Cindy Birdsong. FORUM: Archive - Beginning April 17, 2003: Cindy Birdsong.
Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 10:21 am:

As with all other threads,some of the so called facts that are put in may well be in-correct.So,please,instead of getting on my case,could you just correct any mis-information where relevent.
Thank you.
Cindy Birdsong.
Cindy is from Philadelphia,and as we all know was a Supreme,replacing the great Florence Ballard.
Any way,
cindy was not a newcomer to the music world as she was a former member of the famous Patti Labelle and the Blue Bells.And whilst with them was an avid songwriter,with a song being recorded by them before she left.Unfortunatly I do not know the record,and apparantly she has written over 50 songs.
In 1968,Her hometown of Camden acclaimed the 26 April as Cindy Birdsong day,and gave her the key to the city.
Before the Blue Bells she sang with her mother,Annie,in the choir at tenth street baptist church.
Her future aspirations were to go on the broadway stage,as she wanted to go into acting.And once said that beforeuntil she got into singing,she never ever thought that this was the road that she would of taken.
With the Supremes she sang on Reflections as well as others.From here I am not up with all of the material that she was involved in with the group,and only know that aroundthe very early70's she left the Supremes to become a housewife.
She was replaced by Lynda Lawrence,who was yet another philadelphian lady making the detroit connection.
As usual any input
is greatly appreciated,and my apologies for
any mistakes that have appeared.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 12:28 pm:

Cindy originally left the Supremes when "Floy Joy"
was to be released. She actually had a verse on
there, but it was replaced by Mary or Jean because
she left. She had married and was pregnant with
her only child. I think his name is David and
she has long been divorced from her husband,
Charles Hewlett. She rejoined the Supremes with
Scherrie Payne in 1973. She stayed until being
forced out of the group by Mary's then-husband
Pedro Ferrer, who, unfortunately, Mary allowed
to manage the group. She was replaced by Susaye
Green. She had planned to go solo, but I guess
it didn't work out. By the late '70s or early
'80s I heard she was working in the bookstore
at UCLA. I also heard she took a clerical posi-
tion in Motown's offices in LA. I was told she
quit because too many people liked bossing
around one of the former queens of Motown.
It's too bad Diana didn't have Cindy & Mary on
the Return to Love tour. It would have been
more successful. I saw the show in Tampa, FL
and it was FABULOUS!

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 12:58 pm:

Many thanks Randy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 01:22 pm:

Cindy DID record solo - Dancing might recall the publicity at her launch at London's Hippodrome.....Diana was in the audience, but more importantly, I was there!!!! LOL Cindy did about 4 numbers, she sung over pre-recorded band tracks.

Cindy on Reflections!!! The song was recorded when Flo was still with the group (as was In And Out of Love)in March 1967. The first possible 45 with Cindy would be Forever Came Today. Now we can get this all confirmed if we can prize Russ Terrana of "He who put the beep de beep in Reflection" fame away from his busy schedule. Ralph - you need to apply a bit of presssure here!

Cindy can be heard in all her wonderful glory on the latest Supremes 70's Anthology - particularly Sha La Bandit and Life Beats. But then you ALL have that don't you!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 01:32 pm:

Sorry John,
but being a total 60s freak,and before,
then anything in the 70s,
is all new ground to myself,and I am learning all the time from very Knowlegable(that dosent look correctly spelled)guys such as your fine self sir.
I do have the double album Supremes anthology,
an earlier one!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 01:38 pm:

Mel, he's referring to the newly released '70s
Anthology 2CD set just issued by the Supremes.
Cindy joined the group when Reflections was
released, but, of course, all that material
had already been recorded and very possibly
without any Supremes except Diana. I remember
hearing that by contract Cindy couldn't record
with them for awhile.

Top of pageBottom of page   By MEL&THEN SOME ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 02:51 pm:

Cheers Randy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulie dave uk ( on Friday, November 22, 2002 - 06:00 pm:

Hi Guys, I read somewhere that after 1967 the Supremes records with Miss Ross were actually Dianna Ross and the Adantes. Would that be correct? Thanks.

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulboy ( on Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 09:11 am:

Soulie dave uk
I asked this previously on the forum, and yes the andantes were heavily involved in the supremes vocals after flo left. 'love child' and 'someday' do feature the andantes on vocals. What is interesting is that they were also used on diana ross's first solo albums. They also featured heavily on four tops records.

