"Wilson then recruited a new friend of hers, Diane Ross"\
Oops, should have gotten to know her a little better first.
Still brags about bagging Tom Jones.
She should brag about. His cock is HUGE!
I wish Diana and her and Cindy could come together and put their problems away and go ON TOUR!!\
I know they tried to do this several years ago and it failed, but one can WISH!!!
Flo Ballad once said that out of the two, she would rather deal with Diana, who while difficult, was blunt and honest. Mary was two faced.
Her book about the Supremes is the best selling book about pop/rock singers ever written.
Mary reigns Supreme. Diana is a big fat whore.
RuPaul said he liked Diana even more after reading Wilson''s book.
Funny that of all the Motown acts, the Supremes are the only ones where you know the names of all the members.
One of the Vandellas
I can only hope they will re-unite and return to love.
A book you should pick up is "All that Glitters" by Tony Turner, who was an assistant for Mary for years. It''s a Supremes and Wilson saga, most noteworthy for a scene where in order to score some drugs in a city backalley, Mary has to perform "Stop in the Name of Love" (hand gestures and all) to convince the dealer that it''s really her.
There will always be an asterix next to Diana''s name thar says "I fucked over my girlhood friends to become star."
They couldn''t reunite because Diana planned to pay herself something like $10,000,000 and Mary was to get $500 and a coupon to Chuck E. Cheese. I wouldn''t have done it either.
I would love to see a reality show about Diana, Mary and Flo trying to put a comeback act together. That would be a ratings goldmine!
And the show would be called "Where Did Our Love Go?"
She was a Supreme the longest.
I meant "Cindy" not Flo.
[quote]I would love to see a reality show about Diana, Mary and Flo trying to put a comeback act together. That would be a ratings goldmine!\
Yeah, Im sure people would love to see how they bring Flo back from the dead!
That bitch Diana got to wear a fucking "Love Child" t-shirt and us former Supremes-turned-Diana Ross backup singers didn''t get to wear one.
Those other two bitches didn''t even sing on the group''s final recordings.
At Flo''s funeral, they played "Someday We''ll Be Together" which was great except for the fact that she didn''t sing on that song.
On the record yes but at Concert Mary and Cindy did sing the song several times.
You missed the point r23. R22 specifically pointed out the song was played at FLO''s funeral. Who cares if Mary and Cindy sang the song in a few concerts?
I was referring to r21''s post.
Diana had star power. The other two did not.%0D\
Show business is cruel.%0D\
Diana also worked harder.
Yeah, Diana did work harder, harder at fucking Berry Gordy to get ahead.%0D\
R14- You actually are not too far off. Mary said the reason she did not do the reunion concert was because she was only going to get pennies, compared to the MILLIONS that Diana was going to get. She said Diana stated she had no idea how poorly Mary was gong to get paid, but Mary didn''t believe her and I don''t either. There is no way in fucking hell that Diana was not aware how much the other Supremes were going to be offered. However, she thought if she was there with some scabs, the fans would flock to buy tickets. I was more than thrilled when the concert flopped.
I worked with Mary a couple of years ago when she sang with our symphony. Very nice woman, down-to-earth and friendly. And she still has a voice. She gave a terric concert; lots of fun.%0D\
I spoke with her back stage a few tims over the course of a couple of days. She was always pleasant. And it was noticeable that although it was only a couple of times, she always referred to Miss Ross as "Diane" (her real name), and not "Diana."
Well, DIANE IS her real name.
Mary was originally offered a million to do the show. The promoters upped it to two and Diana PERSONALLY doubled the amount, making it four. Mary refused every offer. She had no intention of ever taking anything, and she was a fool for not doing so.%0D\
I''m sure Ross was no sweetheart back in those days, but Mary''s pity party has worn thin. She drove the Supremes into the ground thanks to having her abusive ex-husband serve as their manager (who had zero business experience), then spent the next thirty years playing the victim. And her adoration towards Flo is a bit too much, considering that she verbally agreed with Diana and Berry in getting her ass canned from the group. %0D\
They sound like old lovers, and Mary was the one who got dumped.\
Mary and Cindy stayed on with the new Supremes after Diana/Diane left to make her *fortune* as a solo act. \
How did Mary like the new diva, and sometimes lesbian, Jean Terrell? Jean had a good voice, looks, class and presence, though not the charisma of Ross. Hmmm?
[quote]Mary refused every offer. She had no intention of ever taking anything, and she was a fool for not doing so.\
If a deal had been made that was generous enough to Mary and Cindy to get them onboard, the "Return to Love" tour would have been a hit. \
Maybe Mary was offered $4 million; I kind of doubt it. What was the offer to Cindy?\
I think Wilson and Miss Birdsong knew that there was no real draw to a Supremes tour without both of them, and refused to work for pennies to Miss Ross''s dollars.\
And the rest is history (including an embarrassing live performance on "Today," where Diana seemed to want both of the unknown Supremes to just go away and not answer any questions between numbers). \
I''ve seen Mary live a couple of times at festivals. I don''t know if she still performs it, but I always liked her solo single "Walk the Line"
She also had an affair with Steve McQueen.\
I think the fact that when the Supremes were at their height, Mary was considered the "pretty one" always stuck in Diana Ross'' craw. Even though ''The Boss'' was having an affair with the boss, Barry Gordy.\
Those two really should give up going on tour as the "Supremes". What''s wrong with just getting back up singers who sound like the other two group members.\
Works for Paul McCartney, who isn''t on tour as "The Beatles".
Um, not really. DIANA was the one who described Mary as The Beauty and Flo as The Voice. I supposed she considered herself as the one with the star quality, and if that''s true, I agree with her.
