To Miss Ross, On Her Birthday…

wpid-img_20150522_192039.jpgIt’s been more than four years since I created The Diana Ross Project, in an effort to re-focus the conversation around Diana Ross on her music and her impact as an artist.  I’ve always believed that Diana’s legacy has been unfairly affected by attention on her personal life, something that’s probably the result of many factors, not the least of which stem from her being 1) a woman and 2) an African-American.  Although the success of The Supremes rivaled that of The Beatles in the 1960s, and Diana’s solo career blazed the trail for every single pop/soul songstress to follow, Miss Ross isn’t always afforded the same respect by critics, or even fans.

It’s hard to summarize the impact she’s had on my life over the past 36 years, but I think fellow readers of this blog can probably understand it better than I could ever explain.  Diana’s voice has been a soothing calm at times, a fiery encouragement at others, and always a warm reminder of the many things for which I can be thankful.  Her vast catalog is endlessly fascinating to me, and remains inspiring fodder for my writing; just when I think I’ve penned my final words on a recording, that familiar Ross sigh will turn my attention right back to the keyboard, and I’ll find myself stumbling upon an entirely different interpretation of a song I’ve listened to a thousand times.

I’m not sure if Diana Ross has any idea that The Diana Ross Project exists, or if she’d give much thought to the musings of a verbose fan who feels the need to meticulously research every one of her recordings and place them into some kind of historical context.  But I hope on this day — her 72nd birthday — she truly understands the role she’s played in shaping the modern world.  In writing about her vocal style and the terrific songs she’s chosen to interpret over the years, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the evolution of Civil and Human Rights in the United States and beyond, and realized the importance of having an artist’s voice deliver the basic truths that bind us together as a society.

Happy Birthday…and here’s to many more.

This is a picture I drew in 1985, at the age of five, inspired by the album cover to WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE.

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About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
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30 Responses to To Miss Ross, On Her Birthday…

  1. Dear Paul,
    I am so happy that you created this wonderful project! I always enjoy and look forward to all your posts and it’s terrific to connect with you and other true fans. I hope someday to meet in person for a Diana concert (and wish she’d do a new show!) – and think this could be turned into an even bigger creation, such as a book 🙂 Happy Diana Birthday to you too!! 🙂 Lawrence

  2. Marvin SCheinman says:

    Paul – Just wanted to let you know that I read all your post and look forward to each new one. Your insight into what makes her singing and her music so special proves your appreciation of her talents. Plus you really know how to analyze music – very detailed and observant. I do hope she is aware of this sensational site. Just saw the above post – I think a book or a submission of your work to a music magazine (Rolling Stone, Billboard) sounds like an excellent idea! I’ll keep trying to get the message of your awesome site to her. Thanks for the quality writing!

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much Marvin — so glad you’re “along for the ride” here. It’s truly a passion of mine writing about music, and certainly that’s true of the music of Diana Ross and The Supremes. Whether Miss Ross ever becomes aware of this site, I’ll still keep analyzing the music, in hopes that more and more people become aware of the depth of her catalog and the scope of her talent!

  3. peter says:

    Happy Birthday, indeed! Paul, that was SO beautifully written – I had not idea La Ross was 72! Here’s to 72 and that she gets into the studio with a great producer for a new record in the fall!!!!!

    • Paul says:

      Thanks Peter — she makes 72 look great!! She’s one of the few artists of her generation whose voice is still clear and strong — and I think with the right people around her, a new album could finally gain her some of the critical attention she’s been missing over the years. Here’s hoping!

    • I hope so too! So many great artists today would love to work with her —

  4. Princess Diandra says:

    I too am a lifelong fan, and had no idea about this project. Kudos to you for sharing and keeping her many contributionson alive. I agree, for whatever reason she is not given much due credit, and I am sure sure someone close to her camp will show her this. And they should!

    • Paul says:

      Welcome to the Project 🙂 I hope you’ll enjoy the many reviews and articles that have been posted over the years, and look forward to your feedback!

      • Glam Jackson says:

        Thank you so much for this Amazing beautiful blog about The Legend Diana Ross .. I would like to follow you on Twitter if you have one. Thank you again.

      • Paul says:

        Hey! Thank YOU — glad you’re enjoying the blog!! My twitter account is: @PaulFromFox5 (it’s my work twitter, but I occasionally tweet Diana/Supremes info!!)

  5. Alexis Bryce says:

    Dear Paul,
    Thank you very, very much for your critiques on Diana’s music. They’ve been very interesting and informative. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Diana from the very beginning in 1964. I was so moved by her voice, even as a child, that the impact her music has had on my life is nothing short of earth-shattering! There isn’t a day that goes by without my playing something by her… she inspires me, she calms me, she makes me cry, she makes me laugh… oh such power! Thank you so much for your hard work. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts!

    • Paul says:

      Alexis, thanks for taking the time to respond. I know you know what I mean when I say I could never really put Diana’s impact on my life into words. I hope this blog is at least a way to repay Diana, The Supremes, and Motown for their rich influence on my life.

