The #1's

by: Diana Ross & The Supremes

Surprisingly, very few artists can float a digital-age collection of number one singles without resorting to trickery involving foreign countries or obscure charts. The Beatles had little trouble (The Beatles 1) and Elvis Presley managed both a disc of number ones (Elvis: 30 #1 Hits) and one of number twos (2nd to None), but Michael Jackson bent the rules so far that calling his disc Number Ones is tantamount to consumer fraud. Additionally, a collection of number one singles may not be the best representation of an artist's career; the Elvis volume included nothing from his Sun years, and the Beatles' set skipped "Strawberry Fields Forever." The #1's, Motown's collection of chart-toppers by Diana Ross & the Supremes, fares much better. It benefits from two Supremes characteristics: as a pop group through and through, their biggest hits were often their best songs, and, with the help of the solo Diana Ross, they spent a long time on the charts (nearly 20 years separates the Supremes' debut at the top from Ross' last number one single). While Motown's separate volumes on Diana Ross and the Supremes (in the Ultimate Collection series) remain the best source for a single-disc picture of either act, The #1's works remarkably well. It includes 19 number one pop singles (13 from the group, six from the solo Ross), plus various number ones on the R&B and dance charts, and there aren't any glaring omissions. Granted, fans of early Motown can't live without the girl-group chestnuts "Buttered Popcorn" and "Your Heart Belongs to Me," while those who enjoy latter-day Ross won't find "One More Chance" or "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" -- but of course, this collection wasn't created with them in mind. For the group who recorded more hit singles during the '60s than any other act except the Beatles, and for one of the reigning solo artists of the '70s, The #1's is a worthy tribute. ~ John Bush

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