Mary Wilson was offered $4 million for the reuinion tour? Yeah, right. It probably was a hell of a lot less...and she wasn''t accepting it.
She was NOT offered a million to do the tour, more like 10 or 20k, I forget which amount.
She was originally offered a million. The figures are all true. It was clarified on all the interviews around that time. %0D\
Mary wanted a third of what Diana was getting ($15 million) which meant 5 million. No one in their right mind was going to pay Mary Wilson five million for ANYTHING, so she was just being a bitch about the whole situation and looking to get her face in the media again. %0D\
Cindy''s figure was much lower than Mary''s initial figure, but I didn''t hear Miss Wilson utter one word about it the whole time. Nor did Birdsong go on TV and cry a river. Naturally, Mary was the sole victim as always.
Mary Wilson is a class act and always friendly when I see her. What has gone on between her and Miss Ross is their business. I do wish they''d sing together one more time though. I am a sucker for that kind of thing.
Me too r42
No other has been has milked as much out of what was essentially a 5 year run at the top as Mary Wilson.
Michelle Philips, Runner Up
I would love to read Cindy''s bio.
Cindy won''t speak ill of anyone or give the real dish. She''s too much a lady and worships the Lord.
From the Motown TV special 1983...was this the last time Mary and Cindy shared a stage with Miss Ross? And only after a big solo star turn by Diana...\
And the three of them only got like 20 seconds before everyone else in the show came out onstage to close the show, at Diana''s beckoning? \
All arguing aside about the Supremes, Motown, the British Invasion of the ''60s and so much of the music of the mid- to late-''60s was the greatest era in pop music ever. Motown stood nearly above the rest.%0D\
I know people will say, "You''re old," but the music of today with all the electronic enhancements, rap and crappy voices, just doesn''t compare with the ''60s.%0D\
And other than Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and their music that preceded the pop artists, the music that came out of the ''60s from Barbra Streisand to Sonny & Cher, The Beatles, The Supremes, Temptations and so many others of that time period was amazing and a landmark yet to be equaled in the standard and pop music field.
Couldn''t have said it any better, r49.
Hell, Miss Mary is one Dumb Fuck!%0D
Four Million bucks to Sing Baby Baby @ 30 shows!%0D
It's all about her "significance as a founding Member?",%0D
Well you dumb Ho!, You never even sang on the 2 biggest Supremes hits!, #1), Love Child & #2) Someday We'll be Together!%0D
As for Miss Birdsong, Miss Mary put herself in charge of negotiations for Cindy!, she NEVER asked for any additional money for Cindy after the 4 Million Dollar offer was made to HER!%0D
It seems Mary would rahter sing @ a Supermarket opening for spare change & a hit of crack!%0D
She needs to be the Star I guess?%0D
Oh, I almost forgot, Miss Mary was the one who FIRED Cindy's ass from The Supremes, for "Letting Herself go", What a laugh,Has anyone seen all 200lb's of Miss Mary lately?%0D
As for Diana?, Her Legal name IS DIANA ROSS, it was not intended by her family, but was a clerical error on the Birth Certificate.%0D
As for Motown Sleeping arrangements, I can't think of how Diana Ross sleeping with Berry Gordy could make effect Diana's record sales?%0D
Miss Mary has had more "MOTOWN MEAT" than Diana, Florence & Cindy combined!%0D
"And the three of them only got like 20 seconds before everyone else in the show came out onstage to close the show, at Diana''s beckoning? "%0D\
I''d love to see the unedited footage where Diana turns and pushes Mary backwards. If it''s out there, I''ve never seen it. Anyone?%0D\
I believe my favorite quote about Miss Ross comes from Mary Wilson herself: "Success didn''t change Diane Ross...she was always a bitch." (or "always a snob" - something like that)
Do any of the former Supremes deal crack? Just curious.
"As for Motown Sleeping arrangements, I can''t think of how Diana Ross sleeping with Berry Gordy could make effect Diana''s record sales?"%0D\
Because Barry was throwing all of Motown''s limited resources into promoting Miss Ross and her record sales, leaving other Motown acts to flounder. Not coincidentally, this is about the same time that such long time Motown acts as the Isley Brothers, The Four Tops, the Spinners and Gladys Knight and the Pips started jumping ship. The only reason Stevie Wonder didn''t bail was Barry was smart enough to know what a huge talent he was about to become, and gave him the rights to all of his future compositions. %0D\
When Jean Terrell took over Diana''s spot, the newly reformed Supremes were outselling Miss Ross'' solo efforts. That''s when Barry pulled out all the stops and diverted money to plugging Miss Ross'' sagging record sales (and to getting "Lady Sings the Blues" in the can). %0D\
to add to R54...\
I remember in Berry Gordy''s book, he pretty much admitted as much. I remember him rationalizing it when other acts started complaining, saying that promoting Diana would help her crossover (a la Streisand etc..) and her success would raise the whole company up with her.. To his credit, he did make Diana a star, pretty much all her stardom today stems from all the investment made on her at Motown. However, not sure how much of that really helped the other acts..
Dreamgirls--- is that based on Diana and the Supremes?
[quote]Funny that of all the Motown acts, the Supremes are the only ones where you know the names of all the members%0D\
Really? That would be great!
The 4 other post-Diana Supremes
Loved Mary''s book!%0D\
Here is an interesting thread on "All that Glitters," the book mentioned on the first page:
"However, not sure how much of that really helped the other acts.."%0D\
Well, it didn''t hurt Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson.%0D\
Diana being Motown''s biggest act is debatable, and I say this as a fan. Sales wise, she never equalled her Supremes years of having a steady string of number one hits and hit albums. One or two huge hits would be followed by a couple of flops. For all the talk of how Berry pulled the strings, her biggest years of success oddly came at the time when she started managing herself and the relationship with Gordy was dissolved.%0D\
I would say Stevie was the biggest seller at Motown during the 70''s. "Songs In the Key of Life" alone sold millions. %0D\
Mary Wilson is a very nice person and very professional. I worked with her when she came to perform with our symphony. She puts on a good show. Still has the voice.
