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  1. #1

    Someone explain,how is TLC,the number 1 female group,of all time,over The Supremes?

    I'v been hearing this for years,that TLC is the biggest female singing group,of all time,REALLY? Over The Supremes ? no way,can someone explain this to me? how did they come up with this? TLC has not had,as many hit's as The Supremes,has not had,as many big things,happen in they're career,like The Supremes have,i watched the TLC movie,and i enjoyed it,but come on now,the number 1 female singing group,of all time,NEVER LOL,maybe if you hear it enough times,it becomes this truth,Please stay positive
    Last edited by REDHOT; 10-23-2013 at 04:10 AM.

  2. #2
    I am only guessing and I am sure I am missing some of the parts to the story or history but, as i remember it The Supremes are credited with selling something like 20 -30 million records. Keep in mind that with the Supremes all of their sells were not credited and or reported (Hence the story of how Berry Gordy is viewed as the evil Genie or thief). Now without checking my files and "off the top of my head", TLC is credited with something like 65 million sells.

  3. #3
    Technically, I think the Spice Girls are generally considered the Number 1 Female Group of all time.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    I am only guessing and I am sure I am missing some of the parts to the story or history but, as i remember it The Supremes are credited with selling something like 20 -30 million records. Keep in mind that with the Supremes all of their sells were not credited and or reported (Hence the story of how Berry Gordy is viewed as the evil Genie or thief). Now without checking my files and "off the top of my head", TLC is credited with something like 65 million sells.
    First of all, I can remember reading that the Supremes sold over 50 million records well over 25 years ago I read that. "They" are going by record sales and the caveat to the position a group obtain was explained here:

    "All artists included on this list, which have begun charting on official albums/singles charts have their available claimed figure(s) supported by at least 20% in certified units."

    So they are only counting what they can verify possibly through sales scans. Most of the Motown Artist achieved their sales prior to the sales scan era.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Technically, I think the Spice Girls are generally considered the Number 1 Female Group of all time.
    Now that's a neat trick! I only know of one of their songs. I am so out of the loop! hehehehehehehe......

  6. #6
    Did you know that TLC only released 4 studio albums?

  7. #7
    Furthermore, they (TLC) had a total of 4 number one hits on the Pop Charts and 3 number ones on the R&B charts. So clearly chart positioning was not that important, so it has to be overall sales.

  8. #8
    TLC had 4 albums that sold a combined 22 million units in the USA. Half of that comes from CrazySexyCool alone. The Supremes, while likely undercertified, never sold that many LPs here. We only have official certifications for the two Temptations collections at Gold level and while its likely Where Did Our Love Go, A Go Go, and Greatest Hits Vol 1 did between 1-2 million units each and the other bigger LPs "More Hits," "Copa" "Symphony" and "Sing HDH" landed close to if not 1 million each with "Love Child" and "Reflections" probably Gold (half million) level sellers I don't think the gap is made up by the other specialty releases and post Diana years. Also, beyond the Beatles releases, most sixties albums weren't shifting copies in the multi millions. The music industry was more of a singles market for most of the sixties until the Beatles exploded. Artists who shifted the most LPs when you look at the old Billboard charts tended to be crossover acts for the whole family like Sinatra, Mathis, Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, & The Kingston Trio and huge soundtracks like South Pacific & West Side Story. Go check on the certifications for those and you'll see they didn't sell the way stuff did in the seventies on forward. So unless every label conspired together to underreport their sales to their artists it fits the overall picture that albums in the sixties can't be compared at the same rate to those that sold in the boom years of the music business. Artists also churned out new albums a lot fast then. If you average all the Supremes releases during the decade I think there was a new LP of some sort every 4 months. Artists these days record a new album every 2-3 years and work and tour it for most of that time. Hence why albums like TLC's studio ones end up selling so well beyond what the Supremes Lps shifted since there wasn't anything new to distract the casual fans attention. It slants the data to make it seem like The Supremes accomplished less but it doesn't diminsh anything when you take all these factors into consideration....

