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  1. #1

    Florence Ballard interview: The David Diles show 1975

    https://youtu.be/iG2nOkvIdtY
    Just listening to it now

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    https://youtu.be/iG2nOkvIdtY
    Just listening to it now
    Dave Diles was one of our local television reporters in Detroit. He worked at WXYZ ABC Channel 7 for years. Thank you for this.

  3. #3
    It's been years since I've heard this interview. A few observations:

    1) Her words on putting an act together is exactly what I was trying to get across to Boogie during our back and forth about Florence. She can't be judged on her desire to get back into the business on what she didn't do during the months leading up to her death. Putting an act together takes time and money. Add to that, like Flo said, that she needed to get her voice back into good condition, which certainly wouldn't have been an overnight thing. Flo wanted to sing. No doubt in my mind had she lived longer she would've gotten back into the business.

    2) Flo says she didn't feel wanted. I imagine that has to suck if a person is dealing with a "family" on the road. We tend to think of the Supremes as a job, but that's an unrealistic and very simple way of viewing that situation. On top of everything else she was carrying in her spirit, no wonder a girl that young turns to drink, when it feels like the "family" has turned their backs.

    3) Florence was very blunt on her feelings toward Gordy, but isn't speaking of any resentment toward Diana. Why is it some fans use Florence to support their sick hatred of Diana but Florence didn't seem to hold the same sentiment? That's a rhetorical question. It doesn't even need an answer.

    Thanks for posting BG. It's always great to hear Flo in her own voice. Such a very talented AND intelligent woman.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    It's been years since I've heard this interview. A few observations:

    1) Her words on putting an act together is exactly what I was trying to get across to Boogie during our back and forth about Florence. She can't be judged on her desire to get back into the business on what she didn't do during the months leading up to her death. Putting an act together takes time and money. Add to that, like Flo said, that she needed to get her voice back into good condition, which certainly wouldn't have been an overnight thing. Flo wanted to sing. No doubt in my mind had she lived longer she would've gotten back into the business.

    2) Flo says she didn't feel wanted. I imagine that has to suck if a person is dealing with a "family" on the road. We tend to think of the Supremes as a job, but that's an unrealistic and very simple way of viewing that situation. On top of everything else she was carrying in her spirit, no wonder a girl that young turns to drink, when it feels like the "family" has turned their backs.

    3) Florence was very blunt on her feelings toward Gordy, but isn't speaking of any resentment toward Diana. Why is it some fans use Florence to support their sick hatred of Diana but Florence didn't seem to hold the same sentiment? That's a rhetorical question. It doesn't even need an answer.

    Thanks for posting BG. It's always great to hear Flo in her own voice. Such a very talented AND intelligent woman.
    You left out her comments about Mary Wilson being the only one in contact with her.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    It's been years since I've heard this interview. A few observations:

    1) Her words on putting an act together is exactly what I was trying to get across to Boogie during our back and forth about Florence. She can't be judged on her desire to get back into the business on what she didn't do during the months leading up to her death. Putting an act together takes time and money. Add to that, like Flo said, that she needed to get her voice back into good condition, which certainly wouldn't have been an overnight thing. Flo wanted to sing. No doubt in my mind had she lived longer she would've gotten back into the business.
    Sorry Ran , still not convinced . On top of everything else, I hear a broken spirit here . And this interview was done before she was awarded some money and first thing took three giant steps backwards by reuniting with Tommy.
    2) Flo says she didn't feel wanted. I imagine that has to suck if a person is dealing with a "family" on the road. We tend to think of the Supremes as a job, but that's an unrealistic and very simple way of viewing that situation. On top of everything else she was carrying in her spirit, no wonder a girl that young turns to drink, when it feels like the "family" has turned their backs.
    She was devastated.
    3) Florence was very blunt on her feelings toward Gordy, He has to carry that to his grave but isn't speaking of any resentment toward Diana.Well , the pushy interviewer didn't give her a chance to fully answer, nor did he properly follow through. Why is it some fans use Florence to support their sick hatred of Diana but Florence didn't seem to hold the same sentiment? In this Interview , I heard nothing good said about Diana by Flo.That's a rhetorical question. It doesn't even need an answer.
    The best Flo could say of any of them is that Mary (and only Mary) sent her postcards on occasion and visited when in town.
    Thanks for posting BG. It's always great to hear Flo in her own voice. Such a very talented AND intelligent woman.
    I've not heard this interview before (wish we had the visual ). What comes through loudly is someone in pain , someone who has suffered. The weight of that pain much greater than the glory the preceded it . It's hard to believe this is the same someone speaking who less than ten years earlier was a world renowned superstar . Flo sounds much more aged ( mature?) than a woman just in her early thirties. Haggard is the word I'll use.

