Musician Biographies » The Supremes

Introduction

supremes music hits pop

On January 20, 1988, the Supremes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Mary Wilson was the only member of the Supremes present that night. Florence Ballard had died in 1976; she was represented at the ceremony by her daughter, Lisa Chapman. Diana Ross was unable to attend. The ceremony that night took place more than twenty years after the Supremes' greatest hits had been recorded. Still, the group continues to have an enormous influence on performers to this day.

There are many girl groups that have followed in the Supremes’ footsteps. En Vogue, Destiny's Child, SWV, the Go-Go's, the Bangles, and even Salt ‘n’ Pepa and TLC owe a great deal to the style and charisma of the Supremes. The Supremes represented a breakthrough in pop music in the United States and all over the world. For the first time, audiences of all races were singing along with black, female singers. The Supremes influenced more than just music; they affected fashion and hairstyles, product endorsements, television, and film.

Through music, the Supremes broke down racial barriers at a time when many states remained strictly segregated. Segregation ensured that blacks and whites were separated. Separate schools and even separate public rest rooms existed for whites and blacks. The Supremes entertained fans of all races, however. Audiences everywhere responded to their class, their beautiful harmonies, and their toe-tapping tunes. They proved that black women were strong and deserving of the same rights and respect as any other human beings. In the United States during the 1950s and the 1960s, the thought that these young, black performers were equal to successful, white musicians was revolutionary.

At the high point of their career, the Supremes were the number-two pop music group in the world, second in popularity only to the Beatles. They had fans in England, Switzerland, Africa, Germany, France, Japan, Hong Kong, and dozens of other countries. In June 1965, the Supremes set the record for the most consecutive number-one hits on the Billboard pop charts (they charted five in a row). During a five-year period, they had twelve number-one hits! They inspired, entertained, and thrilled generations of music fans with their talent, beauty, and energy.

This is the inspiring story of the Supremes. Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross came from humble beginnings. All three of them worked tirelessly to achieve their success. When everyone else thought their music careers were a long shot, these three young women believed in their dream. Through years of rehearsals and dozens of tours that took them to racist towns and run-down motels, the Supremes stuck it out. They were determined to succeed, and in the end that's exactly what they did.

It's also the story of three friends who struggled with personal difficulties. Though each woman had struggles in her own life, each managed to focus on the same end result. Even though the friends grew apart over the years, the Supremes maintained their incredible success. These three young women struggled to go after the one thing they loved most: singing. Though they experienced personal and professional difficulties along the way, they really did make their dreams come true!

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