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulie dave uk ( on Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 12:03 pm:

Thanks soulboy, for confirming that. It appeers the Adantes were on a lot of peoples records as were the Originals. The more I read and learn about Motown and what actually happened. The more surprises keep cropping up. The amount of interesting information on this forum is amazing, It's hard to remember it all. SDUK

Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Sunday, November 24, 2002 - 12:04 am:

As has been substantiated by Harry Weinger, Andrew Skurow and others , the Waters (Maxine & Julia), and not the Andantes provided the background vocals on 'Someday We'll Be Together'.
The Andantes replaced Cindy and Mary on many singles such as 'Some Things You Never Get Used To', 'Love Child', 'I'm Living In Shame', 'The Composer', and No Matter What Sign You Are'.
Mary and Cindy, however are featured on the singles recorded with the Temptations.

Top of pageBottom of page   By TonyRussi ( on Monday, November 25, 2002 - 07:53 am:

One thing I noticed on Diana Ross solo records the background singers seemedto do more than what the real Supremes got to do on the Supremes records with Diana Ross.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Monday, November 25, 2002 - 02:42 pm:

There has always been great argument about who is singing back up on what record. At a party, I asked Valerie Simpson why Cindy and Mary are not on Some Things You Never Get Used to. She explained that it was not out of spite but that sometimes it had to do with time. By the late 60's it was sometimes hard to get the three ladies in the studio at the same time. She said it was easier to give the backups to professional readers like the Andantes or the Waters who could come in, read the music and do the backup in a couple of takes rather than having to teach the backups to Cindy and Mary. This kind of thing was done a lot at Motown. Most of Martha Reeves recordings were backed by the Andantes rather than any particular Vandella lineup. The problem appears to be that more than any other group at Motown, The Supremes were known and loved as a group and as individuals. So, it is hard to hear that Mary and Cindy were not on some of our favorite cuts. If anyone doubted the enduring power of the Supremes, all you had to do was be at the Arclight in Los Angeles last week. There was a huge turn out for the 70s Supremes CD Anthology signing. And by the way, Cindy looked fabulous. Making fans want a Cindy, Mary, Diana reunion even more.

Having said that, most of the Reflections album was recorded with Florence and at times the Andantes to sweeten the sound. Cindy's first recording was supposedly Forever Came Today and she is also on a couple of other cuts on the album (one of the songs being Then).

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 03:31 pm:

Hey Folks:
Cleo raised an excellent point here. It was common practice throughout the industry during the 1960s to use professional studio singers (and musicians) on recording sessions for many reasons.

Studio time wasn't cheap (and still isn't)plus union musicians were used so that was an added expense. So to spend time teaching parts to singers or bands would have been a nightmare if a song took several takes to get it right (the Box Tops "The Letter" took dozens of takes because the band couldn't get it together, which resulted in Chips Moman & Dan Penn using professionals for their later works).

Another reason why was if a group was on tour and the label wanted to get new releases out quickly, it was much easier to have the music & vocals done ahead of schedule so that the lead singer can go in, lay down the vocals and - presto! - the next single (or album) is done.

If you check out the Nick & Val thread you'll see where I mentioned just a few things they sang on. Also, producer Jerry Ross & Jay Proctor (of Jay & the Techniques fame)both admitted in separate interviews that the Techniques were not on the recording sessions - NYC session players such as Al Gorgoni (guitar), Joe Macho (bass), Bernard Purdie (drums) were on many of those records.

Also check out prior threads from our Philly brother Bobby Eli - he explained how Gamble & Huff had to pinch-hit for certain vocal groups.

Kevin "KevGo" Goins

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 12:30 pm:

Thanks Kevin for the comments. The Supremes websites and forums are filled with people trying to figure out who sang what on which record. What truly separated the "men from the boys" so to speak, in those days was whether the groups could reproduce what had been recorded in the studio, live. Motown seemed to pay particular attention to make sure that the professional backups imitated or sounded like the people they were replacing. As a result, the Motown groups distinguished themselves by being able to do that for the most part, wthout having to have tracks behind them as they do these days. If you listen to I'm Living In Shame, Some Things You Never Get Used To, The Composer (all of which had "professional" backup instead of Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong), they all sound like a Supremes song and the backup sounds as if Mary and Cindy recorded them. In 1969, I went to Diana Ross and the Supremes concert at what was then the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey, and when they sang Some Things You Never Get Used To, they sounded just like the record.

Ashford & Simpson are to me the most amazing composers and musicians. It seems a shame that they are not in vogue right now. The problem is that they always write songs instead of groves. I have met them on many occasions (I once sang at their daughter Nicole's 4th birthday party) and had the honor of one time watching Valerie conducting in the studio. She is a genius. And Nick's lyrics are wonderful. If there are any doubts take a re-listen to Is It Still Good To You, or Send It, or two of my favorites Still Such A Thing and Changed By Your Love from the album they produced for Gladys Knight & The Pips, About Love. They deserve a resurrection in the music business. But can it happen in this day of over glorified American Idol singers and sound a like groves.
Michael James Leslie

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 05:41 pm:

As long as fans like you, me and those who frequent the Forum are out there buying their records (reissued or new), frequenting their shows or stopping by the Sugar Bar (their wonderful restaurant), their renaissance will live on way past the American Idols of the world.
Keep the spirit and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Kevin L. Goins - "KevGo"

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 12:43 pm:

There is a rumor that Cindy Birdsong will join Patti Labelle, Nona Hendrx, and Sarah Dash in the scheduled Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles reunion. Since Sarah has come upon hard times and Cindy has always struggled a bit, it seems as though Patti is doing her bit for the ladies and giving the fans a thrill at the same time. I know that Patti and Cindy had patched their differences some time ago but bad blood still existed between Nona and Cindy because of the "middle of the night" flight Cindy made from The Bluebelles to Diana Ross and the Supremes. Let's hope all this has been settled. Isn't it incredible that Cindy Birdsong has been a member of two of the most famous femal groups of all time!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Promises Kept ( on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 04:20 pm:

I'm sure all the women would agree that Cindy made a smart business move in going to work for the Supremes. She has since "represented" both groups on several occasions. Too bad we can't get her in here to share some of her memories!

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 05:21 pm:

God Bless her, but Cindy is the quiet one of the Supremes. She does not like to make waves and even with the RTL disaster, is still friends with Mary, Diana, Jean, and Scherrie. In fact, Diana has helped her financially over the years when Cindy got in trouble. She is a wonderful person and extremely religious.

I have heard that the problem between Cindy and the rest of the Bluebelles is that they thought she was going home to see about her father and then a couple of weeks later heard that she had joined the newly named Diana Ross and The Supremes. A month later she was on Ed Sullivan with the Supremes. At that time, with one move, Cindy had become more famous than her previous cohorts. Cindy in a TV biography of Patti Labelle admitted that she was wrong in how she had left the Bluebelles (to her credit). Patti, who is also wonderful person, patched things up with Cindy some years ago and they are very friendly. The hold out has always been Nona. But with the projected Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles reunion in concert and on record, it appears as though all is well.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Promises Kept ( on Friday, December 06, 2002 - 07:49 pm:

Go "Cindy Marmalade"!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, December 13, 2002 - 04:19 pm:

The Rhythm and Blues foundation is honoring the Supremes in February. They award $100,000.00 to the honorees. It will be interesting to see who shows up since Diana did not make the investiture into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It will also be a barometer of how much the aborted Return to Love tour has further damaged the Mary Wilson/Diana Ross relationship. I am also hoping that Cindy Birdsong will be included in the honor. Although she replaced Florence, she is dearly loved by fans and is most definitely part of the Supremes legend. Besides Miss Birdsong could use the money

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 05:53 pm:

Cindy Birdsong is a true gem--I once interrupted her nap at the Waldorf to tell her how great I thought she sounded on NO MATTER WHAT SIGN YOU ARE!!(per Motown using sound-a - likes!)-she was so gracious. However I really dont fully buy that Valerie and Motown were just being using Andantes etc. Talk about seasoned background singers and quick studies--Cindy and Mary had been doing it for years AND were group members as well! I agree more with the notion that it was to keep them in line--they were not indispensible--Mary said she wanted to sing on Love CHild but needed a brief vacation first. They could have cut Diana and musicicans and Mary and Cindy could have come in in a few days and done the backgrounds--come on, these are bright,talented women who have been praised for years by Cholly Atkins etc for being "such fast studies -so good they- freaked us out"--Im sure they felt "less than"by being replaced--and the public knew on some level as their sales dropped overall as soon as Flo left, and name change--and basically true for Marvelettes and Vandellas as well--it was truly becoming an assembly line. And Flo insisted she and had recoreded Forever Came Today as she knew the words when she heard it.(Im not saying a producer like Valerie was being hurtful on purpose but they were no fools and Berry had made it clear by then who was impt in the Supremes---I doubt that HDH would have gone along with it much--they have praised the synergy of the three Supreme voices).

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 12:48 pm:


I agree with you. I adore Cindy and cannot see why she and Mary were not used on all the records. However, Valerie Simpson seemed very upset and defensive that anyone who was not at Motown, would imply that she was purposely doing Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong harm by not having them on records produced by she and Nick for the Supremes. She said it was a matter of "time." I am also a fan of Ashford & Simpson, and I took her at her word. In reality, only the particpants know for sure.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 01:05 pm:

Yes, I heard that working out the group harmony
on the backgrounds took the most time. Due to
keeping the acts busy on the road, the tracks
were recorded and backup vocals added, totally
ready for the lead singer to add their vocals.

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 05:17 pm:

Im so glad we have fans that know that Mary and Cindy were indispensable. No disrespect to Miss Ross but the 70s Supremes did much better than she did in the beginning and you know the story about Berry having to wrip up money and tear it in half to get people to see Diana!!!!