    "couldn't I have at least kept my home"


    Oh, one more thing . Toward the end, Flo mentions she needs to get the cast off of her leg. Anyone know more about that?? Why she had a cast?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I've not heard this interview before (wish we had the visual ). What comes through loudly is someone in pain , someone who has suffered. The weight of that pain much greater than the glory the preceded it . It's hard to believe this is the same someone speaking who less than ten years earlier was a world renowned superstar . Flo sounds much more aged ( mature?) than a woman just in her early thirties. Haggard is the word I'll use.

    "couldn't I have at least kept my home"


    Oh, one more thing . Toward the end, Flo mentions she needs to get the cast off of her leg. Anyone know more about that?? Why she had a cast?
    She slipped on a ice Street and broke her ankle or leg.

  7. #7
    ouch! thank you Roberta.

    one more thing, as a disco fanatic, I was pleasantly surprised that Flo knew what The Bump" was, even though she said she couldn't do it, but her kids could !

  8. #8
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    She sounds humble. Also, she seemed to lack ambition.

    Diana and Berry had the ambition that led to the group’s meteoric success, and the other girls greatly benefited from it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I've not heard this interview before (wish we had the visual ). What comes through loudly is someone in pain , someone who has suffered. The weight of that pain much greater than the glory the preceded it . It's hard to believe this is the same someone speaking who less than ten years earlier was a world renowned superstar . Flo sounds much more aged ( mature?) than a woman just in her early thirties. Haggard is the word I'll use.

    "couldn't I have at least kept my home"


    Oh, one more thing . Toward the end, Flo mentions she needs to get the cast off of her leg. Anyone know more about that?? Why she had a cast?
    Excerpts/quotes from this interview were carried in papers all over the country and in Jet Magazine the week Florence Ballard died. Many people read them. I remember seeing them.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    You left out her comments about Mary Wilson being the only one in contact with her.
    I didn't leave that out. There was no point in mentioning it. Florence herself left out the fact that Mary had flown her out to Los Angeles just the previous year. That's a helluva lot more than post cards and an occasional visit when in Detroit. We all know Mary kept in touch with Florence. We also know that Mary and Florence's issues with one another were entirely different than Flo and Diana's issues with each other, as well as those issues played out very differently from one another.

    My point still stands: I hear no resentment toward Diana from Florence, and "fans" who use Florence's name for their nonsensical, weird hatred regarding Diana appears to be glaringly ridiculous in light of Flo's words.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I didn't leave that out. There was no point in mentioning it. Florence herself left out the fact that Mary had flown her out to Los Angeles just the previous year. That's a helluva lot more than post cards and an occasional visit when in Detroit. We all know Mary kept in touch with Florence. We also know that Mary and Florence's issues with one another were entirely different than Flo and Diana's issues with each other, as well as those issues played out very differently from one another.

    My point still stands: I hear no resentment toward Diana from Florence, and "fans" who use Florence's name for their nonsensical, weird hatred regarding Diana appears to be glaringly ridiculous in light of Flo's words.
    Not trying to play devils advocate but just because it wasnít said in the interview doesnít mean everything is hunky doory. Everything was kept on a pleasant level. We have no clue on what was said when the cameras are off.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Well , the pushy interviewer didn't give her a chance to fully answer, nor did he properly follow through...In this Interview , I heard nothing good said about Diana by Flo.


