

Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

We can change things if we start giving, why don’t you… reach out and touch somebody’s hand. Make this world a better place, if you can.

The debut solo single for Diana was heavily influenced by gospel music, and one of the few songs she recorded to showcase how socially aware she was about the world she lived/lives in. A top ten hit, “Reach Out” is one of Diana’s most notable and popular records. The song has been covered by artists like Aretha Franklin and Shirley Caesar.

Now That There’s You

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

Another classic record from Ashford & Simpson shows how amazing Diana sounds with their production.

You’re All I Need To Get By

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

Diana’s cover of the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell classic is purely magical.

These Things Will Keep Me Loving You

Written by Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol & Sylvia Moy.

A cover of The Velvelettes classic hit, Diana’s version is flawless, giving it a more upbeat twist to it.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

Originally sung by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell in 1967, Diana’s version was similar with elements of classic music strings and spoken word passages..giving soul and gospel realness. Initially, Berry Gordy did not like the song with the spoken word passages and wanted the song to start with the climactic chorus and bridge. Ashford & Simpson convinced him to release an edited version of the song.

The song rose up to number one on the pop and R&B charts and changed the minds of many who’d thought Diana couldn’t have a successful solo career without The Supremes. “Ain’t No Mountain” received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Side B:

Something On My Mind

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

A cover of Syreeta Wright’s “Something On My Mind” has me ready to confess my feelings to the one I love chile!

I Wouldn’t Change The Man He Is

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

Here’s one of my favorite songs on this album. Like I always say, Ashford & Simpson had a way of bringing Diana into a level of comfort of singing that made her the boss she is today! I Wouldn’t Change The Man He Is was originally sung by Blinky.

Keep An Eye

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

Keep An Eye is a song that tells you that even your friends are not above taking your man. Diana originally sung this song on the Love Child album.

Where There Was Darkness

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

A wonderful tune. 🙌🏾

Can’t It Wait Until Tomorrow

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

A breakup song, Can’t It Wait Until Tomorrow showcases how beautiful Diana’s voice really is, even amongst a sad moment like a breakup.

Dark Side of The World

Written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson

The album closes out with Dark Side of the World, which has Diana explaining how much she is not going to make it without the love of her lover. It is a cover of Marvin Gaye.

Diana Ross would go on to have a successful & groundbreaking solo career that ventured into television, film & stage work, being an Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe Award winning actress for her performance in 1972’s Lady Sings The Blues.

Influencing many artists like Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Madonna, Ledisi and many more, one of the mighty pop divas of the 60s will always reign supreme. -MJ

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