If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.
So, in a sort of chronological order, my twenty ninth legends are: Diana Ross & The Supremes.
Whilst Diana has an impressive back catalogue of songs as a solo artist, to me, she will always be associated with one of the best Motown groups of all time, The Supremes. Therefore, it is only right that this article covers both Diana Ross and The Supremes.
I am very grateful that American shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and the UK ToTP recorded their shows.
The Supremes were an American female singing group and a premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s. Founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959, the Supremes were the most commercially successful of Motown’s acts and the most successful American vocal group, with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Most of these hits were written and produced by Motown’s main song writing and production team, Holland–Dozier–Holland. At their peak in the mid-1960s, the Supremes rivalled the Beatles in worldwide popularity, and it is said that their breakthrough made it possible for future African American R&B and soul musicians to find mainstream success. Billboard ranked The Supremes as the 16th greatest Hot 100 artist of all time.
Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, and Betty McGlown, the original group, were all from the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit. They formed the Primettes as the sister act to the Primes (with Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks, who went 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 and Holland-Dozier-Holland as its song writing and production team. In 1967, Motown president Berry Gordy renamed the group Diana Ross & the Supremes, and replaced Ballard with Cindy Birdsong. In 1970, Ross left to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Jean Terrell and the group reverted to being The Supremes again. During the mid-1970s, the line-up changed with Lynda Laurence, Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene joining until, after 18 years, the group disbanded in 1977.
Diana Ross (born Diane Ernestine Earle Ross, March 26, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter and actress, born in Detroit, Michigan. She rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, who became Motown’s most successful act during the 1960s and one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. They remain the best-charting female group in history, with a total of twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including, “Where Did Our Love Go“, “Baby Love“, “Come See About Me“, and “Love Child“.
Following departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross embarked on a successful solo career in music, film, television and on stage. Her eponymous debut solo album, featured the U.S. number-one hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and music anthem “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”. It was followed with her second solo album, Everything Is Everything, which spawned her first UK number-one single “I’m Still Waiting“. She continued her successful solo career by mounting elaborate record-setting world-wide concert tours, starring in a number of highly watched prime-time television specials and releasing hit albums like Touch Me in the Morning (1973), Mahogany (1975) and Diana Ross (1976) and their number-one hit singles, “Touch Me in the Morning“, “Theme from Mahogany” and “Love Hangover“, respectively. Ross further released numerous top-ten hits into the 1970s, 80s and 90s. She achieved two more US number-one singles, “Upside Down” (1980) and “Endless Love” (1981), as well as UK number-one hit “Chain Reaction” (1986) and UK number-two hit “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” (1991).
Ross has also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated performance in the film Lady Sings the Blues (1972); she recorded its soundtrack, which became a number one hit on the U.S. album chart. She also starred in two other feature films, Mahogany (1975) and The Wiz (1978), later acting in the television films Out of Darkness (1994), for which she also was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and Double Platinum (1999).
She had a top 10 UK hit in every one of the last five decades and sang lead on a top 75 hit single at least once every year from 1964 to 1996 in the UK, a period of 33 consecutive years and a record for any performer.
The Supremes – Baby Love 1964
The Supremes – Come See About Me From the Ed Sullivan Show – 1964
The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go (1964)
The Supremes – Stop! In The Name of Love [The Hollywood Palace – 1965]
The Supremes – My World Is Empty Without You – on The Ed Sullivan Show 1966
The Supremes You Can’t Hurry Love – on The Ed Sullivan Show 1966, still a favourite of mine despite being ruined by a cover version of a certain “singer”.
The Supremes – You Keep Me Hangin’ On – (HQ Audio) They are miming and a bit obvious at times, but nevertheless a super tune.
Diana Ross & The Supremes – Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone – Pleasant ballad from a TV show in 1968
The Supremes – The Happening – on The Ed Sullivan Show from 1967 – To me a defining moment of the 60’s.
Diana Ross & The Supremes – Reflections – From the Tennessee Ernie Ford Special TV show – 1967
Diana Ross & The Supremes – In And Out Of Love (Live) – US TV show TopPop
Diana Ross & The Supremes – Love Child – on The Ed Sullivan Show
Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations – I’m Gonna Make You Love Me – I do like this one.
Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations – I Second That Emotion – Could not find a live version, just that do like when The Supremes join up with The Temptations.
This one is very special, at least to me:
Diana Ross & The Supremes – Someday We’ll Be Together – on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969. It was the last TV performance of Diana Ross and The Supremes.
Diana Ross – Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) Live show in 1979, includes Marvin Gaye singing a few lines during the audience participation.
Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – At The Oprah Winfrey Show 2012
Diana Ross – Remember Me – Live show around 2010
Diana Ross – I´m Still Waiting (The Greatest Music Party In The World, UK show in 1995)
Diana Ross – Upside Down – From a Dutch show in 1994
I think my most favourite Diana Ross of the more modern era is of course:
Diana Ross – Chain Reaction – Live performance of this 1985 massive hit, this was recorded in 1994 and a great tune it is, written of course by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb.
Singalong, enjoy and be happy!
Links to previous Legend articles:
Featured image: “Diana Ross and The Supremes – Live at London’s Talk Of The Town” by Piano Piano! is licensed under CC BY 2.0
© Phil the ex test manager 2022