    So she says, in answer to Diles' question regarding friction in the group: "As far as I'm concerned, when you're around your family, your sisters and your brothers, there's bound to be some type of friction. And, uh, that's all it was. It was two sisters having a disagreement." Diles follows up by clarifying that she was answering that there was a normal amount of friction one might expect from people spending so much time around each other, and she answers "That's all it was." I didn't hear him being pushy at all or not giving her a chance to fully answer his questions.

    Again, she was very forthright on her dislike of- and the reasons why- Berry Gordy. She didn't say the issues between the two of them were father/daughter issues or anything like that. She chalks the friction up between her and the Supremes (Diana) as a sister issue. No, she didn't say "Diana wasn't a bitch" nor did she say there weren't times where she wanted to snatch Ross up and whoop her ass (supposedly there was one time that did happen). When you resent and just flat out dislike someone, you answer a question the way Florence answered regarding Gordy. When you resent someone and hate them or have dislike for them, you do not answer a question about your "friction" with keywords like "sisters" and "family".

    I've been around more than a few sisters over the years. I've seen some spats that make anything the Supremes dealt with look like an episode of "Sesame Street".

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    Not trying to play devils advocate but just because it wasn’t said in the interview doesn’t mean everything is hunky doory. Everything was kept on a pleasant level. We have no clue on what was said when the cameras are off.
    Obviously everything wasn't hunky dory, especially if you pay attention to Florence pointing out that Mary keeps in touch and she says nothing about Diana doing the same. Everybody who knew Flo so well, including Mary, says time and again how "real" she was and how she abhorred being fake and phony, almost to a fault. I'll take their word for it. If she disliked Diana and felt that everything that happened between them in the group was because Diana was this mean, evil bitch who needed to be destroyed, I think she would've said that (in a student of Maxine Powell's way, of course), not that they fought like sisters. I don't believe she would've said one thing on camera and then something else when the camera was off. That depiction of Florence goes against the type of person those around her claim she was.

  14. #14
    I have to agree,if Florence didn't like Diana,she would have said it,so i'm gonna go with her,sisters and brothers can have it out,with each other,and still love each other,i'm sure that's all it was,at least to Florence.But Mary showed her love,even after she was no longer a Supreme,that's for sure.
    Last edited by REDHOT; 12-02-2017 at 06:25 AM.

  15. #15
    1. Thanks to Blackguy69 for sharing this interview with Florence Ballard.

    2. Only thing I can add to it is that after the many setbacks that Flo had, it's very easy to understand why she was still in pain at the time she gave the interview. Flo Ballard went from the top of show business all the way to the bottom and that's very painful for anyone to have to go through. I feel it would've taken a few more years for her wounds to heal, to get her singing voice back in shape and to give the music business another try.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Originally Posted by Boogiedown

    I've not heard this interview before (wish we had the visual ).
    Excerpts/quotes from this interview were carried in papers all over the country and in Jet Magazine the week Florence Ballard died. Many people read them. I remember seeing them.
    But I'm not questioning the authenticity of this interview. I just hadn't ever heard it before and this insight it offers. I'm wishing the accompanying visual still existed to see how Flo looked . How she seemed physically and how she presented herself . For one thing ,Ran mentioned her mother was morbidly (?) obese , and a weight issue seems to have been one of the issues with Flo. That and then add weeks in a prohibitive cast . But also how she held herself otherwise, what she was wearing etc..

    Sad to say, I don't recall learning of Flo's death at the time it happened . If so it didn't impact me . I wasn't a big time Supremes follower . Liked the music sometimes a lot , but didn't really know who was who. I knew Diana Ross was now performing solo only , but I didn't realize someone named Jean Terrell had taken over singing for her as a Supreme . Or that Flo was out and Cindy Birdsong was her replacement. Or that Cindy left , but Mary stayed etc.. ..... Heck I learned only recently that up to about twenty people comprised the Supreme's vocal sound over the years . Didn't know the story about Flo's forced departure at all . So I didn't take a lot of notice when one of the earlier back up singers from ten years prior died.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 12-03-2017 at 01:59 AM.

