The beginning of Diana Ross’s solo career conveniently coincides, at least for SiriusXM, with the change in decades from the 60s to the 70s. She had fifteen Top 40 singles in the 70s (including two duets with Marvin Gaye), four of which went to #1. A chart oddity: those four were also the only Top 10 songs she had in that decade. While I think I discovered this on my own within the last few years, I’ve since learned through reading on the Internet I’m definitely not the only one to have noticed. I’ll admit I was surprised by this at first, as I could easily have believed “Remember Me” or “Last Time I Saw Him” to be Top 10 material.
This #1/non-Top 10 dichotomy broke down soon after the 80s began. Ross struck early in the summer of 80 with her fifth solo #1, “Upside Down,” but by the end of 82, she had five songs that had peaked between #5 and #10. Tack on her huge #1 duet with Lionel Richie, “Endless Love,” and her last Top 40 hit, the #10-peaking “Missing You” in early 85, and the final tally for her solo phase is an impressive, much less odd-sounding six #1 songs, six other Top 10 hits. Only four Top 40 hits from her 80s output did not go Top 10.
I’m not really all that fond of “Endless Love,” but I’ll admit that all six of her post-Supremes #1 songs were deserving of reaching the top. Forced to rank them, I’d tab “Touch Me in the Morning” (#11 this week) as my favorite. Part of the reason for that may be I’m not quite old enough to have heard “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on the radio in real time; I have stronger impressions of the world around me by the summer of 73, so I can perhaps place “Touch Me in the Morning” better in context. Since I wouldn’t have really understood what was really going on in the piece back then, all I would have had to guide me was Ross’s remarkable, emotional performance.