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 - Touring Europe

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The Beatles were all the rage in the United States when the Supremes headed for England. Giant crowds of fans drove themselves crazy whenever the Beatles arrived in the United States. The Supremes had no idea of what to expect when they got to London. Would the English audiences appreciate the Motown sound?

It was an incredibly big step for three young, black women from Detroit to get their passports and fly off to Europe. Since they were headliners, they flew first class. No more tour buses and ratty motels for these girls!

The Supremes had nothing to worry about. Huge crowds of fans greeted them at the airport. Everywhere they went, the Supremes were interviewed and photographed and treated kindly by their hosts. While they were touring England, “Where Did Our Love Go” went to number two on the British charts.

A special treat occurred when the Supremes were invited to stay at the home of Lord and Lady Londonderry outside of London. For a week, the three performers stayed at their hosts' English mansion. Each evening they took a limousine from the Londonderry estate to the concert hall, then returned again after the show.

The British soul singer Dusty Springfield was a big fan of Motown. She convinced the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) to film a television show about the tour. Springfield hosted the special and performed with the Motown guests. The show also featured the other Motown artists on the tour: the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Miracles, and Martha and the Vandellas.

Berry Gordy and his family were traveling with the tour as well. Gordy had big dreams for all his artists, and he used the tour to work with the Supremes on an unusual jazz arrangement of the pop standard ‘You're Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” The song was difficult to perform, but Gordy felt it would show that the Supremes had a range that was wider than their catchy HDH tunes.

The first time the Supremes performed ‘You're Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You,” the audience didn't know how to respond. The song was so different from “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me.” Diane felt that the audience hated the song, and she was angry with Gordy for forcing them to perform it. In the end, though, Gordy was right. As the Supremes got used to the new arrangement, audiences began to like the song more. It opened the door for the Supremes to begin recording other new songs that were not in the HDH style.

In the years to come, the Supremes would take great advantage of this newfound range. They recorded albums of Broadway show tunes and tributes to jazz musicians, composers, and other performers. They even recorded a country and western album!

The First Hits - A Quiet Romance [next] [back] The First Hits - Hit After Hit

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