Cemented in the history of Motown is the story of The Supremes, a group whose great success contributed a great deal to the foundation of the world-renowned label. Throughout their career as one of the most famed female groups of all time, The Supremes made great strides in the quest for female empowerment. Today, their music remains a source of inspiration for millions with a love for the nostalgia of the Motown sound. Fans of the genre, such as Tunde Folawiyo along with millions of others throughout the world are sure to be inspired by the tale of The Supremes and their rise to international success.
Founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1959, the group was first named the Primettes.The beginning of the 1960s saw the group without a record label,when Gordy Berry, Motown’s founder, agreed to sign them to the label in January of 1961, under the condition that they change their name. Founding members Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Betty McGlown and Diana Ross stemmed from Detroit’s Brewster-Douglass housing project. The prospect of wide-spread success led them to change their name to The Supremes. At their prime, they were among the most successful of all of Motown’s acts. The group’s peak came throughout the 1960s where they rivaled other world-renowned acts like The Beatles. They paved the way for African American musicians to garner mainstream success.
The majority of the group’s hits are attributed to their songwriting team, Holland, Dozier and Holland, a trio who wrote and produced an outstanding number of Motown’s most popular hits. With 12 hit, number one singles during their career, the outstanding popularity and star power of The Supremes simply could not be denied. With the mid-60s came a booming popularity for the group with Diana Ross as its lead singer. During 1967, Berry Gordy had the group renamed Diana Ross & the Supremes, replacing Ballard with newcomer Cindy Birdsong. Three years later in 1970, Ross left the group to pursue a solo career, where she was replaced promptly by singer Jean Terrell, resulting in the group’s reversion to the previous name The Supremes. After nearly a decade of further success, the group disbanded during 1977, ending an 18-year run for original members.
With their impact on music undisputable, The Supremes remain one of the most famed musical groups of all time. Millions of fans of Motown, including Tunde Folawiyo among countless others, may continue to be moved by the soothing sounds of Diana Ross and The Supremes.