Throughout her decades spent in the music world, Diana Ross has been a huge force in shaping and influencing its direction, both in her appearance and her distinguished voice, and also in her exploration within genres, from the Motown of her early days to the disco, adult contemporary, and jazz (the latter of which stemmed from her Oscar-nominated performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues) that she delved into as her career progressed. Hip-O's The Definitive Collection captures the biggest songs from the first 15 years of her solo career, beginning with her first single "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" from 1970 and continuing through 1984 -- after she had already been away from Motown for a few years -- with "Missing You," a tribute to Marvin Gaye, and "Swept Away." Though the 20 tracks aren't in chronological order (or any discernible order for that matter), nearly all of Ross' important hits from that time period are on the collection, including all that reached number one on the Billboard pop singles charts ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Touch Me in the Morning," "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To?)," "Love Hangover," "Upside Down," and "Endless Love," her duet with Lionel Richie), not to mention other favorites of hers like "I'm Coming Out" and the Michael Jackson-penned "Muscles." The only surprise on The Definitive Collection comes with "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes," which was originally supposed to be released on the album Blue, a follow up to Lady Sings the Blues, but didn't actually make it to shelves until June 2006. Besides that, however, there's nothing too unexpected on this album, but it is a great collection of Ross' solo work, which, while it may not have the substance or vitality of what she did with the Supremes, has its own important place in pop music history nonetheless.
AllMusic Review by Marisa Brown