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The Supremes

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 About The Supremes

All pink tongues and false eyelashes, the Supremes--Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Flo Ballard--were the ultimate girl group. They were automatic hitmakers whose story has since passed into show business legend, having provided the basis for the smash Broadway musical Dreamgirls.

The story starts in Detroit, where Ross (born March 26, 1944), Wilson (March 6, 1944), Ballard (June 30, 1943) began calling themselves the Primettes in '59, changing to the Supremes when they joined Motown in '61. Hooking up with the Eddie Holland-Lamont Dozier-Brian Holland production team propelled the Supremes into the pop stratosphere: "Where Did Our Love Go" was the first ('64) smash, followed by "Baby Love," "Stop! In The Name Of Love," "My World Is Empty Without You," "You Can't Hurry Love," "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and a half-dozen others, including 1967's "Reflections," the first to be credited to Diana Ross & the Supremes. (Just-ousted Flo Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong, formerly with Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles.) Then H-D-H left Motown, and the group managed one more mind-bust ("Love Child") before splitting up to the tailor-made dramatics of "Someday We'll Be Together" in '69.

Ross's solo career has since encompassed films (notably Lady Sings The Blues), and all manner of diva material: Movie themes, adult-pop ("Touch Me In The Morning"), disco ballads ("Love Hangover"), funk ("Upside Down"), duets w/ Marvin Gaye, '50s remakes, and Michael Jackson productions. Replacing Ross with Jean Terrell, the Supremes scored three highly underrated hits ("Up The Ladder To The Roof," "Nathan Jones," and "Stoned Love").

Replacing Birdsong with Lynda Lawrence, they added one more ("Floy Joy") in '72. As the hits became fewer, the lineup changes became more frequent. Flo Ballard died from cardiac arrest on February 22, 1976. The Supremes were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1988. Diana Ross didn't show up for the ceremonies.
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