“And there’s certainly not enough Diana Ross”

BlueI often think about Diana Ross. And today this, perhaps, surprising fact emerged during a conversation with my friend Jayne.

We were sat in the window of ‘Lox and Caper’ on Hanover Street talking mostly Coming Home as you might expect. When Jayne noticed the torrential sheets of rain falling on the street outside and said:

“If it’s not going to be sunny then I don’t mind dramatic weather like this. What I find really depressing are those grey, blank, no weather days – no wind, no rain…”

At which point I bring Diana Ross into our conversation as Jayne has of course begun to quote from the lyrics of one of my favourite songs, the magnificent ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ 

“No wind, (no wind)
No rain, (no rain)
Nor winter’s cold…”

See, there’s certainly not enough Diana Ross in all of our lives.

Later, on the bus, I take Jayne through the basic history of Diana Ross and me. A difficult start when I don’t much like ‘Baby Love’ when The Supremes first emerge in 1964, but gradually  getting to like them a lot. Feeling very put out for the others when they become Diana Ross & the Supremes later in the decade and not surprised at all when miss big-shot then goes solo. And then overwhelms me by releasing some of the most beautiful music I’ve then heard:

  • Reach out and touch (Somebody’s hand)
  • Ain’t no mountain high enough
  • Remember me
  • I’m still waiting
  • Surrender
  • Touch me in the morning

That’s a pretty well perfect pop sequence. And I never minded at all when Tony Blackburne, her biggest British fan, would play her new single, enthuse over it and then play it again on the Radio One Breakfast Show.

I wasn’t the sort of kid you’d expect to love Diana Ross as I was heavily into Neil Young and Nick Drake in those early 1970s years. But I also loved Dusty. And you couldn’t love Dusty and not also admire a totally on form Diana Ross.

So I still think of her, wonder how she’s doing and wishing her well, not hearing much of her these days.

Before Jayne gets off at her stop we’ve covered Berry Gordy, Lady Sings the Blues and neither of us much liking the disco years. But this post is entirely celebratory, so let’s finish with a bit more Diana Ross – because there’s not enough of her around.

12 thoughts on ““And there’s certainly not enough Diana Ross”

  1. Cathy Alderson

    I went right off her when she was being all diva-ish and not allowing the crew to make eye contact with her. I’d rather be jobless than agree to that!

    Reply
      1. Cathy Alderson

        The music will always be beautiful.
        (But I’d love to tell her to get over herself!) : )

  2. Tom Adrahtas

    Cathy, that’s what happens when you believe rumors. At 72, Diana Ross is the opposite of the diva-ish image some maintained about her. She’s thriving, sounds and looks great, and has raised 5 children who are marvels. AND she gave us all that great music.

    Reply
  3. jbaird

    I loved, love, and still love the Motown sounds. Black-ish is my favorite comedy on TV now, a satire, and costars one of Diana’s daughters. She is a real kick. So talented!

    I am glad I grew up with the Supremes. Loved Dusty, too, from afar, from across the Pond.

    Reply
  4. memoirsofahusk

    There’s something in the air (no let’s not get into Thunderclap Newman!) – a Facebook friend last week posted about the Supremes – which took me straight back to an evening in the then world famous (well, sort of) Batley Variety Club – as I watched the Supremes, the main band on tour with them came and stood behind us and one of them leant on my chair – teenswoon! I’ll leave you to guess who they were 😉 The show was great though sadly it was the Supremes minus Diana.

    Unlike you I do like Baby Love – find it joyous, I love the Diana songs you mention, except Touch Me in the Morning – I find that so painful to listen to the pain overrides any pleasure I might find in her art.Which goes to show what a great piece it is! Sorry, going on a bit here, but I loved Lady Sings the Blues which introduced me to the amazing Billie Holiday. Ahhh.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Mary, ‘Touch me in the morning’ is indeed a very great piece of work. And over the years I have come to love ‘Baby Love’ too. When there was that initial fuss in the 60s about Motown, largely celebrated by Dusty Springfield on a Ready Steady Go special I was initially drawn to the slightly rawer sounds of Martha and the Vandellas and Mary Wells, so at first found the Supremes a bit smooth.

      I really loved the Supremes after Diana too. Loved Jean Terrell’s voice – Up the ladder to the roof, Nathan Jones, Stoned Love and that whole gorgeous album they made with Jimmy Webb.

      And was that The Temptations standing behind you at Batley Variety Club?

      Reply
  5. memoirsofahusk

    Got it in one (not surprised). Three great songs you chose – closer to heaven, up that ladder! Motown – still have 45 of Heard it through the Grapevine bought with saved up pocket money – & I have the silver Motown Chartbusters volume 3 LP With Martha Reeeves for a bit of Dancin in the Sittin room!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Ever since I started buying LPs again I’ve been looking for a good quality copy of Chartbusters volume 3 but they’re all battered by the number of parties they must have been to.

      Before I got my job in a supermarket my pocket money was 2/6d. So it used to take me 3 weeks to save up for a single, when they were 6/8d. Or I’d wait ’til they dropped out of the charts, then friendly Alan who ran the local record shop – imagine that – would let me have them for 2/6d!

      Reply

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