Now Everybody Loves Them
Akron Beacon Journal March 20, 1966 - reprinted from Al Abrams Book, Hype & Soul
(Before the release of Love is Like an Itching in My Heart & You Can't Hurry Love) - it is an example of the pressures the Supremes were under.
Super-Cute Pixie Named Diana Puts Supremes in Big Time
The first time I tried to figure out what life was all about -- I was 5 and the year was 1943 -- my conclusion was amazingly simple and clear cut: The Japs and Germans were the bad guys, we were the good guys, and God and Errol Flynn were on our side.
And things remained that way for a while. Then, suddenly, everything got switched around. The Japanese (we didn't call 'em Japs anymore) were really great people, industrious and friendly. And the Germans? Oh, baby, you don't knock a bunch of brilliant scientists.
The mysterious Image Changer had struck again! That sneaky IC -- it creeps in unnoticed and works unseen, and after it leaves, things are never the same.
Like with Rocky Graziano. Why, I remember when people thought of Rocky as a dumb, no good boxing bum who was always in trouble with the law. After the IC went to work, Rocky became America's lovable clown. Good ol' Rocky.
And I even remember when people booed Mickey Mantle because they figured he was such a disappointment -- he didn't hit 60 home runs every year, his batting average occasionally fell below .300 and his fielding wasn't as flawless as Joe DiMaggio's. Then IC struck and people recognized Mickey as the great player he is. Good ol' Mickey.
And now it's the good ol' Supremes.
Before IC came into their lives, the Supremes were just another rock n roll singing group. After IC, the three Detroit girls were the toast of the musical world -- adult's as well as teenagers.
People who had been knocking popular music ever since Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" were suddenly singing a few bars of "Stop in the Name of Love" and telling everyone, gee, but The Supremes are the greatest female singing team since The Andrew Sisters.
When and why their image changed is still a bit hazy. The Supremes became very "in" shortly after their hit engagement at New York's Copacabana. A string of television appearances followed, and apparently grownups gave them a try -- and liked them.
The Supremes are definitely special. They've got something The Toys, The Shangri-Las, The Marvelettes, and the 112 other female singing groups will never have -- and that something is a super-cute, big eyed pixie named Diana Ross.
The big question, however, is just how much longer will The Supremes have her.
Diana is the lead singer and is considered good enough to be a top star in her own right. Her style is Earta Kitt-ish, but Diana's voice is much more versatile and exciting than Eartha's.
Some fuss is being made of the fact The Supremes itinerary hasn't changed in several weeks -- their last engagement is still the Sept. 29 to Oct. 19 date in Las Vegas.
Because of this there is a rumour Diana will quit the group in October and strike off on her own.
She denies it. "We'll do whatever Mr. Gordy tells us to."
Berry Gordy is president of Motown Records and is Big Boss where the Supremes are concerned. He has been father, manager, and guiding light ever since the grils began singing together eight years ago.
The relationship between the girls has always been and remains, a close, friendly one, but Diana admits that in some ways she is growing apart from the other two, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard.
Diana is the only one who has come completely out of the shell. Mary and Florence are still, basically, a couple of nice kids from Detroit. Diana is now thinking about moving to New York so she can be right there where IT is happening.
Diana also handles the bulk of the group's publicity, and lately has done almost all the interviews. Mary and Florence have a tendency to clam up when Diana is holding court.
Diana has also developed a completely professional stage presence. She constantly gesticulates and grimaces and uses those crazy big eyes. She knows how to handle a crowd and appears at ease while doing it. Even if she weren't the lead singer, Diana would command attention.
Yet Diana Ross might never have become a performer if it hadn't been for the other two.
Singing was Florence's idea. Some of her friends had formed a male singing group called The Primes. They wanted a sister group, so Florence, Mary, Diana and another neighbourhood pal, Barbara Martin, started a quartet called The Primettes.
They sang at school dances, amateur shows, super market openings -- any place they could. And from the beginning, Diana had the lead, sometimes sharing it with Florence.
The girls auditioned for Gordy, who's record company had already helped many youngsters from the Negro tenement section of Detroit.
Gordy had one piece of advice: Finish high school. It was a way of testing the girls' sincerity about singing. I t was also his way of looking out for the girls' welfare. He knew how important a high school diploma would be to the girls if they dropped out of show business.
Three years later the girls returned to Motown and signed a contract. A few months later they were a trio. Barbara Martin had left to get married and her replacement, Betty Travis, soon quit for the same reason.
The trio's first taste of fame came not from recordings, but from the 1961 Emancipation Day Talent Contest in Windsor, Canada. The girls won first place -- and $5 a piece.
In their early recordings, the girls were used only to provide the do-wah background for other performers. When Gordy made the decsion to spotlight the girls he decided at the same time to change.........(continued on Page 18)
But the subsequent page is missing. Mr. Abrams, do you have it? Does anyone else?
Last edited by jobeterob; 11-14-2011 at 02:11 AM.