  6. Paul..First of all THANK YOU..!!!.for Your Message of Miss Ross through her Music and Persona.Have LOVED THIS LADY FOR 50+ YEARS…!!!!!…AND THAT WILL CONTINUE UNTIL GOD CALLS MY NUMBER.As a matue African American Male..She has been my mentor…inspiration and soulmate for that time without interruption.I love her deeply and feel that with the outpouring of Love and Acclaim she is receiving today for her God Blessed 72nd Birthday WORLDWIDE…SHE HAS TURNED THE CORNER…!!!…Saw her in concert a month ago and the adoration and love were through THE ROOF…!!!…and SOLD OUT..!!…She is in a Very Good Place presently and as a Fan and Observer of this Lady…SHE AIN’T BEEN LICKED YET..!!!…Keep up the GREAT WORK…!!!!

    • Paul says:

      Hey Billy!!! Yes…I totally agree…she seems to be in a great place right now, which makes me so happy as a fan. She’s been there for us for so many years, and I’m glad she seems to be enjoying life and is getting some of the credit for which she’s due. Now…we wait to see what’s coming next!!

  7. Rick says:

    I love Diana Ross. I’ve been a fan of hers for 40 years since love hangover was released in 1976. Over the years, I have boyght everyone of her albums as well as Diana Ross & The Supremes albums. She will always be my favorite artist.

    • Paul says:

      Rick — I know exactly how you feel 🙂 My earliest memories in life are of listening to my parents’ copy of WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE over and over and over again, and then making them drive around to find me a cassette copy of SWEPT AWAY.

      • peter says:

        That’s so amazing how she continued to attract fans way into the 80s! I remember vividly driving in my Mom’s station wagon as she blared LOVE CHILD from the AM Radio! I think I was 6!

  8. Happy Anniversary Paul, and thanks so much for all that you do for the site, I love your reviews and your insights are excellent.

  9. Chris Munro says:

    I absolutely love your site! Thanks so much for all you do here, it really is great work.

  10. I discovered this project 4 years ago when I was going through a really challenging time and was laid up in bed after an opperation. Music has always been a big deal and Miss Ross has always a part of my personal soundtrack but especially at that time (when I couldn’t do much other than read, surf the net and listen to music). I’m not even sure how I came across this blog, but to find someone who took the Ross legacy seriously and was giving us fans a blow by blow account of her career was a joy. You’ve taught me to appreciate songs and albums that weren’t high on my list and appreciate the production, history and mechanics of my favourites. I was so pleased when you then took on the mammoth step of covering also The Supremes back catalogue as that’s almost a separate journey in itself. I take my hat off as its been an honour to be a small part of this massive opus and in Diana Ross’ 72nd year I can’t think of a better tribute.
    P.S. I love the drawing!

    • Paul says:

      THANK YOU — I always look forward to hearing from you — you’ve been with me since the beginning, it seems. Love that I’ve connected with fans like you from around the country, and even world.

  11. John F says:

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you for all of your tireless efforts that go into this project; the research, organization and production. It is much appreciated and enjoyed by many, myself included. I have literally been a fan of Miss Ross my entire life (I’ve been told I would dance to the music of the Supremes while in my play pen).

    Although certain songs would resonate with me on a higher level other than merely enjoying them for their musicality, it wasn’t until I discovered your project that I really began to be fascinated by the analysis of the songs content, lyrics, interpretation, production, vocal performance and any little nuance that may have gone unnoticed before. Thank you for opening up my eyes and ears and mind.

    It is with great sadness that in just a few months Miss Ross will once again perform in my area and I will not attend. I simply couldn’t bear to witness the same show I have now seen (and HEARD) five times. I apologize to those people who live in areas where she doesn’t tour or those who don’t have the means to see her show by complaining of this fact. I only bring it up for one reason. And that, my friend, is because you always make it fresh again and I almost always listen to a Ross album after reading your latest entries. Thank you for that. Looking forward to future postings.

    Regards,
    John

    • Paul says:

      Hi John! Thank you so much for your kind words! What a pleasure it was to read your note — and I always love hearing about fans-since-birth! Writing about this music has really changed the way I listen to Diana Ross/The Supremes, and I’m constantly surprised by what I find when I delve into a new album.

      No explanation necessary in regards to missing Miss Ross in concert — I also skipped her last stop in Georgia, because I’ve seen the show before. I’m so glad she still tours and seems to enjoy performing live at this point in her career, and I hope to see her many, many more times in the future — but I think I’ll give myself a little time between shows!

  12. Vicken says:

    Paul, I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying your Project… your assessment of Diana’s vast body of work is superb and really deserves to be published in a book. It is an incredible piece of work and has made me reassess many of her albums!

    Congratulations on a fabulous Project and it’s nice to see that in addition to being very talented, you are very handsome as well!! hehe…

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! I so appreciate hearing this 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying the Project — looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts!

  13. Lee G Nichols says:

    Dear Paul…I meant to respond to this on our lady”s birthday, but…I am late as usual…but I wanted you to know that I am also reading and enjoying all your remarkably insightful posts! The first Supremes hit I really remember as a boy was “Stop!” in 1965! But it was the “Greatest Hits” album in the late summer of 1967 that hooked me…so I’m almost a fifty year fan! A dear friend of mine introduced me to your project, and I have been enjoying every post since, and checking in with your review as I listen to my old albums. So I just want to let you know that you have a new (old) fan out here! Your project is really a labor of love! Grateful Lee

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