[quote]Not coincidentally, this is about the same time that such long time Motown acts as the Isley Brothers, The Four Tops, the Spinners and Gladys Knight and the Pips started jumping ship. The only reason Stevie Wonder didn''t bail was%0D\
Because he couldn''t see the gang plank.
R61: thanks for the laugh!
Judging by R61''s lame post, it doesn''t take a whole hell of a lot of effort to make you laugh, does it R62?
Oh, good one, R63! You really showed them!
The Isley Bros weren''t a longtime Motown act.
Miss Mary was offered 4 Million to do the reunion with Diana Ross, she never responded to the offer, she was playing Hardball for even more cash.%0D\
Cindy left Her negotiations to Mary, who never even bothered to ask for more for Cindy.%0D\
Miss Mary also had More Motown Meat in her than Diana, Cindy & Flo combined, she was, after all "The Party Girl"!%0D\
Tony Turner also tells a good story about how a Topless Miss Mary invited Sammy Davis Jr. into her dressing Room to snort a few lines & get a classic Motown Hummer!.%0D\
That Girl is a PIG!, but sounds like a moose stuck in the mud.
Hmm Just Who has Miss Mary Serviced?%0D\
Sammy Davis Jr.%0D\
Now Thats just the 60''s & The ones Published!%0D\
Busy Girl (To Say the Least!)%0D
MARY! .... Wilson
R12--the coke story was from his second book "Lead Us Not Into Temptation," which was about over Motown artists he worked with. Still, that book is a scream as much as "Glitters" is and it''s been out of print so long it''s a collector''s item.
Mary was offered $2 million and Cindy was offered $700,000 for their participation by the promoters. It was rejected by both and they came back a few months later with $3 million for Mary and $1 million for Cindy.%0D\
Cindy was willing to accept, but decided she would wait for Mary to do so as well. Mary rejected the $3 million and Diana interceded and offered her $4 million and another $500,000 for Cindy. Mary did accept the offer in the end, but waited too long to communicate that, at which point Diana had moved on by hiring Scherrie Payne and Lynda Lawrence.%0D\
The tour failed mainly because of the ticket prices being ridiculously high and the venues were too big.
Mary was crazy to turn down $4 million to sing oohs and aahs in the background for thirty shows. She hasn''t seen that kind of money since, although she is comfortably well-off.
Didn''t Mary lose one of her sons in a car accident?
[quote]Well, it didn''t hurt Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye or Smokey Robinson...Diana being Motown''s biggest act is debatable, and I say this as a fan. Sales wise, she never equalled her Supremes years of having a steady string of number one hits and hit albums. One or two huge hits would be followed by a couple of flops.[/quote]\
She may not have been THE biggest, but she definitely got a disproportionate share of attention, considering the strings of flop singles in between hits etc.. It was an easy (and not entirely illegitimate) target for some of the other acts who were down on their luck. And IIRC, it was still something Berry Gordy defended, even in his own autobiography in the 90s. \
Bringing it back to Mary, I recall reading an interview that was re-published online
So how much were Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence paid?
The irony of this is that I saw Mary in SF last year and her current "show" consists almost entirely of Supremes song whose vocal she wasn''t actually singing the first time around.
Ironically, I saw Mary Wilson in SF last year and her current "show" consists almost entirely of Supremes songs she didn''t even sing the vocals for the first time around!
Ironically, I saw Mary Wilson in SF last year and her current "show" consists almost entirely of Supremes songs - whose vocals she didn''t even sing the first time around!
Sorry for the multiple post :(
"Bringing it back to Mary, I recall reading an interview that was re-published online"%0D\
Anyway, I think it''s too bad they couldn''t get it together for the "Return to Love" tour - it could have been great. The shows as they were actually were good, but completely overshadowed by Mary''s non-participation. I guess she got her revenge in the end...
Mary's two books were whitewashes of the truth. Supposedly, when she was writing the first book she had to have sessions with a hypnotist because she couldn't remember much that happened when she was in the Supremes.
That's fucked up, MW.
On the one hand, Diana Ross succeeded because of her raw star power (she did have an "it" factor) and tenacity. She pursued "the dream" harder than any of the other Supremes.
That being said, she pursued it at all costs. She stepped over anyone - including her girlhood friends and label mates - who she perceived as standing in her way.
Mary Wilson mentions in "Dreamgirls" that Berry Gordy purposefully did not promote the second incarnation of The Supremes because it was interfering with Ross' solo career.
The "new" Supremes were outselling Ross and scored two immediate Top 10 singles ("Stoned Love", "Up the Ladder to the Roof") while Ross managed a single Top 20 song ("Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)").
Gordy shifted all of his talented songwriters to Diana, marketed The Supremes with awkward album covers and ugly promotional materials, booked them in smaller tier markets, and pretty much starved them creatively. He did the same to the other famous Motown groups like The Four Tops and Martha and the Vandellas.
I don't believe Mary begrudges Diana's stardom, but she does resent Diana's ruthlessness and disloyalty when climbing to the top.
Mary! ... Wilson
I remember watching that live Today show appearance, where Miss Ross and the the hired backup singers performed in the street, and it was awful.
Didn't Patti LaBelle use to say that she wanted to bitchslap Diane for the stunts she used to pull back when the Supremes and the Blubelles used to perform in the same shows?
