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Diana Ross Sings Covers

March 26th, 2024 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

Today, March 26, Diana Ross turns 80. To mark that milestone, here’s a collection of La Ross doing cover versions, drawing from the 1970s and early 1980s.

It is claimed by some that Ross wasn’t even the second-best singer in The Supremes. That may or may not be so, but what she had over her two fellow Supremes was an excess of charisma, which found expression in her physical appearance and also in her vocal interpretation of the songs she performed.

This collection highlights the interpretative attributes of Ross, her charisma and her confidence in delivery. Her best, and best-known, cover is that of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, featured here in its full length from Diana’s self-titled debut album in 1970.

That cover is lightning in a bottle. Produced by Ashford & Simpson, also the song’s writers, the Ross version was arranged by Paul Riser, who had also arranged tracks like Gaye’s version I Heard It Through The Grapevine, My Girl, The Tears Of A Clown, What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted, Ross’ own Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand), and, later, The Temptations’ Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone. The Ross version completely reinvents the original, with Ross’ spoken intro barely hinting at the impending musical tsunami. The best vocal bit: when Diana goes “A-OW!”

Diana’s 1971 reworking of the Four Tops’ glorious Reach Out, I’ll Be There slows down the song — not in the pretentious ways of whispy-voiced-girls-with-guitars that blight TV ads these days, but a total reinvention, also produced by Ashford & Simpson, that builds up as it goes along.

On this collection, that track is followed by a straight, though renamed, cover of Aretha Franklin’s Call Me. Aretha, of course, was the subject of a previous … Sings Covers mix (available here). As was Al Green, though I know of no covers of his songs by Ross. I can imagine her covering Let’s Stay Together, and nailing it.

Some of the originals of songs featured here appeared on The Originals – Motown Edition, specifically the two Stylistics tracks, and Thelma Houstons Do You Know Where Youre Going To, which in Ross hands became the Theme of Mahogany. That mix also includes a couple of originals of Supremes tracks.

Marvin Gaye looms large in this collection. On two tracks, Diana duets with him, three are covers of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell originals, and half a track covers Marvin from his What’s Going On album (which was Recovered in 2021. On that collection, Dizzy Gillespie covers Save The Children). On April 2, we will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s murder. Of course, Diana Ross later recorded a song in tribute to Marvin, titled Missing You.

The tracklisting provides the year of Ross’ version and the name of the act that recorded the song’s best-known version, not necessarily the original artist.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes self-covered covers. PW in comments.

1. What You Gave Me (1978 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)
2. Baby, I Love Your Way (1983 – Peter Frampton)
3. I Can’t Give Back The Love I Feel For You (1971 – Syreeta)
4. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1970 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)
5. You Are Everything (with Marvin Gaye) (1973 – The Stylistics)
6. Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart (with Marvin Gaye) (1973 – The Stylistics)
7. You’re All I Need To Get By (1970 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)
8. Reach Out, I’ll Be There (1971 – The Four Tops)
9. I Love You (Call Me) (1970 – Aretha Franklin)
10. Brown Baby/Save The Children (1973 – Nina Simone/Marvin Gaye)
11. Something (1970 – The Beatles)
12. Theme From Mahogany (1976 – Thelma Houston)
13. Too Shy To Say (1977 – Stevie Wonder)
14. (They Long To Be) Close To You (1970 – Carpenters)
15. I Won’t Last A Day Without You (1973 – Carpenters)
16. Where Did We Go Wrong (1978 – Maureen McGovern)
17. Imagine (1973 – John Lennon)
18. Smile (1976 – Charlie Chaplin)
19. All Of Me (1972 – Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra a.o.)
20. I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl (1977 – Bessie Smith)

GET IT!

Peviously in Sings Covers:
Al Green Sings Covers
Aretha Franklin Sings Covers
Tina Turner Sings Covers

More Mix CD-Rs
Covered With Soul
1970s Soul

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  1. amdwhah
    March 26th, 2024 at 08:06 | #1

    PW: amdwhah

  2. March 26th, 2024 at 13:38 | #2

    Oooh, looking forward to listening to this loud! Thanks!

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