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The Supremes are arguably the most iconic girl group of all time, paving the way for African American artists both male and female to find mainstream chart success in the United States. The Supremes have become symbolic of the diva, strong black female mentality typified by more modern groups such as Destiny’s Child, En vogue and TLC. With the help of one of Americas most infamous recorded music labels, Tamla Motown, The Supreme seemed destined and armed for success, although for a while success seemed like a distant dream.


The Supremes began as the Primettes, in 1958, Detroit, Michigan, by Florence Ballard, a Junior High school student at the time. The band were originally a four piece who embraced the local talent shows, before long they auditioned for Motown owner Berry Gordy who insisted the girls come back after graduating from high school. Un-phased the girls continued to hang around the Motown studio; Hitsville USA, in the hope of recording, the group provided handclaps and backing vocals on many songs. In 1962 the group signed to Motown Records, with group members; Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson. Initially the band took some time to get going; it wasn’t until they teamed up with the song writing dream team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland, also known as, Holland-Dozier-Holland that the hits started to pour in.

By 1964 the band had 4 consecutive No.1’s with ‘Baby Love’ ‘Come see about me’ and ‘back in my arms again’. The Supremes would continue to have hits through out the 60’s. By 1967, the group began to fall apart after tensions grew between Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, Ballard began to go off the rails, drinking and turning up late for auditions on a regular basis, Ballard left the group in 1968. The group had been re-named Diana Ross and the Supremes due to Ross’s increasing popularity. By 1969 Diana Ross left the group, to pursue a solo career. The Supremes continued to record with a new line–up, with moderate success.

The strength of The Supremes impact can be seen in the movie 'Sparkle And Dream Girls', the tony award winning musical, which was later adapted into a film (both based on The Supremes story), there image has been imitated many times by artists such as Solange Knowles, Amy Winehouse and Duffy to name a few. The Supremes legacy will be as one of the premier girl groups of all time, that were the female faces of Tamla Motown and pop music worldwide.

Group formed c. 1960 in Detroit as vocal quartet the Primettes; original members included Florence Ballard (born June 30, 1943, in Detroit; died February 22, 1976, in Detroit), Diana Ross (born March 26, 1944, in Detroit), Mary Wilson (born March 4, one source says March 6,1944, in Detroit), and Barbara Martin, who appeared as fourth member on the Primettes' first three singles.

Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong (born December 15, 1939, in Camden, NJ) in 1967. Jean Terrell (born November 26, c. 1944, in Texas) replaced Ross in 1970; was replaced by Scherrie Payne (born November 14, 1944) in 1973; other incarnations of The Supremes included Lynda Laurence, Susaye Green, and Karen Jackson; group disbanded, 1977.
Awards: The Supremes—Ross, Wilson, and Ballard—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1988.

Albums; as the Supremes: 

Meet the Supremes, Motown, 1963.
Where Did Our Love Go, Motown, 1964.
A Bit of Liverpool, Motown, 1964.
Supremes Sing Country, Western and Pop, Motown, 1965.
We Remember Sam Cooke, Motown, 1965.
More Hits by the Supremes, Motown, 1965.
Merry Christmas, Motown, 1965.
Supremes at the Copa, Motown, 1965.
I Hear a Symphony, Motown, 1966.
Supremes a Go Go, Motown, 1966.
Supremes Sing Holland, Dozier, Holland, Motown, 1967.
Albums; as Diana Ross and the Supremes:
Supremes Sing Rodgers and Hart, Motown, 1967.
Diana Ross and the Supremes Greatest Hits, Motown, 1967.
Reflections, Motown, 1968.
Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform "Funny Girl", Motown, 1968.
Diana Ross and the Supremes "Live" at London's Talk of Town, Motown, 1968.
Diana Ross and the Supremes Join the Temptations, Motown, 1968.
Love Child, Motown, 1968.
(With the Temptations) TCB, Motown, 1968.
Let the Sunshine In, Motown, 1969.
(With the Temptations) Together, Motown, 1969.
Cream of the Crop, Motown, 1969.
(With the Temptations) On Broadway, Motown, 1969.
Diana Ross and the Supremes Greatest Hits, Volume 3, Motown, 1970.
Farewell, Motown, 1970.
Later albums; as the Supremes:
Right On, Motown, 1970.
(With the Four Tops) The Magnificent Seven, Motown, 1970.
New Ways but Love Stays, Motown, 1970.
(With the Four Tops) The Return of the Magnificent Seven, Motown, 1971.
Touch, Motown, 1971.
(With the Four Tops) Dynamite, Motown, 1971.
Floy Joy, Motown, 1972.
The Supremes, Motown, 1972.
Anthology, Motown, 1974.
The Supremes, Motown, 1975.
High Energy, Motown, 1976.
Mary, Scheme & Susaye, Motown, 1976.
At Their Best, Motown, 1978.

Sources: Segun Murray Ogunsheye; David Bianco

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you.

Why Not Check Out:

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

The Four Tops

Martha & The Vandellas

The Crystals

Marvin Gaye - Lets Get It On Live

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