I have a book called "Hollywood Feuds" that talks about what a cunt Diana could be to her peers. Patti, Gladys, Martha Reeves and Mary Wells all had issues with her because she could be bitchy. Her star power certainly did get her over, 'cause her vocals have never really been anything special.
If they had bottled water back in the day, I would've doused that bitch!
Diana Ross was and always will be The Supremes. It's her voice and sound on all those records, some of which don't even have The Supremes on them.
Mary made a very good living in the group and was never a talented vocalist.
Sadly, R88 is correct about Mary's voice. And there's a great story in one of the Ross biographies that describes an encounter between the Supremes and the Bluebells. Cindy paid a surprise visit to the Supremes' dressing room between shows. Diana proceeded to make Cindy up with heavy stage makeup, complete with a big old wig. Cindy went back to her group to show off the makeover. Nona Hendryx pulled off the wig and threw it down the hallway ("You can tell Diana Ross what to do with her fake white-girl hair!") and Diana caught it in midair.
I saw Miss Ross years ago at Caesar's Palace. She was fab.
No wonder Mary Wilson never made solo records.
Actually, Mary recorded a solo album as part of her Motown contract, but it sucked so they got rid of her.
Mary wrote that Gordy gave her the solo record as a means of placating her, and that he basically sabotaged it from the get-go. I believe Mary was suing Motown at the time, so it was a way of settling with her while also sweeping her career under the rug.
Interesting fact: Mary was offered the song "Holiday" before Madonna, but turned it down!
Diane Ross is one ugly woman with marginal singing talent and below average acting talent.
It's pretty clear she never would have gotten as far as she did if Barry Gordy hadn't taken an interest in her.
There was a Diana Ross biography a few years after Mary's. I remember reading a review, and it was not the most flatering, and more of a tell-all. However, I remember the author specifically challenging some of Mary's claims. That Diana discretely tried to help Flo finaniacially and otherwise, and did more to help her than Mary. I also remember him saying she was a pro in the recording studio. She was always prepared and a nailed her part. I know she does not have the strongest voice, but she was not without talent, and it was perfect for those Supreme songs.
She sounds pretty good here. She's got a powerful voice, her phrasing is great and she knows how to tell a story. Most of the material she recorded trying to have a solo career wasn't very well suited to her. In fact a lot of it was absolute crap.
I've seen her three times live, and she tore the roof off it. It's unfortunate that she's had to be compared to Diana Ross for the last 40 years. There's simply no way she would ever have reached Diana's heights. She wasn't as ambitious as Diana, and didn't have Berry Gordy in her back pocket, like Diana did.
Diana Ross tapped Lou Christie's horse cock way back in the day and, for that alone, I have to respect her.
[quote]That Diana discretely tried to help Flo finaniacially and otherwise, and did more to help her than Mary.
She did, but Flo's husband at the time was running the show, and would not let Diana give Flo any money - he wanted all checks written to him, or at least with his name on it. That's how Flo allegedly lost her home - Diana was going to write her a check, but the husband wanted his name on the check. IIRC he was a total druggie and loser. He was known to spend Flo's money and mismanaged her solo career horribly. I'm not a big fan of Miss Ross, but I can't say I blame her for saying no to him.
I'm with R99--at least she tried to help, whereas Mary did not. Mary even said in her second book that she didn't think money would have helped Flo and she didn't have any to give to her, anyway.
I think Diana had more money to give than Mary. Wilson states in Dreamgirls that the total earnings she was paid during her Motown days added up to approx. $100,000. Gordy had full control of the girls' finances and kept them in a gilded cage - all dolled up with homes and nice cars purchased by Motown, but with little to no money of their own.
Gordy made hundreds of millions off of the girls while literally paying them nothing. Wilson and Ballard both sued Gordy (notice Diana did not - interesting!) but were given pittance settlements. The failed lawsuit and ensuing poverty is rumored to have driven Ballard over the edge.
Diana had a steely, almost supernatural ambition. She was not the most beautiful nor did she have the best singing voice, but she WANTED it! Mary had talent, but it sounds like she was kind of lazy. Flo's issues (like her brutal date rape) marked her from the start, poor thing, and Berry Gordy was not helpful to her at all. But in the end, she did herself in.
One of my old drinking buddies used to tell this story about how he met Flo in Atlantic City when he was a young teen. His uncle was the cook at a nightclub there and he brought my friend to work one night. Flo was there with a couple of other singers. My friend's uncle told him to wait in the car for a couple of minutes after he parked out back and went to the kitchen to get something. Flo was drunk and walked over to the car and looked in. My (ex) friend is not a handsome person at all, and he certainly was not as a teen - his words (but with his ego, he acted like he was Tyson Beckford or somebody). Flo staggered over to the car, looked in and said, "Shit! This is an ugly li'l faggot sitting in this car!". He said he hated her on the spot for this, and when he was in Florida, closeted, in the Navy, and dancing at some club, word got out that Flo had died. He said, "GOOD!" and went back to dancing. My ex-friend was/is a big, malignant narcissist of a guy, but was always brutally honest about himself, and others. So I believed him.
R101, what Mary forgets to point out in her two biographies is that $100,000 in 1971 was the equivalent of $530,000 today. Not a bad sum of money, considering that was net of all her expenses and income taxes. A house in Beverly Hills at that time was $125,000.
Mary owned three homes at the time (two in Detroit and one in Hollywood) and was living the high life. Her royalties were $100,000 annually and she was making $1 million touring with Jean and Cindy. It's not like she was living in poverty.
Yes, Motown's royalty rates were considered below industry standards by the 70's for a seasoned act, but in the 60's, they were considered to be on par with the rest of the business, especially for black artists that had no track record.
Flo went broke from her own spending habits after she left the group. She had no idea how much money she had or was spending and it did her in.