Im sorry but the Supremes fans as a whole have strong loyalty to all of the lineups like the Temps fans do. We prefer the classic line up but we like all of them. Im not saying Flo leaving affected the sounds of the records but it DID affect the image. The sound changed and Andantes backgrounds didnt help Diana chartwise neither did HDH leaving. I think the success of Love Child was due to Diana's good vocal but the arrangement had more to do with it in my opinion the wonderful work of the Corporation and Deke and Friends. Diana did not need Mary and Cindy to remain popular but Diana Ross and the Supremes did.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ollie ( on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 06:24 pm:

I didn't read all of these posts so perhaps this has been covered. I notice that on TV, Diana Ross' female backup singer sings along with Ross, vertatim! Is this to strengthen Ross' voice and make it SOUND stronger?

I am amazed at the number of young "singers" today with such meager "talent." Ashanti comes to mind. It seems that if you have "that image," even if you can't sing, they will sign you to a recording contract.

Ross has a nice sound to her smallish voice and has a lot more than these new girls - years of experience on stage.

The female singers in their 20s in the '60s were girls straight out of the church with amazing vocal talents. Name them: Aretha, Martha, Gladys, Patti, Dionne, Candi, Etta and from the blues side, Miss Bettye LaVette! Funny, they are STILL the best singers around.

Of the newer females, I like Chante Moore, Kelly Price, Syleena Johnson (needs better material), and Deborah Cox. Where is that fabulous Milira and the incredible, Allyson Williams?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 07:21 pm:

I am always open to input but I still see it as minimizing the other Supremes and a very weak reason--recording artists can record anywhere--Destiny's Child finds time to record and tour;Vandellas made Live album in one day; Beach Boys recorded and toured incessantly in the 60s and The Shirelles to my knowledge the same and used the group on record;I think it was also considered perhaps that females were less impt(Tempts in studio and toured;Tops even tho ANdantes sometimes added etc.);Valerie may have been defensive but she subbed for Tammi! The fact is there is no problem recording all of a group--look how the Supremes did it at their peak-64-66 and toured constantly.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 08:20 pm:

Alyson Williams still performs here in NYC. When I find out more I will let you know.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Promises Kept ( on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 12:01 am:

Sorry, but I disagree about Ross being lesser to the 70 Supremes as far as early "success"....and I'm a HUGE 70 Supremes fan! The general public doesn't even know that the Supremes continued without Ross. Ross' impact FAR outweighed what JMC did. Her "not so high charting early songs" turned into her national anthems right from the beginning. But JMC songs quickly faded from those chart positions to be all but forgotten. As pointed out in this forum..."River Deep" charted well above anyone else's version (US)....but very very few music fans respect it today, or for the past 25 years for that matter. Mary put it best in her book....Fans were divided into 3 camps...those that followed Ross....those that followed the new Supremes....those that followed both. In this case, obviously more Supremes records would sell over Ross alone......but only initially. Ross "exploded"! the new Supremes imploded.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Uptight! ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 05:17 am:

Ollie: Unfortunately Milira passed away after her first Motown album in the 1990s. Epileptic seizure, I believe. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Uptight! ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 07:00 am:

Vandelron: KevGo has an excellent point. In the studio (as in any profession) "time is money." No matter how much a quick study Mary & Cindy were (at learning stage routines with their background vocals) studio singers could often help make recording sessions go more efficiently, knowing how to read music and create harmonies.

It seems when a group back then was constantly touring, they had less and less time to work out three-part harmony for every new record in production. For example, you hear fewer harmonies between Diana/Mary/Flo's records as they grew in popularity more quickly and appeared more often on stage and TV. As they all worked harder, and the demand for more product got higher, logistics would make keeping the girls in a studio together so often impossible.

Who knows? With their exhausting schedules, it's possible Cindy & Mary might not have even wanted to attend every recording session. Cindy & Mary would still sing the songs on stage instead AND receive royalties from records sold with the group's name printed on them. Audience members, for the most part, were none the wiser. (And session singers got paid for their studio work.)

The use of in-house studio singers once in a while seems more like a win-win situation instead of a disrespect to Mary & Cindy.

In the case of Tammi Terrell, she probably was physically unable to be at the studio to continue recordings they'd started with Marvin. She was too ill. And again, the company released some beautiful product with the Gaye/Terrell name on it. The two artists pictured on the album cover, I believe, still got paid for the record sales. Ms. Simpson performed a wonderful favor filling in for Terrell on the "Easy" LP.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 10:15 am:


You make valid points. While we are at it, let's give a hand to the incredible Valerie Simpson. She is an incredible singer/writer/producer musician. And she filled in for other people besides Tammi Terrell. I bet she and Syreeta Wright could write a book on the sessions where they stepped in for ailing or taciturn singers. They often finished and "sweetened" vocals at Motown.