  9. #9
    i think they're also looking solely at number of records sold. and frankly you have to do a bit of an "inflation adjustment" for that. things were very different in 1965 versus 1995. teens had far less spending power and access to discretionary cash. Berry supposedly used the line when evaluating a potential single release "would you buy this record or would you buy a sandwich." back in the 60s, that was frankly a more realistic examination of what kids would be thinking about. by the 90s, kids had more allowances, more part-time jobs, more funds from parents, etc. plus there are just more people in the world too lol, not to mention the globalization of entertainment. in the 60s it was a big feat for the British Invasion to occur and likewise Motown's invasion of Europe. remember Germany really didn't even finish WW II rebuilding until into th 1980s!

    i think if you talk with any intelligent music/pop historian, they would confirm that in terms of overall cultural impact, the supremes far outweigh TLC

  10. #10
    this is just sales they certainly were not the BEST girl group, LOL.The fan base was a lot bigger for Pop music in the 90's then in the 60's. and ofcourse as pointed out above young people in the 90's had a lot more money then those of the 60's.I saved my school lunch money all week to be able to buy a 45 on the weekends.You can not compare TLC to the Supremes. The Supremes were Icons of music & fashion, true trendsetters.They had a bigger impact on baby boomers then TLC or anyone of the 90's had on young people of the 90's.

  11. #11
    This list is of "certified" sales and Motown did not participate in the RIAA until the 1980s. And Motown's sales record are incomplete and perhaps they were always incomplete. And they are not factoring in singles sales and like it or not, those too, were sales and a major part of them in the 1960's. And the RIAA is about as reliable as the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame or Motown's sales record ~ totally unreliable. People might remember Arista and Epic shipping millions of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson CDs in order to certify some large sales, only to have half of those CDs returned.

    The whole news report doesn't tell most of the story.

    And in addition to that, there is the question of the cultural impact that many of you have raised.

  12. #12
    I'v never seen TLC,Sing live with a band only,sure they have a band on stage,but it's always been track shows,with vocals on the tracks,for me,i never knew if they(TLC) were singing live at all,one thing about The Supremes,in they're live shows,or any Motown artist,it was 100% LIVE,and The Supremes took they're act,all over the world,singing(live)for Kings and Queens,singing all kinds of music,people have been writing books,about The Supremes for many years,they got a Star,on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame,inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame,and many many more,and you're right Motony,you can not compare TLC to The Supremes,The Supremes were Icons of Music and Fashion,and i like to say The Supremes meant a lot,not just to Americans,but to the world,and The Spice Girls ? lol REALLY?
    Please stay positive
    Last edited by REDHOT; 10-23-2013 at 02:10 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by REDHOT View Post
    I'v been hearing this for years,that TLC is the biggest female singing group,of all time,REALLY? Over The Supremes ? no way,can someone explain this to me? how did they come up with this? TLC has not had,as many hit's as The Supremes,has not had,as many big things,happen in they're career,like The Supremes have,i watched the TLC movie,and i enjoyed it,but come on now,the number 1 female singing group,of all time,NEVER LOL,maybe if you hear it enough times,it becomes this truth,Please stay positive
    It is because they are writing for a Young audience, not really doing any scholarly research or semi-scholarly. They think young is better.

    It is just like the sports polling at year 2000.
    They picked Michael Jordan as the greatest athlete of the previous century.

    Obviously they ignored any scholarly pursuit.

    Bill Russell won 11 NBA championships.

    And they missed Babe Ruth, who was a great pitcher and a great hitter.

    These polls show sheer ignorance, and they play to the youngest is the best.

    NOT ALWAYS

    edafan

  14. #14
    I just don't like it,when they try to change HISTORY,THE SUPREMES IS THE BIGGEST FEMALE GROUP OF ALL TIME.remember,if you hear a lie,a lot,you start to believe it,Please stay positive

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by REDHOT View Post
    I just don't like it,when they try to change HISTORY,THE SUPREMES IS THE BIGGEST FEMALE GROUP OF ALL TIME.remember,if you hear a lie,a lot,you start to believe it,Please stay positive
    Truth trumps everything! Even though what we read today is mostly geared towards the newer generations, you cannot change the past or past accomplishments. TLC was a great group and I enjoyed them. They also experienced some of the same hardships and unfairness that the Supremes and countless other artists did. For all of you that admire Clive Davis:


  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    ....i think if you talk with any intelligent music/pop historian, they would confirm that in terms of overall cultural impact, the supremes far outweigh TLC
    This is the best quote of the thread. There is no group in the sixties ,seventies, eighties or nineties that had as much impact on our society as the Supremes. To find a female group with as much impact in the twentieth century, you would have to look further back and compare them to the Andrews Sisters. They also sold many millions of records.

    TLC was a flash in the pan. People still talk about the Supremes half a century later and we still see references to them in movies, tv shows, magazines etc.

