The classic Tamla Motown group that made a huge impact in the 1960s, and made a mega star out of Diana Ross. The group actually started as the Primettes started in 1959 before changing their name later. The group is still the most successful female group in the US. In terms of the Billboard charting.
The group had several 1970 group members which including the founder member Mary Wilson (born 1944) she was with the Supremes until 1977 and saw the group take twelve No. 1 U.S. hits, also having THIRTY THREE top forty hits. Mary would several times take lead vocals during the coming and going of other group members.
Mary had big legal battles with Motown in the late 1970s, and she also went into solo work too, releasing her album Mary Wilson in 1979.
Diana Ross (born 1944) was another founder member who left in the first year of the 70s decade. Her career from the Supremes to solo to icon is another article al in itself On January 14th 1970Diana sand in Las Vegas with the Supremes for the very last time
Cindy Birdsong joined the group in 1967 and left in 1972. She rejoined the group again in 1973 to 1976. Cindy sang with Patti Labelle in the 1960s. As a solo artist she had a 1970 single called Why (Must We Fall In Love).
Jean Tyrell was brought in to the group in 1970 to replace Diana Ross, but she left in 1973. With her in the group the singles came thick and fast and she was seen as a hard worker, but a few within the Motown group did not her in the group. Lynda Lawrence joined in 1972 and left in 1973, Sherrie Payne joined in 1973 and left in 1976 and Susaye Green joined for only one year in 1976.
1970 saw several UK hits in the top forty with songs like Why (Must We Fall In Love), Up The Ladder To The Roof, RiverDeep Mountain High. But the biggest song hitting No. 3 that year was Stoned Love which had Jean Tyrell on the lead. The song was about peace, especially poignant as the Vietnam War was well in the American consciousness. Some people wrongly assumed it was about drugs and thus some radio stations banned the single written by Kenny Thomas and Frank Wilson.
1971 saw Motown classic hitting the UK charts with two top ten singles. The first was Nathan Jones, a song about a guy who left his lady a year ago and a guy who was always being thought about by his ex-girlfriend. His name of course was Nathan Jones.
The second top ten hit was Floy Joy which was written and produced by the legendary Smokey Robinson.
1972 saw several hits, but only one top ten hit which was Automatically Sunshine, which was another Smokey Robinson produced and written single and came from the album Floy Joy, Although Lynda Laurence is featured on the album's cover, she is not featured on any of the songs. She replaced Cindy Birdsong in the Supremes just after the recordings were finished.
The following year of 1973 gave the group no top twenty hits in the UK, but by 1974 they re released an earlier Supremes song called Baby Love which was recorded by Diana Ross in the 1960s. The song made the No. 12 in the UK. Strangely Diana Ross took the group full circle as that was the last single the Supremes ever charted with.
Twenty nine top forty singles in the UK during the life of the group, and add that to seventeen top forty UK albums; it is easy to see why this group lives on in the memories of the baby boomers in the 1960s and the 1970s.