Happy Birthday Diana Ross
Diana Ross turned 70 on March 26, provoking a rash of “tribute” stories but pop’s femme fatale refuses to be consigned to the past.
She has at least 22 concerts planned for the year, mainly within the US, after having spent much of last year touring in South America and the US.
And while – as The Daily Telegraph’s chief rock music critic Neil McCormick notes in his tribute piece – in the natural career arc of pop, “the hits became fewer and further between over succeeding decades, Ross has never made a record that seemed framed by a desperation to revive former glories. She still preserves an aura of class and mystery.”
Ross Had ‘Something More’
McCormick says there were mutterings in the ranks when Motown boss Berry Gordy selected her as the Supreme’s teenaged lead singer ahead of the possibly more accomplished Mary Wilson.
But “Ross had something more: presence, desire, sex appeal, she was someone you could not take your eyes off. And once she grabbed our attention with those fantastic Motown hits, she held it, for decade after decade, shining like someone who truly believed the spotlight belonged to her.”
Of today’s singers “Only Beyoncé seems to obviously carry the DNA of Ross. . . .
“Michael Jackson modelled parts of his high fluttery vocal on Ross and borrowed much of her diva-ish pose, a debt he repaid by writing and producing the hit Muscles for her in 1982.”
20th Century’s Iconic Star
Comments McCormick: “Ross is, without argument, one of the most iconic and definitive stars of 20th century popular music. . .
“I see her with a glint in her eye, teeth bared in a dazzling but fierce, take-no-prisoners smile, her slender sensuality at once provocative and coy. Of course, she’s delivering the kind of pristine vocal that fizzes like champagne on the glittering surface of a melody.
“Always immaculately self-styled, Ross is like pop’s version of a femme fatale, glamorous, mysterious, and ultimately unknowable.
She was, he suggests the perfect front for “the greatest pop music ever made.”