  17. #17
    I think a lot of lists, like these, are objective; it all depends on the writer or source.

    We've all seen these type of lists; Top 10 Records of all Time, Top 10 Songs of all Time; every one *typically* mentions a few of the same, but the order is changed.

    BET has a Top 20 Girl Groups list and TLC is ranked as #1, the Supremes are ranked as #2.

    VH1 has a "Top 100 Women in Music" and the Supremes DIDN'T EVEN MAKE THE LIST; nor did Diana Ross.

    Of course, you could take a poll here and it could be a three way split between the Supremes, the Vandellas and the Marvelettes.

  18. #18
    It depends who your audience is.

    And generally, the aim is at the younger audience, not the SD audience.

  19. #19
    I have to agree with you Jobeterob,but again,you can't change HISTORY,THE SUPREMES is the biggest female singing group,of all time,Please stay positive

  20. #20
    If only Marv could take his knowledge and your kindness and sweetness, then we'd have a good human being.

  21. #21
    I read somewhere that internationally the Spice Girls are number one in sales. The bad part about TLC is that even if they are the best selling girl group of all time they didnt see the money Pebbles did. I say the Supremes are number one though ....Stay Positive as Redhot would say.

  22. #22
    I love all the groups that have went before and after the Supremes but, I think "Baby Love" and "Stop" and "Where Did I Love Go" will be around a lot longer than some of these other songs that folks are saying sold Gold or platinum.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    I think a lot of lists, like these, are objective; it all depends on the writer or source.

    We've all seen these type of lists; Top 10 Records of all Time, Top 10 Songs of all Time; every one *typically* mentions a few of the same, but the order is changed.

    BET has a Top 20 Girl Groups list and TLC is ranked as #1, the Supremes are ranked as #2.

    VH1 has a "Top 100 Women in Music" and the Supremes DIDN'T EVEN MAKE THE LIST; nor did Diana Ross.
    The Supremes were ranked # 16 on the VH-1 list I saw.

  24. #24
    They were trying to keep it Modern. Here's the list from 1999 when it was called the 100 greatest women in Rock and Roll.



    100 Erykah Badu
    99 Talking Heads
    98 Kim Deal
    97 Lucinda Williams
    96 Siouxsie and the Banshees
    95 Olivia Newton-John
    94 Liz Phair
    93 Peggy Lee
    92 Natalie Cole
    91 Kim Gordon
    90 Ani DiFranco
    89 Eartha Kitt
    88 Sheila E.
    87 Nico
    86 Laurie Anderson
    85 Petula Clark
    84 Yoko Ono
    83 Salt-N-Pepa
    82 Grace Jones
    81 Gloria Estefan
    80 Big Mama Thornton
    79 The Indigo Girls
    78 Mahalia Jackson
    77 Janet Jackson
    76 The Go-Go's
    75 Exene Cervenka
    74 Anita Baker
    73 Tammy Wynette
    72 Queen Latifah
    71 Tori Amos
    70 ABBA
    69 Sarah McLachlan
    68 Hole
    67 The Ronettes
    66 Sade
    65 Loretta Lynn
    64 The Shirelles
    63 Christine McVie
    62 Lena Horne
    61 Whitney Houston
    60 Ruth Brown
    59 Joan Armatrading
    58 Cyndi Lauper
    57 Mavis Staples
    56 Martha & the Vandellas
    55 PJ Harvey
    54 Tracy Chapman
    53 Alanis Morissette
    52 Laura Nyro
    51 Bette Midler
    50 Sarah Vaughan
    49 Melissa Etheridge
    48 Dinah Washington
    47 The B-52's
    46 Kate Bush
    45 Roberta Flack
    44 Sheryl Crow
    43 Cher
    42 Dionne Warwick
    41 Patti Labelle
    40 Heart
    39 Pat Benatar
    38 Diana Ross
    37 Donna Summer
    36 Björk
    35 Sinéad O'Connor
    34 Dolly Parton
    33 k.d. lang
    32 Joan Jett
    31 Barbra Streisand
    30 Rickie Lee Jones
    29 Karen Carpenter
    28 Carly Simon
    27 Joan Baez
    26 Bessie Smith
    25 Marianne Faithfull
    24 Dusty Springfield
    23 The Mamas & The Papas
    22 Emmylou Harris
    21 Linda Ronstadt
    20 Grace Slick
    19 Etta James
    18 Gladys Knight
    17 Chaka Khan
    16 The Supremes
    15 Patti Smith
    14 Stevie Nicks
    13 Ella Fitzgerald
    12 Debbie Harry
    11 Patsy Cline
    10 Carole King
    9 Annie Lennox
    8 Madonna
    7 Chrissie Hynde
    6 Billie Holiday
    5 Joni Mitchell
    4 Bonnie Raitt
    3 Janis Joplin
    2 Tina Turner
    1 Aretha Franklin

