Musician Biographies » The Supremes » The First Hits - Only Room For One, Hit After Hit, Touring Europe, A Quiet Romance, More Success At Home

The First Hits - Only Room For One

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Gordy made a decision that Flo and Mary had suspected was coming all along. He told the group that Diane alone would sing lead vocals. The other two would sing backup. This also meant that Diane would no longer sing backup vocals, so the three-part harmonies the group had spent years perfecting were now reduced to only two parts: lead vocal and backups. It was a disappointing moment for Mary and Flo. Mary recalled, “Besides being upstaged, Flo and I also felt that the records suffered; our three-part harmonies were so beautiful; we should have recorded more of them.”

The first song the Supremes recorded under the new arrangement was written by HDH. “Where Did Our Love Go?” was a song that none of the Supremes were wild about when they first heard it. Mary thought the song was too childish. Flo thought it didn't have enough soul. In fact, the song had first been offered to the Marvelettes, so the Supremes felt like they were getting another group's leftovers. At Gordy's insistence, the Supremes recorded the song.

“Where Did Our Love Go?” was recorded in June 1964, and the following month the Supremes left Detroit to join Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars tour. When the tour started, the Supremes were an opening act, playing before other performers that already had hit songs. As the tour progressed through the summer, “Where Did Our Love Go” climbed higher on the charts. Each evening, more audiences knew who the Supremes were and could sing along to their new hit song.

Did You Know?

Diane's mother, Ernestine Ross, went along on the Caravan of Stars tour as the girls' chaperone. She was so loved by the other performers that she earned the nickname Mama Supreme.

As the tour bus traveled from town to town, the girls had the thrill of hearing their hit played on the radio. Their slot in the lineup for the show got better at each gig, and by the end of the summer they had the number-one song in the country. As the tour finished, the Supremes were no longer the opening act—the Supremes were the headliners!

The First Hits - Hit After Hit [next]

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