Diana Ross- Queen of Disco

The Rise of Disco

Disco emerged in the 1970’s, mainly a music genre that was played in the nightlife and nightclubs. Studio 54 was also a popular club that was known for playing Disco music, making dancers bust out every single move they had in their body, bringing black music to life. This era was a time when black people became confident in themselves and that their afros were sure to be seen in a crowd. Synthesizers, electric pianos, and string sections were the instruments that you would be able to recognize in Disco music. Diana Ross was one of those artists who made Disco music what it was and how we remember it today. She always had a unique style to her music, and especially to her look and her infamous afro. She was surely a force to be reckoned with. 

Household Name in the 1960's

In Diana Ross’s early life in her music career, she was very well-known before her solo music was played on repeat during the Disco era. However, before she became a solo artist, she was one of the three women who sang in the music group, “The Supremes.” Signing with Motown Records in 1961, these women were already off to a great start. They were considered the best female group in the 1960’s, making their twelve songs become No. 1 from 1964-1970. However, Diana was determined to branch out and explore the world of music on her own, having much potential. She eventually left “The Supremes,” and became a solo artist in 1970. The rest is history, of course. She began touring around the country, appearing at nightclubs in Miami and Los Angeles. 

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

Originally sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, this version of the song that Diana released was her first solo song that became a hit in 1970, created by Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. During Ross’s career of singing, these two people became her writers for most of her music. This song consists of hyperbole images to express someone’s love for another as said in the lyrics, “Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you, babe.” However, this well-known song was first recorded on a crossover track with “The Supremes” and “The Temptations. When Diana was asked to record this song as a solo after this track, she surprisingly refused as she didn’t know this would be one of her most rememberable songs. She later then accepted this offer, recording for Motown in 1970 that let her unique singing style break through in this song. 

Tranferring to Disco

This was Diana Ross’s time to shine! After creating many songs that became popular during the early 70’s, she wanted to create music that aimed more towards the nightlife and what everyone wanted to listen to at the time since nightclubs were on the rise. Her hit song, “Love Hangover,” was a popular Disco song that reached the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976, and became the staple in many nightclubs. In the beginning of the song, it starts out very slow, and then becomes a fast, disco dance song, and that is what made it so appealing to others. Her and producer, Hal Davis, wanted the song to feel like a a dizzy rush of joy, that is often felt in these nightclubs. As a Motown singer, Ross was used to singing songs catered towards this genre instead of Disco. People often questioned why she got into Disco when she couldn’t really figure out the style of this genre herself. However, in order to capture the attention of her listeners, Hal Davis figured out a cleaver way to do so. Davis gave Ross a glass of Vodka at night in the studio and put some strobe lights on in order to make it feel as if she was in the club, and this worked. She really was able to understand the feel of what Disco music should sound like, and “Love Hangover” began the steal the hearts of many in nightclubs. 

Conclusion

Diana Ross was nowhere near short of making hit songs. She was a household name in the 70’s and 80’s because people thought she was all that and a bag of chips! Her afro and sense of style was always recognizable when she took the stage to perform her hit songs. Ross was indeed multi-talented. In fact, she was able to take on acting roles and starring in musicals and theatre performances. She also took on the role of one of the characters in “The Wiz.” Though Ross’s songs were most popular in the 70’s and 80’s, her music is still played today by many, which shows how popular she was and how much she had an impact on the music industry.

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