Diana was screwed by Motown just as badly as all the other artists. In 1980, she hired an accounting firm to audit her record sales and investigate her trust accounts managed by Berry and discovered she had about $300,000 in cash. And that was after 20 years of sold-out concerts, two successful movies and millions of records sold.
That's why she left Motown for RCA and EMI for a $20 million advance in 1981.
Thanks for the post, but I respectfully disagree. 100K was not a reasonable amount for one of the highest selling artists (as a member of The Supremes) of the 1960s. The girls were paid a fraction of a percentage point of what they had earned for Gordy.
The fact that RCA was willing to pay tens of millions for Ross' contract speaks to how underpaid artists were at Motown.
I believe the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team also left after a royalties dispute.
Chatting about The Supremes is for fags.
[quote]Chatting about The Supremes is for fags.
Um, yeah. And your point is...
Ask Any Girl
Awesome thread, OP. More, more, more!
Mary put her ex-husband in charge of managing THE SUPREMES and essentially ran it into the ground, hence the group splitting up. The group was making no money towards the end, despite still having some moderate chart hits.
IM GONNA LET MY HEART DO THE WALKING hit the top forty in 1976 and was an above average disco song.
"Gordy made hundreds of millions off of the girls while literally paying them nothing. Wilson and Ballard both sued Gordy (notice Diana did not - interesting!)"
Diana left Motown because of it. She had little money in the late 70's, despite being a huge concert draw. Motown never participated in the RIAA either, so the record sales were all at Motown's say.
She had a lot to show for it, but it was all tied up in Motown and Gordy's name (house, cars, everything.)
"The failed lawsuit and ensuing poverty is rumored to have driven Ballard over the edge."
Flo Ballard had a hard life, period. She was already troubled before the group hit it big, due to being raped when she was a teenager. It's a shame she didn't have anyone around her to get her to a therapist.
Wow, good Motown dish!
[quote]I'd love to see the unedited footage where Diana turns and pushes Mary backwards. If it's out there, I've never seen it. Anyone?
I have a clip on a DVD of Diana with the Jackson 5. You can clearly see Diana pushing Michael back and taking center stage.
They were just ghetto girls, studio singers who made good. Without Berry Gordy they'd all be cashiers at Family Dollar (if they survived poverty, drugs and gunshot wounds).
Flo had too many demons and destroyed herself. Mary was just pretty. Diana was ambitious and did what she had to do to survive. Remember, it was a different time.
Mrs. Florence Johnston
Anybody got any stories about The Temptations, Martha Reeves or Smokey?
Smokey was a majorwhore, as I reall. He also has had some horrific plastic surgery over the last couple of years.
Well, a book I read about the Supremes said that Diana 'bragged' about hooking up with Smokey Robinson, but not as much as she did about snaring Berry Gordy. The author really seemed to dislike Diana in a way that I've never seen in a biography before - it was just so apparent. I don't care either way - I was reading more for the Smokey Robinson gossip - but it was still interesting to see this bias.
I loved Mary's two books and agree with her completely about Diana being a cunt, but she truly cannot sing.
Also, I read Diana's autobiography years ago and she comes across as a total narcissistic hag. After reading that, I believe every bad thing that's been said about her. And she can't sing much better than Mary can - truly, the only reason she became a star is because she gave up her pussy to Berry Gordy (who is basically a black version of Whitey Bulger).
Diana reportedly slpet with Robinson back when she was a teenager and The Supremes were starting out at Motown. Robinson began penning songs for them shortly after.
R113 really gets it right. I think Ross must have realized at a very young age that Motown was going to be her big chance in life and that she was going to do work very hard to make things happen for her.
Mmmhmm ... that girl had to work the boxsprings big time!
Yeah Diana may have been a bitch, may have been a famewhore, may have slept with this person or that person (I mean who wouldn't have slept with Smokey back then? He was beautiful) and may not have been the best singer, but she had star power and charisma that none of the other artists and singers had.
If you're a vapid queen like R121 who is impressed by things like "charisma" and "star power" over genuine musical talent, then I don't know what to say. People like you are responsible for foisting the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna on the rest of us. A pox on you!
It's typical of this site that some of you queens will say that anyone mentioned cannot sing- add Cher, Madonna, and many others to the list. Both Diana Ross and Mary Wilson are quite good singers by any measure. If you don't like them, their persona or their material, fine. But saying that people with enduring careers 'can't sing' is a joke.
Something I always meant to ask here, after reading the biography of the Supremes, was whether anyone here had seen them sing live. There were reports of male audience members yelling out for Florence, "sing, girl!" kind of thing, and how she was clearly the popular one. Which, of course, meant her solos got cut.
But was it anyone here that showed her the love, back in the day? It just felt like a Datalounge kind of thing :)
I saw them quite a bit as a child. The only good fortune of having teens as siblings, parents make them tag you along. We use to go to the Saturday matinee at the Howard Theater: the show case would be loaded with 'new' talent. Because I was small (around 8 yrs old), my teen sister and cousins would have me stand in line for them as they smoked cigarettes in the alley before door time and once the doors were open, I would squeeze past everyone, climb over the backs of seats until I secured the from row for me and mine. Seating was first come, first serve.
The front row was outrageously bad. Only black kids with no experience of theater and best sound affects would have picked it but there we would be, front row center, practically with our knees jammed on the stage, feet up on chair edges or up against the stage, heads totally back on top of chairs, staring straight up for hours as the acts would come on, one after the other. It was heaven.
We got to see showcases that included but not necessarily together: Reeves, Smokey with his wife still in the group, sometimes Tina, the Sherelles, James Brown (closing act), the Temptations, the Impressions with Mayfield, Sam Cooke, the Supremes... and other, smaller less successful acts.