I once had the fortune some years ago of watching Valerie conduct an orchestra for a session. In the middle of a run through, she stopped and told a horn player that he was playing an incorrect note. This was was amid many musicians. We were stunned, none of us listening could tell the difference or that anything was wrong! I marvelled at her "ears." She is an incredible lady and along with Nick have produced and written some of the great soul classics of our time.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 10:55 am:

The number of songs Valerie Simpson (with or without Nick) recorded could fill an entire phone book. She indeed is one of pop music's great treasures.
I still enjoy listening to her album "Exposed" when she kicks it off with "I Don't Need Nobody's Help." She & the Funk Brothers made some damn good music together. It's a shame that by the time she did her second solo album Motown had moved to the West Coast - to hear her (on piano AND vocals) with the Funks again would have been priceless.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 02:23 pm:


Amen my friend, I am still fond of her solo hit "Silly." And you are right about I Don't Need Nobody's Help. I can't believe that it hasn't been re-made. Another one that I am crazy about is Valerie's version of "Can't it Wait Until Tomorrow." I love when Valerie says in the beginning "Somebody turn up the microphone!" I hate to say it but this version puts Diana Ross's to shame.

There are those who have ventured the notion that had she not been in the Ashford/Simpson singing duo that she would have been a major solo star. To me, it doesn't make any difference, she is a star!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 02:39 pm:

Back to Cindy.
Back in the day when she was with the Bluebelles she was a good friend of mine. In fact there were times when they would rehearse in my basement!!
I have played with them on various Philly based shows. Their manager, "Pops" Montague was also driver, chaperone, valet, food getter, you name it. Those were the days , my friend!1

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 02:52 pm:


I wish I could have been there to hear Cindy praticing with the Bluebelles in your basement. How incredbile those days must have been!

I have often thought that although Cindy Birdsong has been through some tough times through the years, she must be incredible proud that she was part of two of the great female groups of all time and integral to their success. I still love to listen to the old Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles albums and listen to what Cindy added to the harmonies.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 03:27 pm:

In the case of Tammi Terrell's recordings with
Marvin Gaye: Valerie Simpson was used because
of Tammi's illness. Marvin said he didn't want
to do it, BUT Motown convinced him too saying
that Tammi's family could really use the money.
I read that I believe in the book Divided Soul.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 09:27 pm:

Sorry guys I still dont buy it--look at the Beach Boys, The Tempts, Shirelles etc. With the technology developed in the 60s it was no big deal to record WHO u Wanted WHEN u Wanted--do u think Kelly or Michelle of DCwould allow this today???Remember when Cindy tried to answer a ques that Diana interrupted her on and C was told by Berry not to talk again???Come on lets be real.
IN Magazine in LA reported Cindy will be joining Labelle for some recording in 2003 and that Labelle would tour--has this been confirmed? PS I plan to go to R and B Hall of Fame awards this Thurs and if I can I'll ask Mary about this recording ques(maybe tho not the best time)--as I recall she has said 2 things on the matter:1)She wanted to record on Love Child and 2)The quality of the records decreased correlating with her and Cindy NOT being on them.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Clay ( on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 08:52 am:

Cindy, Mary, and Diane should have been on the Road
with the "Return of The Supremes" and that's why it did'nt work. It's really sad to see EGO before the SHOW which simply equated to a lost of DOUGH.OH Well, and few people know that Cindy has a very good voice. I remember recording The Supremes(Cindy,Mary,Jean) at the Golden World Studio's and Cindy who always carried her little pet Shitsu(I think that what it was)into the studio and told me not to worry about him because he would'nt make a sound and he/she did'nt LOL.

Cindy was very good with backgrd parts which probably came natural after working with Pattie Labell. Cindy was more laid back than the others but I found her to be very nice and friendly with me and I only regret that I never got a chance to put her on the Lead vocal on one of my tunes I'm sure we would have surprised a bunch of folk at Motown. And I agree she should come aboard this forum I would love to see her here. Peace

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 10:09 am:

Clay--so great to read your post. Why would u say Cindy never got a big lead by you or others--?Ive always loved her voice too.

