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Original Divas: The Supremes
oil on canvas
20"x 24"
The Supremes started out in 1959 as a quartet known as the Primettes. The original members were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Betty Travis. Travis was forced by her parents to leave the group to devote more time to her studies. In 1961, Berry Gordon signed the group to Motown Records, but insisted they change their name. Florence Ballard, who originally formed the group, renamed them the Supremes. Wilson and Ross initially disliked the named, but Gordy approved. The Supremes first hit was "Where Did I Love Go?", reaching number one on the Pop and R&B charts. "Baby Love" followed in September 1964 and also reached number one on the Pop and R&B charts. "Baby Love" made the Supremes the first all female group to reach number one in England. Not only were the Supremes competing head on with the British invasion, they were also becoming superstars in the realm of pop entertainment. In October 1964 the Supremes became the first American group to have three number one songs from the same album when they released "Come See About Me". The Supremes went on to have a string of number one hits including; "Stop! In the Name of Love"; "Back in my Arms Again"; "You Can't Hurry Love"; "You Keep Me Holding On"; and "Love is Here and Now You Are Gone". Despite their success, growing friction between Diana Ross and Florence Ballard led to Gordy replacing Ballard with Cindy Birdsong. Gordy also renamed the group Diana Ross and the Supremes. Though Diana was gaining stature on her way to a solo career, the new lineup was not nearly as successful sales wise. "Someday We'll Be Together", issued in October 1969, became the Supremes last number one single recorded by the trio. The Supremes, the original all female super group, were inducted into the RocknRoll Hall of Fame in 1988.
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