After I got older, there was a venue in DC called Uline Arena where the walls would actually sweat from being so crowded. No seats; just packed in teens and a stage. Those were night events where Stevie Wonder (still a kid and kind of disappointing in person) or the Supremes or Sam and Dave would be the marquee act.
I was a child mostly and mostly I sat mesmerized by the entire showcase. But I remember the Supremes and the Tempatations were standouts, even then. Everything in those days was live, and everyone pretty much (not JB or Tina) used the same band - none of this changing the band between acts... they each gave brilliant shows and had great voices.
r122, go away. I never said impressed by anybody, I just said you have to have some star power or charisma to be a superstar. Its not just talent. If you want to look at a vapid person (I'm not gonna be self hating to use the word queen) look at yourself for trying to start a fight or argument where there was none. And don't bother replying cause I'm not playing your game.
I love, love, love her. A very nice person and she has survived and still entertains around the world.
That's a great story, R125. Thanks for posting it.
The Supremes (and most of Motown's acts from the 60s) never made as much money as they thought they were making. Motown would tell them they were selling millions of records, when in fact, they weren't.
You also have to remember that tax rates were as high as 75% in the 60s and early 70s. Because all of Motown's successful acts had their tax returns managed by Berry's accountants, the Noveck brothers, they paid their taxes on-time. That was a good thing, but the bad news was they overpayed due to the Novecks' conservative advice, which means a huge amount of money went to the IRS, rather than their bank accounts.
The Supremes were a very successful act, but their expenses were huge. The girls had no idea what they were earning or what their expenses were. They just spent like no tomorrow. Their live act cost a fortune to mount and they paid every penny of it.
Their royalty rates were no better or worse than any other recording act in the 60s. In those days, record sales paid nothing and the "real" money was performing in clubs and Vegas. Much like porn, records were considered "advertising" for the real product, which was their live act.
Motown and The Beatles broke the mold (as did The Beach Boys) with huge record sales to teenagers. Even Elvis Presley was screwed by RCA on his royalties.
You have to keep it all in perspective to the times.
Mary has stabbed Diana in the back so many times, Diana can no longer wear backless dresses.
R125, that's such a wonderful story. God, you're lucky. I'd have given anything for that to be my childhood. I'm particularly interested in Smokey Robinson - what do you remember most about him as a live performer?
Mary Wilson is a so much prettier then Martha Reeves. Just saying!
bump for more Motown stories!
Mary Wilson just graced RuPaul's Drag Race! She was a complete class act compared to the trash that is Michelle Visage (clinger-on extraordinaire) and Rosie Perez (who still gets a pass from me because of Fearless).
She looked beautiful, gave constructive advice, and reminded us what a legend looks like.
Mary needs to form a new group with Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The REAL Supremes, bitches!
God Mary Wilson has been Dead since the early 70's, She just hasn't had enough sense to lie down
No mention of DeBarge? DeBarge?
Burn this fucking house down!
Yes , Lou Christie and Diana Ross,
Yes Lou Christie is Hung.
There was an interesting docu some time ago and I tend to believe that Ross got to superstardom because she was ambitious (meaning not lazy), driven and talented. Everything Wilson was not.
In Ross' transition to solo singer they did not even use Wilson as a backup singer on the records anymore. That's how mediocre her voice and talent was. I hate people who are backstabber's to people who are more successful.
Best looking of all the Supremes.
Mary Wilson is a professional victim who has milked the story line that she got trampled. Through all the years of the Supremes' success, live and recorded, Mary Wilson was never had the voice to be featured. After Diana left, Mary, an original Supreme, remained in the background. Diana didn't hold her back, Mary's vocal limitations did. I have seen her solo and I understand why she was in the background.
Just saw "Twenty Feet from Stardom," a documentary about (mostly) black female backup singers from the '70s and '80s. (Lisa Fischer, Merry Clayton, and Darlene Love are the main focus.) The Supremes were barely mentioned, although Diana gets name-checked once and there's a brief glimpse at Flo on one of their album covers. However, the last Supreme, Susaye Greene, is interviewed a bit. Not a mention of Mary in sight.
Mary can sing and when she does material that really suits her voice, like jazz, she's wonderful in concert. The problem is no one pays to see Mary sing jazz and she has to make a living to eat.
When she sings the lead vocal on the Supremes' catalogue, it's not very good. That's because all of their big hits were written for Diana's voice, not Mary's. There's no question that Diana's voice was unique and it was her sound and charisma that brought them to superstardom.
It's too bad Mary has bashed Diana over the years to sell books and generate publicity, but like I said, she needs to eat.
I've seen Mary in concert 3 times and all were good shows. Her voice, while capable, does lack character and distinction. What she does best is rocks. She totally rips up a few Rolling Stones numbers, and probably should have recorded "Brown Sugar". Where she falls flat are her attempts to prove she's a good "singer", like holding notes beyond reasonable or artistic sense and reaching for nuance far too out of her range. Now that her history has pretty much has been written, it's clear that Wilson has a tendency to make poor decisions, and that her lack of career has to blamed largely on her. Passing on "Holiday" when she was in need of a hit and an identity other than an ex-Supreme simply wasn't smart, especially since Jellybean was going to be involved. Instead, she doomed herself to being a professional victim, having to hamper herself with her past to get headlines and paychecks. Had she been more shrewd she too could have been a solo act, just like Ross is known as Ross before she's remembered as a Supreme. Although infamous for her own reputation, I think the fact that Ross has distanced herself from Wilson over the years says quite a bit about Wilson. After the botched reunion tour Diana Ross said in an interview (with Barbara Walters, I believe) that she decided to do the tour knowing that it would have been difficult for her to share a stage with Wilson again. I think that statement illustrates the difficulty of both women, except one moves on and the other whines about whines about it.