  17. #17
    I would not classify Florence as one of the earlier back up singers. She had been an integral part of the group and significantly helped to define itís style and talent. I have yet to see a picture where Florence looked very overweight!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I would not classify Florence as one of the earlier back up singers. She had been an integral part of the group and significantly helped to define it’s style and talent. I have yet to see a picture where Florence looked very overweight!
    She was never overweight while in the Supremes. She gained some weight in 1975 partially due to a broken ankle.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I would not classify Florence as one of the earlier back up singers. She had been an integral part of the group and significantly helped to define it’s style and talent. I have yet to see a picture where Florence looked very overweight!
    Yes agreed, but her function in the group as presented to the public was as one of two girls who were singing backup to Diana Ross' leads.

    Do we have ANY pictures of Florence Ballard from the seventies?

  20. #20
    Go on Facebook. Under Reflections: the supremes legacy. Look I the photo section, they have pics of Flo in the 70ís

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    She was never overweight while in the Supremes. She gained some weight in 1975 partially due to a broken ankle.
    ive said this before I didnít think she was overweight but she did gain enough to make you noticed.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Yes agreed, but her function in the group as presented to the public was as one of two girls who were singing backup to Diana Ross' leads.

    Do we have ANY pictures of Florence Ballard from the seventies?
    I don't know how old you are, but we knew all of their names back then. Still do which why you are posting in this thread.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I don't know how old you are, but we knew all of their names back then. Still do which why you are posting in this thread.
    He said he wasn't a big time Supremes follower. You obviously were so of course you would know their names. Boyz II Men were HUGE when I was growing up and I didn't know all of their names at the time, and I still don't know all of their names. Tons of people knew who Flo and Mary were by name, but common sense says not everybody knew. Hell, everyone didn't even know Diana Ross.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    ive said this before I didn’t think she was overweight but she did gain enough to make you noticed.
    I've had to amend my original opinion about Flo's weight in 1967. You are right, at specific times it does appear that she is noticeably heavier than her group mates. Of course it wasn't so much that I think the general public would have ever commented on it. And while she definitely grew thicker at various points in 1967, by all accounts Gordy's attacks on Flo's weight started in 1966, and Mary claims it was an issue in 1966, and from every photo and footage of Flo I have seen from the period makes Berry and Mary sound like haters. Visually Flo was the shit in 1966.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I've had to amend my original opinion about Flo's weight in 1967. You are right, at specific times it does appear that she is noticeably heavier than her group mates. Of course it wasn't so much that I think the general public would have ever commented on it. And while she definitely grew thicker at various points in 1967, by all accounts Gordy's attacks on Flo's weight started in 1966, and Mary claims it was an issue in 1966, and from every photo and footage of Flo I have seen from the period makes Berry and Mary sound like haters. Visually Flo was the shit in 1966.
    I think when Mary mentioned it it was more in lines of they couldnít wear a certain dress because Flo couldnít fit into hers. If you notice the last 2 months Flo was there they were rocking more of the flowy chiffon gowns as opposed to the tighter fitting sequins

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I've had to amend my original opinion about Flo's weight in 1967. You are right, at specific times it does appear that she is noticeably heavier than her group mates. Of course it wasn't so much that I think the general public would have ever commented on it. And while she definitely grew thicker at various points in 1967, by all accounts Gordy's attacks on Flo's weight started in 1966, and Mary claims it was an issue in 1966, and from every photo and footage of Flo I have seen from the period makes Berry and Mary sound like haters. Visually Flo was the shit in 1966.
    and it didnít help that Diana was a size 4 and shrinking and Mary was a 7 and also shrinking. I agree that berry was saying she was fat to get under her skin

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    and it didn’t help that Diana was a size 4 and shrinking and Mary was a 7 and also shrinking. I agree that berry was saying she was fat to get under her skin
    True. With one group member "expanding"- even a little bit- while the others are "shrinking", it could have posed a problem. But yeah, Gordy was just being a dick. After all, these were very young women, all of whom were conscientious about their looks not only from a young girl vanity perspective, but from the knowledge that their look was an important part of their job's image. Diana even developed an eating disorder. I now have to wonder how much of that was her working herself sick, the stress of it all, and maybe even the fear that if she did get "heavier", how might Gordy react to that, in light of the way he treated Florence about her weight. Mary slimming down during this period might have had something to do with the same fears. It's a wonder any of these girls made it out of the Supremes with their minds intact.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Originally Posted by Boogiedown

    Yes agreed, but her function in the group as presented to the public was as one of two girls who were singing backup to Diana Ross' leads.
    I don't know how old you are, but we knew all of their names back then. Still do which why you are posting in this thread.
    OK You did , I didn't .
    But if I now insert their names into my comment :
    "Yes agreed, but her function in the group as presented to the public was as one of two girls , Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard , who were singing backup to Diana Ross' leads."