Top of pageBottom of page   By shawn1 ( on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 07:57 pm:

You know I have always thought Cindy must not have had much of a voice since Mary is and Flo really stood out in live performances and you heard a strong alto and soprano.When Cindy came the background was pretty much up to Mary and if you listen to the Live at The Talk Of The Town it's pretty much a Mary Diana show.RTL was a mistake from the moment Ross tried to replace Wilson and Birdsong,I think Ross would have faired much better if she had must done the songs herself .When I heard Cindy's solo recording of Dancing Room and Ready For You I thought she was very pleasent singer and should be heard Cindy also recorded a Gospel song "I Am Changed "which is really good .I am hoping that Cindy will be able to make some good money with The Bluebelles she is such a sweet lady who hasn't uttered a mean word about anyone no matter how bad they have treated her .Cindy did get some lead parts in the 70's Supremes and was even had spotlight leads on some tv shows from the 70's.RTL would have work if Diana and Mary and Cindy were evolved Lynda Lawrence and Scherrie Payne to Official 70's Supremes have great voices and stage pressence but it just wasn't the same and I knew this wasn't gonna work after I saw Ross on Oprah with Lawrence and Payne .Cindy was very hurt by all that happened with RTL so hopefully the R&B Hall Of Fame Show with bring Mary,Diana and Cindy .I hear they won't give the induction unless the group promises to perform .I wish I could the footage of the The Bluesbelles induction,Cissy Houston,and Martha and The Vandellas .Shawn ps Good Cindy vocals are "Up The Ladder To Roof",The Supremes Love Train Live in the Orient,Life Beats,TCB segment in the chandlier gowns,can't remember the other songs but she does have some good moments.

Top of pageBottom of page   By shawn1 ( on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

Oh Yeah Cindy got fired from the Supremes by Pedro and Mary but Cindy was not keeping up end of the bargin and was missing dance steps and singing as well as she should have been .Noted she was going thru a lot of personal problems at the time .But from what I was told Mary was getting some flack from Motown and fans alike about Cindy's performances .Shawn

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Saturday, February 15, 2003 - 11:35 pm:

Cindy, Mary, and Diane should have been on the Road
with the "Return of The Supremes" and that's why it did'nt >>>

I have always told people that show should have been billed the Supremes and Supremes fans agreed with me but Diana Ross fans told me that that is not right!! Can you believe some folks (not a lot) were upset that the Supremes box set should have been labeled as Diana Ross and the Supremes.
We have over 50 different anthologies in the world saying Diana Ross and the Supremes it was nice to see the ladies get a box set with ALL of them being celebrated at this time. People are so nuts!!! I truly believe if that thing (show) had been billed as the Supremes and if Mary joined and Cindy it would have gone through the roof!!! Im sorry the monies should have been split three ways or maybe Ross 60 percent and Mary and Cindy 40 percent and since Ross put up some of her own money she is entitled to more and then have all of them get a cut of the merchandising. Im sorry but Ross taking Scherrie and Lynda out there was a big mistake!! I like Scherrie and Lynda but in this case I think Ross was either under the gun to get the show going and HAD to get some legal Supremes or she just said to heck with Mary the public wants to see me.

Mary Wilson has been under so many hardships I think if Ross had just given her 5 million up front she would have gone as long as her percentage of the deal was fair and let Mary have some solos maybe 3. Our dear Cindy was probably just happy at the thought of being onstage again.
She is a nice lady and it seems like she is always there when people need help. Cindy is a great background singer listen to the 70s Supremes records folks and you will find Cindy Birdsong has a very pleasant voice that mixes with everyone especially on Touch and Up the Ladder to the Roof..

Top of pageBottom of page   By Clay ( on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 07:18 am:

Vandelron and Stephanie
I believe Cindy was very excited initially when she got the call to join the Supremes. It seems like an
excellent career move. But when you give 100% and never receive enough respect as the third member of a world reknown group like the Supremes and you hear things being said to hurt your feelings,along with not really being accepted by the other members on a regular basis and certain powers at the record company,you soon lose the excitement that brought you there and you basically look at it as a job,a gig,a hired hand position that you know deep down is not gonna inhance your career as promised or expected. When you feel and tell yourself you're never gonna be
accepted as a full fledge Supreme,you have a tendancy to move a little slower,sing a little lower and lose your concentration when it come to
certain dance routines. Frustration,stress and unhappiness causes people to put on weight and have a change in dedication.

I think Cindy got a bad roll of the dice because she had too much to try and live up to and just being Cindy the attractive professional and former BlueBell was'nt enough for certain folk. Case in point: Carolyn Crawford and Pree, sang and performed more than a year with Martha Reeves all over the country and UK, and are still as good if not better than any two singers that have ever backed her up. but I don't feel they were ever respected or accepted as even semi Vandellas during that course of events. It's true that it's always hard to replace the original singers in most cases,but when you have a group like the Andantes who recorded the greater percentage of back ground on the hits,going out on the road with qualified voices with looks to back you up should at least be appreciated,repected and even paid well.