Regarding the 25 years of Motown how mentioned upthread, I read somewhere it was Mary who went way off-script causing confusion. She wandered onstage in a bright red dress while every single other person was wearing all black, all white or a mix of both. Mary then took lead on the song they were singing, later claiming Diana was forgetting the words. I'm not exactly a fan of Diana but don't buy that. Think Mary just wanted to grab the limelight back a bit.
At least Diana and Mary had a history. Diana Ross did a bit of upstaging herself when she wandered onto stage when Adam Ant (of all people) was singing "Where Did Our Love Go?" and totally upstaged his moment. This was confirmed by the producer Suzanne De Passe as not being a scripted moment. She just came on stage midway through his performance and danced a little bit and ran off again. You can tell Adam was caught off guard.
Suzanne DePasse has also confirmed that the tape containing the altercation between Mary and Diana that night is tucked away in a vault and will never see the light of day. Like I said a few posts ago, after so much time has gone by Mary does, in retrospect, seem like the kid who does some of the pushing herself then cries "I didn't do nuthin'!" or "She started it!" I'm not taking sides, but history does paint a picture.
If the tape pf the altercation will never see the light of day, why is anybody even holding onto it?
Diana was drunk at Motown 25 and everyone knew it. She was very nervous about seeing Berry again after all the bitterness when she left the label two years before. She didn't really want to do the Supremes segment and cut out the planned medley of four songs in favor of one. She wasn't very friendly to Mary or Cindy that night.
It just was really bad and a major disaster.
You are right r149. Motown 25 was a disaster on many levels. The Return To Love Tour also turned into a huge disaster. Mary and Diana will never have a reunion. Even if those two women were talking about it, and they're not, Cindy is very ill and won't sing on stage again. So no reunion ever...because Flo is dead.
Mary is a legend as an original Supreme and she has survived all these years in spite of huge obstacles and setbacks. You have to admire her strength and determination.
I think she made a huge mistake in 2000 in turning down $4 million for the Return to Love reunion tour. Her going rate at the time was $20,000 per night and she was being offered $133,333 per night to sing oohs and aahs for thirty shows. She was crazy to turn that down.
Anyone ever get around to reading Mary's SECOND book? Whatever empathy I had for her after reading the first was vaporized by the time I was halfway through. Though Berry supposedly 'washed his hands' of The Supremes after Mary & Cindy nixed replacing Jean with Syreeta Wright, I think it was Mary's antics (along with her husband who was managing them) that torpedoed their careers.
As for her voice, I think the following clip might silence naysayers......it was obviously NOT the studio version (because Jean was on that)....had the 70's Supremes gotten better material, what could have been......
Diana did all the work in the studio, yet when it came time to get paid, it was split three ways.
So Mary got paid for recordings she had nothing to do with.
When I listen to the Supremes' catalogue, I inevitably end up singing along to the background vocals. Say what you will about Diana's talent, drive, and charisma (I agree she had all three) - but the background harmonies are simply gorgeous. Listen to "I Hear a Symphony" or "Back In My Arms Again"; Mary and Flo's interweaving voices make those songs.
The Supremes were a trio - their singles benefited from the mixture of all three voices.
Was Diana a natural lead vocal? Of course. She had a unique pop voice and a gift for interpreting material and presenting it onstage.
Mary and Flo, however, provided excellent accompaniment and helped create The Supremes' image. The notion of three singers - one charismatic, one sexy, and one sassy, has formed the template for every "girl" group from TLC to Destiny's Child.
Mary and Flo deserve their due credit as does Diana. All three contributed to the magic that is The Supremes.
I need to go see Mary Wilson somewhere this year and the same about Diana Ross. They were magic and I would like to see them perform one more time. I know we'll never see them together.
R154 again Mary Wilson voice is NOT on any of those Supreme recordings after Reflections.
It was done by other background singers.
Mary got paid and got credit for recordings she had nothing to do with.
From what I understand (according to Mary's autobiography - big grain of salt, I know), Mary and Cindy were never informed of those recording sessions or were simply not invited by Gordy. Totally disrespectful of Mary and Cindy's contributions to the group. I don't think, however, that the decision had anything to do with Diana; it was all Gordy's doing. I don't begrudge Mary getting paid for those singles, either.
After Holland-Dozier-Holland left and Florence left the group, The Andantes, the house background vocalists at Motown, sang backgrounds on "Some Things You Never Get Used To," "Love Child," "I'm Living in Shame," "The Composer" and "No Matter What Sign You Are."
On "Someday We'll Be Together" - originally conceived as Diana's first solo release - the backgrounds were sung by Julia and Maxine Waters and Johnny Bristol.
Mary was not allowed to sing on any record after Stop in the name of love. She was the flat sounding STOP.
Her job was to be pretty. The backround vocals were done by a number of different folks including the Jones Girls who created much of what we know as the 'supremes' sound and did Mary's vocals on tour. Mary just got to move her mouth and stand in the background because she was a no talent.
Diana and Flo actually did the vast majority of the Supremes' recordings, with Mary doing mostly the early stuff. Often, HDH would add Marlene Barrow instead of Mary Wilson because she sung with a different sound. The Andantes also recorded on virtually all of Motown's backgrounds for all the artists. Regardless of whether Flo or Mary (and later Cindy), were on the record, they all received their royalites anyway.
Mary and Cindy did record the albums done with The Tempts and some material released on albums through 1969. Berry was focused on developing Diana's solo career by 1968 and felt there was no need to delay recording sessions or fly Mary and Cindy in to do background vocals. And he was right.