  25. #25
    Sorry, I love the Supremes, but artistically Ella Fitzgerald blows them all away, including Aretha. Period.
    None of them could have done what she did on the Gershwin Songbook or Ella and Louis, just to name a few. And no live album can top Ella in Rome.

  26. #26
    smark21 Guest
    Determining who’s number 1 depends on what metric and/or criteria you want to use to make the case. There’s a good case to make The Supremes, or TLC, or the Spice Girls the number 1 girl group of all time. But I like thanxal’s criteria the best—it’s very subjective, artistry and personal taste, but in the end that’s what really should matter, not sales of singles, albums or concert tix, or youtube views. As for me, I like so many female groups that I can’t name a personal number 1. Let’s just say it’s a tie between Supremes, Expose, and The Marvelettes.

  27. #27
    The Spice Girls are the best-selling girl group in history, not TLC. The Supremes may still be the most successful though and that's different from best-selling but that's just me. Plus TLC and the Supremes came from two VERY different time periods.

  28. #28
    I will have to agree that the Supremes are the most successful !!! We can only say that Sound-scan shows TLC as selling more record and some of that is due to The Supreme records not being reported. However, they did get a movie (well at least made for TV). Now, folks have been trying to put the girls on the big screen for years from Broadway to Cream and Dreams. I am revisiting TLC records now since I bought all of them back in the day and I have to admit none of them I feel will have longevity.

  29. #29
    That's right Captainjames,it's all about LONGEVITY,and The Supremes have had that,for many many years,it's been lot of books about The Supremes,movies and plays kind of based on The Supremes,almost every new female group that comes out, the critics call them,The New Supremes,or the next Supremes,yes The Supremes is the biggest female group of all time,Please stay positive

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by milven View Post
    This is the best quote of the thread. There is no group in the sixties ,seventies, eighties or nineties that had as much impact on our society as the Supremes. To find a female group with as much impact in the twentieth century, you would have to look further back and compare them to the Andrews Sisters. They also sold many millions of records.

    TLC was a flash in the pan. People still talk about the Supremes half a century later and we still see references to them in movies, tv shows, magazines etc.
    I wouldn't say TLC was a flash in the past. Their sales trumped the Supremes and unless The Supremes plan to record again or one of their reissues will unexpectedly take off that will remain set in stone. They are two totally different groups and one doesn't compare to the other. Of course, the Supremes are in a league of their own when it comes to girl groups but TLC set their own trends and made some great songs.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    I wouldn't say TLC was a flash in the past. Their sales trumped the Supremes and unless The Supremes plan to record again or one of their reissues will unexpectedly take off that will remain set in stone. They are two totally different groups and one doesn't compare to the other. Of course, the Supremes are in a league of their own when it comes to girl groups but TLC set their own trends and made some great songs.
    Hey, both are now long bygone, as in years since their last new album, acts - how about seeing once and for all, who sells better, in the sense of making a new "Greatest Hits" compilations, perhaps under the S.O.U.L budget imprint, plant them in Wal-Marts, and find out which one more people cleared the shelves?

  32. #32
    "All artists included on this list, which have begun charting on official albums/singles charts have their available claimed figure(s) supported by at least 20% in certified units."

    So they are only counting what they can verify possibly through sales scans. Most of the Motown Artist achieved their sales prior to the sales scan era.
    There's your answer, as unfair as it may seem. Blame Mr. Berry Gordy for this if you must. I guess he didn't want his successful artists suing him for better royalties or walking.

    This thread is just like Jimi LaLuima's thread, where I pointed out the chart stats for The Supremes.
    Last edited by soulster; 12-28-2013 at 09:40 PM.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    I love all the groups that have went before and after the Supremes but, I think "Baby Love" and "Stop" and "Where Did I Love Go" will be around a lot longer than some of these other songs that folks are saying sold Gold or platinum.
    Honestly, and it may be because I didn't care for TLC when they were popular, I can only remember the song "Waterfalls", their biggest song.

