ARTIST: The Supremes
TITLE: Diana Ross & The Supremes Anthology
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Top 5: Where Did Our Love Go (#1 US, #1 R&B, #3 UK), Baby Love (#1 US, #1 R&B, #1 UK), Come See About Me (#1 US, #2 R&B, #27 UK), Stop! In the Name of Love (#1 US, #2 R&B, #7 UK), Back in My Arms Again (#1 US, #1 R&B, #40 UK), Nothing but Heartaches (#11 US, #8 R&B), I Hear a Symphony (#1 US, #1 R&B, #39 UK), My World Is Empty Without You (#5 US, #5 R&B), You Can’t Hurry Love (#1 US, #1 R&B, #3 UK), You Keep Me Hanging On (#1 US, #1 R&B, #8 UK), Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone (#1 US, #1 R&B, #17 UK), The Happening (#1 US, #1 R&B, #6 UK), Reflections (#2 US, #2 R&B, #5 UK), Love Child (#1 US, #1 R&B, #15 UK), I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (#2 US, #1 R&B, #3 UK), Someday We’ll Be together (#1 US, #1 R&B, #13 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, I’m sure of it.
LINEUP: Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard (until 1967), Cindy Birdsong (1967-69). Other singers (yes, it’s true) and of course the great Motown session players.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Amongst the big stars of Motown, during their peak the Supremes were THE biggest stars, thanks to great songs and the talent of Diana Ross and the identification of her as the focal point of the group (whether it was fair to the others or not).
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: For many, to this day Motown is almost synonymous with the sound of the Supremes. Diana Ross’ vocals, with backing from the other Supremes and the great backing band singing and playing songs written and produced by the Holland / Dozier / Holland team – that’s Motown.
This collection covers the Supremes in the 60’s, when Diana Ross reigned supreme. Only a couple tracks feature leads from anyone else, and in fact, after 1967 Ross was sometimes the only member of the group singing on the songs (there was tension regarding making Ross the focal point, and the touring schedules also contributed). After the HDH team left, the hit making machine ground down due to the quality of the songs, and soon it was decided that Ross should go solo (with the Supremes continuing on…and we’ll review that anthology later.)
You’ve heard the songs listed above, and others. Some of the other cuts (the occasional album cut and the early and later singles that didn’t do so well) are intriguing – some are superfluous. Still, any fan of Motown should probably grab this since it’s a ‘one-stop’ shop and you can pick through what you like and what you don’t.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The Supremes originally had four members, but shrunk to the famous trio by 1962.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: There may be comprehensive masters collections out there. That’s a lot of Motown to go through.
GRADE: A: It’s the Supremes, and Motown. Just listening to the production and musicianship alone is worth it all.