    I don't see that it changes my point much. Backup is backup.

    Again speaking for me , I didn't pay a lot of attention to members' names within groups . Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were just that , with no idea who each Miracle was . I was given the Rare Earth In Concert double LP which I played over and over without ever knowing a member's name, not even the lead singer ! Still don't !!
    I'm not saying that's typical , likely it wasn't .

    Marvin , when you say "we " knew their names , I don't know who that "we" includes, but it sounds like there was a conscious level of awareness of these three young women within your circle. You knew The Supremes and you knew them each by name.
    So I'm curious what you as a group thought when Motown just suddenly dumped Florence Ballard? What was your reaction?

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    But I'm not questioning the authenticity of this interview. I just hadn't ever heard it before and this insight it offers. I'm wishing the accompanying visual still existed to see how Flo looked . How she seemed physically and how she presented herself . For one thing ,Ran mentioned her mother was morbidly (?) obese , and a weight issue seems to have been one of the issues with Flo. That and then add weeks in a prohibitive cast . But also how she held herself otherwise, what she was wearing etc..

    Sad to say, I don't recall learning of Flo's death at the time it happened . If so it didn't impact me . I wasn't a big time Supremes follower . Liked the music sometimes a lot , but didn't really know who was who. I knew Diana Ross was now performing solo only , but I didn't realize someone named Jean Terrell had taken over singing for her as a Supreme . Or that Flo was out and Cindy Birdsong was her replacement. Or that Cindy left , but Mary stayed etc.. ..... Heck I learned only recently that up to about twenty people comprised the Supreme's vocal sound over the years . Didn't know the story about Flo's forced departure at all . So I didn't take a lot of notice when one of the earlier back up singers from ten years prior died.

    wrong link I had for a visual. It was for the Lou Gordon show
    Last edited by ballardfan67; 08-01-2019 at 03:11 AM.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    https://youtu.be/iG2nOkvIdtY
    Just listening to it now
    I just read the whole thread and then went to listen to your link, and it is unavailable.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by milven View Post
    I just read the whole thread and then went to listen to your link, and it is unavailable.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by ballardfan67 View Post
    wrong link I had for a visual. It was for the Lou Gordon show
    I remember Lou Gordon use to come on channel 50 in Detroit.

  33. #33
    Flo looks pretty good in the 70's pics I've seen....she looked better with longer or a full head of hair than they did in much of '66/'67 with those very short cuts....Mary did too. Those short wigs complemented Diana somewhat better.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by gman View Post
    Flo looks pretty good in the 70's pics I've seen....she looked better with longer or a full head of hair than they did in much of '66/'67 with those very short cuts....Mary did too. Those short wigs complemented Diana somewhat better.
    I think Mary looked best with longer hair, but I always thought Florence was stunning in the short looks she rocked from late 65 thru 1967. Diana too was stunning with short hair but she could be equally as beautiful with long. Florence was still a very beautiful woman in the 70s. A shame we didn't get to see her glammed up (for showbiz) during that time.

  35. #35
    Arenít there any pics of Flo when she did that benefit concert in Detroit?And wouldnít it be great if there was at least some audio?

  36. #36
    Name:  FB 1975.jpg
Views: 212
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    This is a pic from the 1975 benefit concert booklet for Joan Little. It may have run in the Free Press also, not sure.

  37. #37
    This should be posted in the Supremes forum.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Aren’t there any pics of Flo when she did that benefit concert in Detroit?And wouldn’t it be great if there was at least some audio?
    The place to start would be WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit.

  39. #39
    Thanks Johnny Raven. Great pic!! And historical!

  40. #40
    Nice to hear that interview - especially the few times she laughs.

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