Category: The Supremes

The Supremes – The 70’s Anthology

ARTIST: The Supremes           220px-70s-supremes

TITLE:  The 70’s Anthology

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 40: Up the Ladder to the Roof (#10 US, #5 R&B, #6 UK), Everybody’s Got the Right to Love (#21 US, #11 R&B), Stoned Love (#7 US, #1 R&B, #3 UK), River Deep – Mountain High (#14 US, #7 R&B, #11 UK), Nathan Jones (#16 US, #8 R&B, #5 UK), You Gotta Have Love in Your Heart (#55 US, #41 R&B, #25 UK), Floy Joy (#16 US, #5 R&B, #9 UK), Automatically Sunshine (#37 US, #21 R&B, #10 UK), Your Wonderful, Sweet Sweet Love (#59 US, #22 R&B), Bad Weather (#87 US, #74 R&B, #37 UK), I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walkjing (#40 US, #25 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They covered a lot of hits by other artists.

LINEUP: Jean Terrell, Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong. Lynda Laurence and Susaye Greene replaced Birdsong at times. Scherrie Payne replaced Terrell as lead in October 1973.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Even without Diana Ross, the Supremes churn out hits for a few years with Jean Terrell as lead, until their sound (and the traditional Motown production methods) fall out of favor.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From 1970 through 1972, the Supremes were dependable hit makers, thanks to Terrell’s lead, a more democratic group dynamic, and some great songs and production. There were some stumbles, as a planned album already recorded and mixed was shelved. (Tracks of that album are featured here, and fanatics can easily find the rest on another compilation.)

However, the group felt that Motown was neglecting them after a while in promotion and songs, and they probably were right as there was upheaval in that company during the time. They threatened to leave Motown in 1973, but discovered the label owned the name. It wasn’t until 1975 that more Supremes records came out, but only lasted a couple of years.

These tracks aren’t as iconic as the Ross-led 60’s output, but they’re a darn fine representation of 70’s soul and feature more adventurous vocals and shared leads. The material isn’t always the best, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by these songs.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Birdsong left due to pregnancy, replaced by Laurence, who got Stevie Wonder to give them “Bad Weather”, which surprisingly stiffed.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+: A great overview from a forgotten era of a Motown favorite.

The Supremes – Diana Ross & The Supremes Anthology

ARTIST: The Supremes        Anthology(Supremes_album)

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.