Diana Ross returns to Tanglewood after 28 years

LENOX — There are really only a handful of artist across the board who can truly be called musical legends. Diana Ross may be at the top of that list.

Ross will be at Tanglewood on Wednesday night as part of her latest national tour. She has been crisscrossing the country since February.

Her daughter, actress and singer Rhonda Ross, will open for her. Ross will be returning to Tanglewood for the first time in 28 years. She was last here in 1989.

Where to begin with Diana Ross? She and her co-stars in the Supremes were a hit-making machine for the Detroit-based Motown Record Company, headed by another music legend, Barry Gordy.

The string of No. 1 hits put together by the Supremes remains stunning. A total of 12 No. 1 hits, including five No. 1 singles in a row. For the trivia-minded, they were, in order, "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Come See About Me", "Stop! In The Name of Love!" and "Back In My Arms Again." All in 1964.

The group also charted seven more top 10 singles.

Ross left the Supremes in 1970. Her solo career generated six more No. 1 singles for the U.S charts, as well as a No. 1 single on the Japanese charts and in 1995, a No. 1 single, "Take Me Higher," on the dance charts.

The most telling statistic as to Ross' longevity is that, in the United Kingdom, Ross had at least one single in the UK Top 75 charts for every year from 1964 to 1996. That's a 33-year-old streak, and is a record for any artist in any musical genre since records and record sales began being tabulated.

Even now, Ross continues to rack up gold and silver albums both here and abroad as new compilation albums are released. Billboard estimates that Ross as a solo artist has sold about 16 million albums, while The Supremes have sold about 32 million, which includes singles released after Ross left the group.

This summer tour will, according to her fan club news, be a Motown revue, with the emphasis on the many hits she and the Supremes performed from 1963-69. There will also certainly be material from later albums and performances, as well as cover tunes by other artists.

Ross credits her lengthy success on stage and in the studio to a very close attention to detail.

"If we keep our attention on presenting good music with a good sound and good visuals," she told an interviewer in 2014, "that's really what the show is all about."

With those elements, said Ross, "the audience will come away with their own good memories of the song and the show. That will take care of itself."

Interestingly, while many artists often defer questions of which song is their favorite song, Ross has indicated that she has several.

"I like the song, 'I Will Survive,' " she told a reporter in 2016. "I like the song, 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough.' I like positive songs, because that's how I like to be within myself. I like to sing songs with positive energy."

It might be noted that both of the aforementioned numbers have regularly tuned up in Ross' sets this tour.

Reach staff writer Derek Gentile at 413-770-6977


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