Friday, October 22, 2010

In History: The Supremes

This is the 48th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.

On this day, Oct. 22, in 1966, The Supremes became the first all-female music group to attain a No. 1 selling album with "The Supremes A' Go-Go."

On the album are original songs:
"Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart"
"You Can't Hurry Love"
"Put Yourself in My Place"
And covers:
"Baby I Need Your Loving", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)", "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" by the Four Tops;
"Get Ready" by The Temptations
"Come and Get These Memories" by Martha and the Vandellas
"Money (That's What I Want)" by Barrett Strong
"This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" by The Isley Brothers
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra
"Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys

Honestly, if you aren't aware of The Supremes, I'm not sure how to help you. (Jokes! But really, YouTube is your friend here.) I could never attempt to give a comprehensive history of the group, so I will just say that they were first known as The Primettes, later as Diana Ross & the Supremes, and then The Supremes again. They started young, still in high school, in 1959 with members Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, and Betty McGlown, all from the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit. Members changed over the years, and included Barbara Martin (1960–1962), Cindy Birdsong (1967–1972, 1973–1976), Jean Terrell (1970–1973), Lynda Laurence (1972–1973), Scherrie Payne (1973–1977) and Susaye Greene (1976–1977). The Supremes broke down barriers for black women in the music world, and did something that was hard for black artists to do at the time: became wildly successful among both black audiences and white audiences.

This album of theirs that reached No. 1 was hardly their only work. All told, they had 29 studio albums, four live albums, 27 compilation albums, 60 singles, two soundtracks and eight other albums. Thirty-three of their singles reached the Billboard Top 40 in the US, 23 reached either the US or UK Top 10, and 12 of them reached the No. 1 position on the US pop chart. Twelve of their albums reached the Top 10 in either the US or UK, with five of them going to No. 1.

Photo source.

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