Most producers of the Supremes never really concentrated on Cindy,because It was Diana's ship and Mary was an original and when Jean Terrell came on board she became the focus. So, at that time and place it would not have been politically or financially correct. Peace

Top of pageBottom of page   By shawn1 ( on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 11:22 am:

But I do think Cindy is really loved by the fans !I also think that maybe Mary was cold to Cindy at first but she has said before that she loves Mary and Knows Mary loves her .When Mary had her car accident Cindy did stay with Mary and help nurse her back to health I am told.But I can see how the shadow of Flo would loom over Cindy but after Diana left you did get to hear Cindy on tv show and live performances I would I could find Cindy first solo with the Supremes ."One Note Sam".Shawn

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:25 am:

I still wonder why Cindy couldnt get one or at least half a solo per album,like Mary on Supremes A Go Go;Paul Williams etc. I saw Mary, Cindy and Jean in Atlantic City and Cindy came out first and sang first verse to Everybody's Got Right To Love-an awful song in my opinion but somewhow she made it likeable;then Mary came out and sang a verse and then Jean. Cindy was teriffic.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 07:53 pm:


On the recently released Supremes 70s Anthology CD, there is a vault unreleased version of the Sha-La-La Bandit. On this version, Cindy sings a verse of the song and her voice is simply fine. Her voice is also clearly riding the chorus on the Johnny Bristol produced Heatbeats. She also co-led a Bridge Over Troubled Water on the New Ways But Love Stays album. She was definitely heard more after Diana left. She also used to lead Where Did Our Love Go when it was sung live.

I have a great fondness for Miss Birdsong because of the delicate classy top parts she added to harmonies. On record, I could always tell when she was singing, and the few times I couldn't it was because the Andantes were imitating her. (eg', Some Things You Never Get Used To, the Composer, I'm Living in Shame).

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:16 pm:

Yes I love her on Sha La Bandit too. There is something very lilting and sweet about her voice. I can hear her very clearly on Im Gonna Make u Love Me. I was responding to Clay who said the focus was on Mary and Jean, thinking they could have been focused on but still wondering why Cindy couldnt have still gotten more occasional leads, or co-leads.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Uptight! ( on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 08:27 am:

Cleoharvey: Yeah, it does seem like the Andantes were imitating Ms. Birdsong on the records you mention.

Vandelron: "Lilting and sweet" are excellent words to describe her voice.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 11:10 am:

Because of this thread I went back to some of my archived tapes to listen to Supremes live recordings and to listen to Cindy Birdsong sing harmonies. I was kind of amazed at the versatility of what she did. She could belt in the alto range or do high floating harmonies. On some of the Ed Sullivan performances, she took the middle with Diana at the top to create a certain sound. When Jean arrived, it seemed Cindy could show more vocal strenth. There was the beautiful top harmony she used on "Nothing Can Stop Us Now" on their debut on Ed Sullivan. And I have always loved her top harmony on "Up The Ladder to the Roof. There is also a Glen Campbell Show where The Supremes (Jean led) are singing We've Only Just Begun and Cindy is singing an absolutely glorious top part in a way that was not heard so much in pre-Jean led years (there are exceptions eg Mrs. Robinson on the TCB). I went to hear the Supremes 1970 debut at the Copa and was stunned to hear Cindy's top vocals on McArthur's Park. She was clear, heard (the mikes were now at normal levels) and just beautiful.

Now, don't get me wrong, I loved Florence and she had much more powerful voice. But I adore what Cindy added to the Supremes. Her harmony line was what I always imitated when I was a strange teenager walking around my house. LOL!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 09:59 pm:

cleoharvey-that was just a fantastic post--you have a great ear and it's just wonderful to hear Cindy focused on. Do you think you can hear her on the Bluebelles? I think the Bluebelles rank near the top per harmony and power tho I havent listend closely to them for a long time. Ive tried to get an Ichiban comprehensive CD issued a number of years ago on all of their stuff with no luck(from Junkman to Atlantic years).

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 04:03 pm:


You should be able to find the retrospective that was released about 1 1/2 ago with great deal of the Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles hits and songs included on it at

Although the harmonies were extremely tight on the Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles records (and the engineering not always so great) I can definitely hear the difference between them with Cindy and them without. On the Bluebelles record she sang alto to high alto and is near Sarah Dash in the blend. When the group became Labelle (without Cindy) there was a slightly straightforward, rougher quality. Of course, this had a lot to do with Sarah, Patti, and Nona changing and updating their sound.

Cindy is one of the sweetest people that exists. Years ago I went to see Scherrie, Mary, and Cindy, at the Town and Country Dinner Theatre in Rochester, New York. Mary recognized me and handed me the microphone during This Is Why I Believe in You (now that was a thrill!). After the show, Pedro Ferrer came to my table and invited us backstage. During the show a snow storm had developed. After being introduced to the gorgeous Miss Birdsong, she was totally consumed with our safety and how we were going to get home. She told me to drive safely and asked whether she could help in any way. I have never forgotten her for that and always wish her well. She is the real tragedy of the RTL fiasco because she could have dearly used the money. Who knows, maybe it will still happen one day.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Reese ( on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 04:16 pm:


In one article that I read on Labelle at the height of their popularity, the girls said that Cindy's leaving didn't affect the group's sound all that much because she and Sarah use to double up on the same note.