  34. #34
    TLC was good but they were only in one category. With all do respect they did not get the chance to expand or create.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    TLC was good but they were only in one category. With all do respect they did not get the chance to expand or create.
    Not only that, by the time they came up, audiences tastes had fractured to the point where almost no could hope to cross over in the same way that anyone from the 50, 60s, 70, and 80s did. That is what made those times so remarkable from a sales standpoint. I highly doubt there will ever be another artist/band with mass-appeal.

  36. #36
    supremester Guest
    I think it's unlikely TLC outsold The Supremes as there are probably 25 million hits sets out there alone. The blue Greatest Hits was in nearly every home that had someone under 30 living there. That TV hits thing from the 70's ran for nearly a year - it must have done extremely well to continue that long. The catalog sales were extremely strong on over a dozen LPs for years. Same Cooke etc all continued to sell years after they fell off the charts. Record stores had huge bins for all their product - only The Beatles had as much bin space and those sales were not visible on Billboard charts. Also, in the 60's & 70's, record clubs were huge and those figures were not reported to anyone including the acts who got no royalties from those at all. I was shocked when I found that out. Motown got their royalties, but DR&TS did not - and those clubs moved a ton of goods - remember 13 for a dollar? The blue Greatest Hits & TCB were on that ad for years and you know when peeps were choosing their 13, just about everyone would have picked that as a freebie. Then there are all the CD hits packages - some done exclusively for Target or Kroger. Others for general marketing. There's a reason Berry didn't want things audited - and it wasn't for PR - he was driven by one thing: money. He dumped on raynoma for money, he worked Ross literally to the bone for money, he even kissed HDH goodbye for money. He was screwing artists every way he could - and official audits would have cost him millions. I have a Supremes sing CW&P on red vinyl from Korea printed in 1968. They actually printed albums in different dialects all around the world. My late friend Oscar had a Mexican Funny Girl, Chilean CW&P and several Asian oddities. They were not brought in as imports - which meant demand was strong enough for pressings all over the world. That stuff was everywhere and I doubt DMF got a dime from it. I honestly would be surprised if The Supremes' world wide sales in albums alone was under 60 million. They had a lot of releases - more than The Beatles - and very aggressive distribution. We're not even talking The Rossless Supremes or....45's.

  37. #37
    I love The Supremes and TLC! I think if the Supremes (or any of the Motown acts) were reported to the RIAA, many of the Motown acts would have sold millions. Spice Girls biggest girl group? Ugh

  38. #38
    Most likely TLC and The Spice Girls did not get accolades from their competitive contemporaries, especially when the peers were trying to sell their own product. But Diana Ross and The Supremes did, as shown in this paragraph from the liner notes of The Elegant Sound Of The Royalettes (1966).

    "Being girls, [The Royalettes have] been compared to other girl groups. Since the fabulous Supremes rule snugly and supremely at the top, you might think there is no room for any other. Rightly so. There is no room for a group attempting to duplicate…but there most certainly is room for a group that spells out a purely individual sound and can prove to the public that theirs is a message to be heard."

    It was absolutely astonishing and refreshing to read these words back in the day, to see that a group (or at very least, its record company) would recognize and admit in print that the group was not, and would never be, quite as good as Diana, Mary and Florence, but maybe, just maybe, the said group, with originality, discipline and luck, could become one of the top two or three groups at some point.

    A year earlier, on liner notes for their album It's Gonna Take A Miracle, the aspirational girls also hailed The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and other "greats" with whom they had shared a stage.

    Being of quite limited means, I did not buy either album. But I did remember and respect the group because of the humility and honesty shown on the album covers.

  39. #39
    You have to remember that Lisa Lopez and Tionne Watkins wrote a lot of TLC's music.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by TammiTerrellFan View Post
    I love The Supremes and TLC! I think if the Supremes (or any of the Motown acts) were reported to the RIAA, many of the Motown acts would have sold millions. Spice Girls biggest girl group? Ugh
    You gotta remember for a few years there the Spice Girls were pretty much the female Beatles. Spice mania.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    You gotta remember for a few years there the Spice Girls were pretty much the female Beatles. Spice mania.
    Yeah exactly. Considering overall success on an international level, The Spice Girls were/are the biggest for sure, in terms of commercial success. They came along at the right time. However, there is no disputing that The Supremes opened doors for all girl groups, and there were those who came before The Supremes, who opened doors for them as well.

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