Mary and Flo recorded on almost all of the HDH sessions, but sometimes Marlene Barrow substituted for one or the other. The Andantes were often mixed-in later to strengthen the background, which Motown did with many of their acts.
Mary's vocal talent was limited, but she was a great performer with a lot of charisma on stage.
Anyone have any info about her new album coming out? She's been talking about it for the looooongest time now. A single has surfaced, but...
Yes I heard the story of Diana Ross and Lou Christie, They had a thing together, He was so in love with her. Barry didn't like the idea of Lou dating her. I think he still likes her after all these years.
I wish Diana and Mary would sing a song together. One last time.
Diane says the trouble all started because Mary always would grab the thighs out of the bucket. But you know Diane.
Wasn't DR's oldest daughter Berry Gordy's? That fact has been around for a long time. No wonder why Gordy lavished all of his attention on her and blew off Flo and Mary. Ross certainly had a lot on Gordy who was married and had a family when he started up Motown.
I used to like Mary Wilson. The Supremes were phenomenal and broke down a lot of race barriers in their prime. But Diana was the spark in that group, no matter what Berry Gordy did.
When Diana left the Supremes, Mary Wilson was not promoted to lead singer. That happened after multiple changes in the lead. Mary was still in the background with an occasional token lead. She became a professional victim, striking out at Diana with what had to be jealousy and envy. Mary's talent was limited and she was two faced and petty. Not that Diana was perfect, but people like Mary Wilson are scary because they are duplicitious.
Mary Wilson's husband, who became the Supremes manager, which led to their split, was black.
And he beat her up!
Mary likes light and dark meat. It just needs to be hot.
She was the busiest Supreme in the bedroom apparently, which isn't surprising considering Florence was a rape victim and Diane had an eating disorder.
What's wrong with Cindy?
Anyone who says that Mary Wilson couldn't sing is obviously either an embittered Diana Ross fanatic or someone who simply hasn't heard her showcased vocally before. Not only was Miss Wilson an excellent harmony singer (especially on those early Supremes non-hits) but she could also shine on lead, on the rare occasion she was given a chance. She possess a rich jazzy alto & excellent phrasing. If Motown had taken the time to develop her as a lead singer she could've excelled on slow/mid-tempo Mary Wells-type numbers. (Check out Mary singing lead on a Vandellas remake I've attached that was used as filler on an early album) After The Supremes' initial success Mary's job was simply to look pretty in the background. Diana Ross was ALWAYS Berry Gordy's "pet" & concubine from almost the very beginning. Sadly, Mary & Flo never had a snowball's chance in hell.
After Diana's departure Motown saddled The (neglected) Supremes with primarily mediocre songs & the occasional gem recorded entirely by accident. Mary's 1979 solo project was obviously intended to be a throwaway. No different than what she had been doing with The Supremes for several years. The material was all completely second-rate & her vocals were badly mixed. Mary still went about recording her numbers with verve & gusto. Producer Hal Davis also produced the whole thing in extravagant/fully orchestrated/1979 style. The end result was a delicious, sophisticated, beautifully arranged Disco LP! Mary would've benefited greatly from a better lead-off single. Some extended 12" remixes of some of the excellent album cuts would've secured her at least a club hit or two! Ultimately the whole project was treated as simply a tax write-off. I'd recommend that anyone who enjoys Classic Disco & is curious about this hidden-gem search Youtube. (Check for 'Midnight Dancer', 'I Love A Warm Summer Night' & the sultry Teddy Pendergrass knockoff 'Pick Up The Pieces')
The fact of the matter is that Diana Ross truly had no more musical talent or stage presence than Mary or Flo. Miss Ross' true talent was her burning ambition & willingness to do ANYTHING to make it to the top! The fact that she found a powerful lover & ally in Berry Gordy early on didn't hurt either.
Here's the Vandellas remake with Mary on lead that I forgot to attach............
Mary is performing a Christmas Show in December for two weeks in the Chicago area. The 4Tops will be there, too. Could be a fun show.
She needs to guest star as "The Supreme" on "AHS:Coven."
[quote] she could also shine on lead, on the rare occasion she was given a chance. She possess a rich jazzy alto & excellent phrasing.
I respectfully disagree. Mary herself admits that she doesn't have a great voice. However she claims to be a "great entertainer". I haven't seen her live, so I won't comment on that claim.
The "non-famous" Supremes (Jean Terrell, Scherrie Payne, Susaye Greene) were the most talented vocally.
R177 , we'll respectfully agree to disagree. I never stated that Miss Wilson had the greatest voice. I simply stated that "she could also shine on lead" & could be enjoyably effective when given material that suited her alto. Personally, I don't think that Diana Ross has anything resembling "a great voice." She was afforded the luxury of having songs crafted to suit her vocals. IMO, Mary was vocally talented & charismatic enough to warrant the same. A missed opportunity on Motown's part.
I'm in complete agreeance with you about Jean Terrell, Scherrie Payne & Susaye Green. I've got both Jean's solo album & the Scherrie & Susaye album. Several good numbers on both.
"The fact of the matter is that Diana Ross truly had no more musical talent or stage presence than Mary or Flo."
I disagree. Diana had phenomenal stage presence back in the day. Watch her late 70's show from Vegas where she goes into the audience for Reach out and touch. How many performers can keep the momentum going for almost fifteen minutes doing nothing but running around and getting people to sing?
She may not be the best vocally, but girl knew how to put on a show. In fact, I don't think she gets enough credit for her stage shows of the 70's, which (along with Bowie's) were the frontrunners of melding pop/rock with a theatrical, movie like presentation. Her concerts were breaking records up until Return to love for a reason.
I'll bet if Diana started twerking in her shows she would be all over the news. Her shows would be packed.