Florence Glenda Ballard Chapman June 30, 1943 – Feb 22, 1976

Note to my facebook readers... Please go to this post and see these fantastic videos! They are spine tingling.... KIM

Hi my Retro peeps! I decided for my 550th post! I would feature one of my favorite women in all of Retro Music History Miss Florence Ballard...

Florence Ballard nicknamed "Flo" or "Blondie" (June 30, 1943 – February 22, 1976), was an Detroit singer, and the founder of the Hall of Fame Motown group The Supremes.

During their early years, members of The Supremes (aka The Primettes) enjoyed a democratic distribution of leads on songs. However, by 1966, Ballard and Mary Wilson had begun to feel the pinch as Motown President Berry Gordy, Jr. began spotlighting Diana Ross's individual "career".

This caused extreme abandonment feelings that led Ballard to chronic depression and alcoholism, factors that played right into the hands of Gordy's (and Ross') decision to fire Flo from The Supremes in July 1967.

After an unsuccessful attempt at a solo career in the late 1960s, Ballard spent much of the last five years of her life in relative poverty, attempting to avoid media attention while suing the various parties involved in her dismissal from Motown.

By the mid-1970s, it appeared that Ballard had regained control of her mental and emotional health. She began making public appearances, doing interviews.

Flo's nice home on West Buena Vista

Florence purchased a new home after receiving a sizable settlement from attorneys she said had cheated her. Around this time, Ballard also began receiving treatment for her alcoholism and reconciled with estranged husband Tommy Chapman. Sadly in 1976, Ballard died of a coronary thrombosis (now called myocardial infarction) at the age of thirty-two. Her death has been called "one of rock's greatest tragedies" More on Flo's Death HERE
But her family wants to know what happened. Maxine said: "My sister was healthy, she was happy, she loved her children and she had big plans for the future. "I don't believe that she died of natural causes. She was outspoken and talking too much, and I believe that she was killed." Was Flo Ballard Murdered? Read about it HERE Florence was always my favorite Supreme.

She wasn't the skinny one, and didn't sleep with her boss (now a known fact as Ross and Gordy had a daughter that they kept well hidden until she grew up). Ross stopped at nothing to be a STAR but at what price? Mary Wilson wrote a fantastic book which I read called Dream girl My Life as a Supreme. You can see the slideshow for more related items on this post.

The book covers the story of Wilson's life from her childhood, to meeting Florence Ballard and Diana Ross and forming the Primettes (later The Supremes), to the group's later international success and personal conflicts in the 1960s, Ballard's replacement with Cindy Birdsong in 1967, the development of Ross as a solo act, and Ross' split from the group in 1969-1970.

Dreamgirl was dedicated to Wilson's family and "to the memory of Florence 'Blondie' Ballard", whose post-Supremes years are also covered in the book. According to J. Randy Taraborrelli's 2007 biography, Diana Ross, Wilson approached Ross in 1986 to discuss the book; however, Ross reportedly snubbed Wilson upon learning that the book featured her in a very negative light. 


Big Rich said...

NICE piece! " Flo, she don't know..."

Fran Doman said...

"Wonderful story, Kim. Thanks

MJG196 said...

It says a lot that when Diana Ross tried to reunite the Supremes several years ago, Mary Wilson refused, and then the subsequent "solo" Ross shows had to be cancelled from lack of ticket sales.


Anonymous said...

Oh Please!

4 Million was too much to Pay that Mary Wilson for Anything, she sure as hell regrets not taking that offer now!

As she opens for other Has beens in the Music industry.

Besides, Flo actually said she preferred dealing with Diana more than Mary, because she didn't trust her.

Flo was right too!, Diana & Mary kept the problems on the road secret from Berry Gordy for a long time, but it was MARY WILSON that approached Diana Ross, saying something needed to be done about Flo!

It was also sweet Miss Mary that Fired Cindy Birdsongs ass from The Supremes, because (according to Miss Mary), Cindy Had "Let Herself Go"

Don't be fooled, Miss Mary is one Self Serving, Manipulative Duplicitous Old Bird

Anonymous said...

why do you think mary did not deserve that amount, while the greedy bitch diane was getting 15-20 million. she fucked herself because the tour was cancelled because of poor ticket sales. I bet if mary and cindy were there, the might have sold out.

Retro Kimmer said...

@ANON I agree with you totally

Anonymous said...

i saw mary wilsons house in las vegas on youtube. oh! my god, what a beautiful house she had. I also saw pictures of diane houses. she obviously had no taste in décor like she did with supreme gowns. and I loved flo the best. she treated all her fans with dignity. she used to buy them hot chocolate when it was cold, take them out and buy them pizza and soda. I also read diane used to cut mary and flo's real hair and she charged them. what a bitch!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just read a mystery that opens with some kind words about Florence. Made me smile. https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Drag-M-C-Schmidt/dp/1630664480

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