The Supremes, an American female singing group, were one of the signature acts on Motown Records during the 1960s. Originally founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan in 1959, The Supremes' repertoire included doo-wop, pop, soul, Broadway show tunes and disco. They were the most commercially successful of Motown's acts, with twelve of the group's singles peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Most of these hits were written and produced by Motown's main songwriting and production team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. At their peak in the mid-1960s, The Supremes rivaled The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their success made it possible for future African-American R&B and soul musicians to find mainstream success.
Founding members Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Betty McGlown, all from the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit,formed The Primettes as the sister act to The Primes (with Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, who would go on to form The Temptations).
Barbara Martin replaced McGlown in 1960, and the group signed with Motown the following year as The Supremes. Martin left the act in early 1962, and Ross, Ballard and Wilson carried on as a trio.
During the mid-1960s, The Supremes achieved mainstream success with Ross as lead singer. In 1967, Motown president Berry Gordy renamed the group Diana Ross & The Supremes and replaced Ballard with Cindy Birdsong. Ross left to pursue a solo career in 1970 and was replaced by Jean Terrell, at which point the group's name returned to The Supremes.
After 1972, the lineup of The Supremes changed more frequently; Lynda Laurence, Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene all became members of the group during the mid-1970s.
The Supremes disbanded in 1977 after an eighteen-year run.
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Keep Me Hangin On
We grew up loving the Supremes for their gorgeous clothes and fun choreography. They were from Detroit and nearby where I lived. The drama of Diana fighting with the other girls made watching them more interesting. Poor FLO.....