Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

First Hit #1: September 19, 1970

The Supremes are no longer, we now have Diana Ross, whose first solo trip to the top of the charts – well, solo credited, at least – is almost like she’s submitting a portfolio. She can sing! She can talk! She can be melancholy AND happy! She can release album versions of songs that are really long and objectively worse because that’s a very ’70s thing to do! The song is pretty much a big catalog of Ross’ many skills, as though she’s interviewing for the part of your personal pop star.

The album version is annoying, mostly because the extremely long spoken word section saps the energy, and you know the blistering chorus is coming and you just want her to shut up already. The single version – the hit, in other words – is much better about this, cutting straight to the money shot and serving as a better showcase for Ross’ skills. I’m sure people will disagree, and the long version tells a more complete story – unlike most overly long album cuts, which will add an obnoxious guitar solo (the Doors) or an unwelcome introduction (Guess Who). Still, the single cut gets everything together and blasts you with a bit of pop perfection. The Coco Chanel school of pop music, record a song, and then leave part of it on the cutting room floor.

Of course, the single isn’t on Youtube, so you’re stuck with the inferior version, sorry!

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