From Primettes to Supremes
The girls returned to Motown in late 1960. They had been away for several months, but the other artists welcomed them back with open arms. Mary Wells asked them to sing backup on some of her recordings. The girls were thrilled. Berry Gordy Jr. stressed that this was not a contract; the Primettes were only performing backups on a few tracks.
The recording sessions with Mary Wells were successful, although not all of them were released at the time. Slowly but surely, the Primettes began working with other artists at Motown. Finally, Smokey Robinson decided to help them record songs of their own. The first song they recorded at Motown was a cover of the Miracles’ song “Who's Loving You?” Diane sang lead, and the other three sang backup.
At last, Berry Gordy Jr. agreed to sign the Primettes to a recording contract, but he had two conditions. First, he was signing them to Tamla, his older label that was not quite as famous as the Motown label. Second, he didn't like the group's name. The girls would have to decide on something other than the Primettes.
Flo kept track of all the possible names they came up with: the Royaltones, the Jewelettes, and the Supremes. There were many others, but Flo was most taken with the Supremes. Though none of the other girls felt as strongly about it, they agreed to go with Flo's choice. In January 1961, the Supremes were signed as recording artists with the Tamla label!