I found this interesting. Of course, hindsight being what it is, they might have been purposely trying to reduce Cindy's contribution to the group since they were still upset over her departure. Even as recently as 2001, Sarah Dash found it necessary to describe Cindy's voice as "monotone".

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 10:49 am:


I think you may be right about your assessment. Patti Labelle never dimished in any way Cindy's contribution to the Bluebelles and they were the two closest in the group. Which shows you what a nice lady Miss Labelle is. Patti and Cindy made up years ago and Cindy admitted in a Patti Labelle biography on TV that she did not leave in the "correct" way and was sorry. The hold out in the Cindy/Supremes imbroglio has always been Nona Hendryx, so I am surprised that Sarah was saying anything untoward in 2001. With the recent rumors of a Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles reunion it is assumed that even Nona has forgiven her.

You can imagine how Patti, Nona, and Sarah must have felt back there in 1967. In one fell swoop, Cindy Birdsong became more famous than all of them by becoming a member of the Supremes. Of course, Patti has gone on to superstardom but it must have been a real kick in the stomach at the time. But could you blame Cindy?

By the way, it has always been rumored that Nona's "Can I Speak to You Before You Go To Hollywood" was written about Cindy.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 12:47 pm:


I went back to my Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles records to see whether I was overstating Cindy's relevance to the sound and after listening I still believe that she was important to the sound at that time. Even in doubling Sarah's notes, Cindy has a slight "sharp" quality when in the soprano range. It is like Cissy Houston in the background on some of Luther Vandross' songs. There can be 5 other background singers and Cissy's sharp soprano (sharp in a positive way) in the mix can be heard and it gives a distinctive sound to the background. Also, Cindy allowed the group to do three part harmonies without Patti having to be part of the background, which automatically changes the sound. Of course, this is to my tin ear. LOL!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 06:14 pm:

I find ironic Sara made that comment about Cindy because I always have trouble getting a handle on Sara's voice and find it much more undistictive than Cindy's(just a fact no dig intended). I bought Sara's last CD and just find her voice elusive, so to speak. I too find that Cindy's voice comes thru through- like Cissy's- as on Im Gonna Make U Love Me.

Top of pageBottom of page   By shawn1 ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 08:50 pm:

Don't get me wrong I LOVE me some Cindy Birdsong but Cindy does not possess half the Power of Cissy Houston who can stop a title wave in it's tracks.I think Sarah described Cindy's voice right in most of the parts they did especially in the 4 part harmony sence you need a mon toned singer to keep things in line .Cindy is a good singer .Sarah last cd if your talking about the one with her duet with Patti on "Your All I Need To Get By" I wanted my money back .But I did LOVE Sarah first solo song "Siner Man".Shawn

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 11:01 pm:

Youre so right per Sara's CD--the pits tho I liked I Believed U or something like that. No question of Cissy's power vs Cindy, just saying I could make out Cindys voice like I can Cissys in bakcground. Cissy's voice is one of my top 5 favorites--rmemeber Think It Over? Did u hear Jennifer Holidays'version--Cissy's still better.

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 08:44 am:

Cissys version of Think It Over is awesome when I heard it I thought she would become a disco diva like Gloria Gaynor or Thelma Houston. That record should have been a big pop hit.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 12:57 pm:

Shawn & Steph:

Of course, in my post I was not in anyway saying that Cindy Birdsong had the voice of Cissy Houston, that would be ridiculous. I was referring to the type of sound they make when doing harmonies. There is a sharp quality that I feel is wonderful. Even if Cindy was singing the same note as Sara, there was a quality Cindy added to the harmonies and I believe if you go back to the early Bluebelle albums, you hear it. Cindy is versatile because she basically is an alto who has the ability to hit some wonderful notes in the soprano range. I always adored the high note she would hit at the end of Impossible Dream when Diana Ross and the Supremes did the song live.

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 01:54 pm:

Oh I totally agree with you Cleo Harvey!!! I think Cindy is a better singer than she is given credit for. She is great on the background harmonies on all of the 70s stuff and you are right her note on the Impossible Dream is impeccable.
Hey is that Mary Wilson hitting that high note in the beginning of the Loving Country "Come Go With Me"..

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron ( on Sunday, March 02, 2003 - 09:53 pm:

I believe Cindy also sang a solo(one verse)on Youve Got What It Takes w/4Tops.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Monday, March 03, 2003 - 01:03 pm:

Stephanie & Vandelron:

I believe Cindy is singing that solo "With Me" in the beginning of the song. I had originally thought it must be Mary or an Andante but going back and listening to it several times, I believe that it is Cindy.

I love Cindy singing on Baby You've Got What It Takes!! It shows that lovely top that she has in the harmonies.

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