More Bumps In The Road
Though they were off to a good start, the Supremes had new problems. Mary Wilson was disappointed in the way Motown marketed the new Supremes. Though the group did have successful singles, she felt the company was ignoring their albums. Mary thought Motown was making poor choices when designing album covers. As she had learned over the previous fifteen years, the Supremes' image was as important as its performances.
The music business had changed a lot as well. FM radio had created a much broader listening audience, and people had more choice about what they listened to. The Supremes were still known for their greatest HDH songs, like “Where Did Our Love Go?” If a listener didn't like the HDH songs, it was hard to get them to tune in to new Supremes material.
The Supremes themselves had personal distractions as well. Cindy Birdsong had gotten married in 1970, and in 1972 she was pregnant with her first child. She had decided that she would not return to the group after the child was born. After searching for a replacement, the Supremes found Lynda Laurence, a young singer who was thrilled to be part of the act. Both Jean and Mary felt comfortable with Lynda and were hopeful that things would work out, but there were more problems to come.
In the summer of 1972, Jean Terrell began having health problems that kept her in the hospital for weeks at a time. Though Cindy was several months pregnant, she came back to help the group get through an engagement at the Copa in New York City. Then Mary fell ill, so the New York audience saw a show that featured Cindy, Jean, and Lynda. For the first time, the Supremes had put on a show without any original members of the group.
Mary was depressed by all of this. She was grateful to Cindy for agreeing to help out, but she was sad that the Supremes had become a group in which the members were interchangeable. Still, Mary was determined to stay true to the Supremes.