- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2013

“Motown: The Musical,” which opened in April on Broadway in New York City is a big hit. The story revolves around the early days of the Motown label and founder Berry Gordy’s romance with Diana Ross, one of Motown’s biggest stars and the face of the label. Miss Ross, 69, kicked off her American tour in Palm Springs, Calif., on Aug. 3 and arrives at Wolf Trap on Aug. 14. This week the List looks at Miss Ross‘ Top 10 hits.

  • 10. “Remember Me” — Reached No. 16 in the U.S. in 1971 and peaked at No. 7 in the U.K. It was written by the songwriting duo of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson (Ashford and Simpson). In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the “most successful female music artist in history” for her success in the U.S. and the U.K. with 70 hit singles.
  • 9. “Chain Reaction” — This 1986 song only reached No. 95 in the U.S. but scored Miss Ross her second No. 1 hit in the U.K. The Bee Gees wrote and produced this classic which reinvented the singer’s career in Europe. It sounded straight out of the 1960s.
  • 8. “Upside Down” — This disco anthem was Miss Ross’s fifth solo No. 1 hit in the U.S., holding down the spot for four weeks. It was the first single from her 1980 “Diana” album and became a huge hit worldwide. The song was listed at No. 62 on Billboard’s All-Time Hot 100 list in 2008. 
  • 7. “Love Hangover” — This carefree disco song was her fourth solo No. 1 hit in the U.S., reaching the top of the charts in 1976. In that same year, Billboard dubbed Miss Ross “female entertainer of the century.” The song was featured in Diane Keaton’s film “Looking for Mr. Goodbar.”
  • 6. “Touch Me in the Morning” — Songwriters Michael Masser and Ron Miller were hired by Motown, and in 1973 wrote this song for Miss Ross and it earned her a second solo No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts. In the same year, she won an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for best actress in her acting debut in “Lady Sings The Blues.”
  • 5. “Endless Love” — Sung as a duet with Lionel Richie, who wrote the song, Miss Ross notched her sixth and final No. 1 solo hit in the U.S. with this song in 1981. In so doing, she became the first solo female singer to earn six No. 1 hits in the U.S. It was also her last hit under the Motown label before she joined RCA. The song was used as the theme for the Franco Zeffirelli’s fim “Endless Love” starring Brooke Shields.
  • 4. “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” — This gospel-influenced song was Miss Ross‘ first solo single for Motown after leaving the Supremes. While it only peaked at No 20 on the Billboard charts, it became one of her most popular tunes.
  • 3. “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” — This was the theme song for the 1975 movie “Mahogany” starring Miss Ross. It became a No. 1 hit in the U.S. and was nominated for an Academy Award.
  • 2. “I’m Still Waiting” — It only reached No. 63 in the U.S., but this charming and touching song was a huge hit in the U.K. in the summer of 1971 after being heavily promoted by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Tony Blackburn. At first, the song was not released as a single but Mr. Blackburn kept playing it and suggested Motown release it as a single. The label did, and it became her first solo No. 1 hit in Britain.
  • 1. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” — The song became Miss Ross‘ first solo No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts in 1970 and was nominated for a Grammy award. It was written by the songwriting duo Ashford and Simpson before they joined Motown, and was first recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967, peaking at No. 19.

Bonus track: “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” — Reached No. 2 in the U.K. in 1991 and was barely beaten out for the coveted Christmas No. 1 spot by Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” The song failed in the U.S. The boy band Westlife had a No. 2 hit with the song in 2005 in the U.K. featuring Miss Ross.

Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: Billboard, officialcharts.com, Wikipedia, Recorder