celebs! hugging! greg!



Take the feed! Subscribe

Get GIH news via Twitter

Follow Greg: Twitter Facebook

Greg on Flickr:

Sunday Music Spotlight: All About 1970s Supremes!

It’s been less than a week since Mary Wilson died so unexpectedly.

She’s the only singer who was a member of The Supremes from their beginnings as The Primettes in the late 1950s through their final performance in 1977. That means seven-plus years without Diana Ross and an opportunity to shine a bit more.

Even though the 1970s Supremes weren’t able to match the level of success of the 1960s edition, the line-up of Wilson, Cindy Birdsong and Ross replacement Jean Terrell had a nice run for a few years with a series of hit singles and high-profile TV appearances. That run continued for a bit longer with Birdsong-replacement Lynda Lawrence then faded after Terrell and Lawrence left and were replaced by Sherrie Payne and Susaye Greene with Birdsong returning for a few years in the mid-70s.

What seems clear in these videos is that the group rediscovered its joy and the spotlight was allowed to shine more on all the members instead of everyone but the lead singer being so marginalized.

In retrospect, had Ross and Motown founder Berry Gordy let the other members be treated with more respect instead of as background singers who couldn’t even answer questions in interviews, there would have been less drama and tension in the group. Ross still would have been a superstar but perhaps not have been perceived as being so imperious.

Anyway, she’s nowhere to be seen in these videos.


FILE UNDER: Showtune Sunday


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

One Remark

  1. Greg:

    How refreshing!

    I have never seen these videos before. This is what a true group should do. Yes, you want to have a signature sound so when folks hear it on the radio they say it is so and so. But on the other hand, give each member of the group an oppertunity to shine, take their turn to display their talents. After all, it is a group effort.

    Yes, Barry did a disservice to the other members in the original Supremes. It was a combination of greed and sleeping with the boss. Once that happened it was downhill from there.

    I tell this story often. Diana-Diane (her real name) was not the better singer. Early in the beginning, I believe Flo was the lead singer. Barry wanted the group to make it big, crossover. The Broadway play Dreamgirls is loosely based on the Supremes. Diana was made the lead singer because her voice was more pliable. The others had distinctive sounds not conducive to the white audiences. Read that as “ethnic”, “Black”. As you may recall the Supremes sang just about every genre of music. They had to cross over, to the white audience and grab that money. Think of Diana’s solo career. She has sung many different styles of music to stay relevant.

Leave a Reply