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  1. #1

    70's Supremes and Four Tops

    I was cutting grass yesterday and whiling away the time with headphones listening to the 'Magnificent' collection from 2009 (wow ten years ago time sure flies).
    I remember getting the impression here that most people didn't give this pairing much kudos for their three LP's together and so was listening especially carefully to at least the first two LPs of the set (I don't have a very big lawn) probably for the first time in my life and I was loving it.
    How amazing was it that different members of each group were given their moment in the sun, to be fair The Tops shared leads around quite regularly but I have come to remember The 60's Supremes being something of a 'one trick pony' with all the leads going to Diana. Hey it's obvious when Diana was replaced Mary was not in any shape vocally to take on the leads and she must have been in the decision making that led to Jean becoming centre stage but at least as the 70's progressed there are quite a lot more times where it's evident that both Mary and Cindy were and felt part of a real partnership, you only have to see them perform live from this period to see they are a real part of the group again.
    Anyway back to the pairing of the Tops and the Supremes, I wonder who's idea it was to put them together - obviously Diana and Co had had their day with the Tempts and it had proved fruitful so this was a natural progression but if 'the boss' had washed his hands of the girls why try and push them via this partnership.
    The LP's could have been better, it does seem in places that the songs were chosen to emulate the former pairing of the two other groups but in the main I think these albums are probably some of the best 70's albums Motown put out - certainly they were amongst the last to contain that 'real Motown sound'. I need to go back and read Mark Bego's essay again to see how this pairing came about and listen to the second disc in the set (fortunately the grass does not need cutting today).

  2. #2
    I bought and loved all 3 of those albums back when they were released and loved them all. I love the 2009 remix of "River Deep, Mountain High". This was high quality music in every regard!

  3. #3
    I remember buying "The Magnificent Seven" on vinyl when released originally. I've always thought that this LP was rather very good. The "Return" contained some excellent tracks, but not, in my opinion, as good as the first LP. I didn't buy 'Dynamite' until I was on holiday in New York, and bought about 50 new / unplayed Motown LP for about 50 cents each (1990).

    The set, which Paul refers to, issued in 1990, is by far a brilliant collection. I particularly like, as he mentions, that it's not just Jean and Levi singing - but all of them being involved in singing lead (well, not sure about the 4 Tops).

    I know in the UK, the two groups performed live on television, and the first single issued sold remarkably well, as did the LP.

    I may be wrong, but I'm sure that Radio Luxembourg had a competition in relation to the first LP - something along the lines of how many faces are shown on the cover.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by gordy_hunk View Post
    I remember buying "The Magnificent Seven" on vinyl when released originally. I've always thought that this LP was rather very good. The "Return" contained some excellent tracks, but not, in my opinion, as good as the first LP. I didn't buy 'Dynamite' until I was on holiday in New York, and bought about 50 new / unplayed Motown LP for about 50 cents each (1990).

    The set, which Paul refers to, issued in 1990, is by far a brilliant collection. I particularly like, as he mentions, that it's not just Jean and Levi singing - but all of them being involved in singing lead (well, not sure about the 4 Tops).

    I know in the UK, the two groups performed live on television, and the first single issued sold remarkably well, as did the LP.

    I may be wrong, but I'm sure that Radio Luxembourg had a competition in relation to the first LP - something along the lines of how many faces are shown on the cover.
    How many faces that were on the cover? In total? LOL!

  5. #5
    The first album came out in the Fall of 1970 I think. Motown was flooding the market with albums at that time. They released individual group albums by the Supremes and by the Four Tops around the same time and in quick succession. This may have hurt the combination albums some.

  6. #6
    to be honest - very little of the duet material for either the Tops combo or Temps combo was all that exciting. never understood why motown used predominately cover songs. there were certainly more than enough talented writers there to come up with new and exciting material for a duet.

    there are still super moments with both though - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, River Deep Mountain High. and some of the album tracks across the albums were strong too. but in most cases, it just wasn't necessary.

    with the 70s Supremes, i think us fans are more sensitive to the situation because the girls were at a precarious position in their career, whereas DRATS were quite secure. Had the 4Tops material NOT been released, it's very likely that Stoned Love would have charted higher (possibly #1 pop) as would Nathan Love. their accompanying albums would also have probably done better. Potentially we would have also received another single off of New Ways.

    DJ's, fans and the general public were watching and waiting to see just what the 70 Sups would do. it was critical that they have a very well thought-out strategy for their work and that's something that didn't really happen. too much random material thrown out there, clinging to an old and outdated image of giggly glamour girls, etc. Had the duets material NOT been released, i think people would have viewed their material more seriously and given the girls more of the support and credit they so deserved

  7. #7
    i wasn't a fan , of the first lp but I liked the single and Stoned Soul Picnic. however I did prefer the 2nd album, the Return Of better. more original tracks, at least to me . I absolutely hated Dynamite except for Melodie.how did that mess get released.
    on the 09 collection I do like the out takes.,most of which I like better than what actually got released. of all those songs I could trim them down to make one good album.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    i wasn't a fan , of the first lp but I liked the single and Stoned Soul Picnic. however I did prefer the 2nd album, the Return Of better. more original tracks, at least to me . I absolutely hated Dynamite except for Melodie.how did that mess get released.
    on the 09 collection I do like the out takes.,most of which I like better than what actually got released. of all those songs I could trim them down to make one good album.
    I thought they were a trio of hurredly put together albums. They were inconsistent and for the most part full of inspid cover versions. Jean and Levi did the best they could, but i can barely make up one decent compilation from the three albums. I still listen to the 2009 set occasionally in the hope it will begin to grow on me but each time i am disappointed. A trio of throwaway albums that deflected attention from the excellent material the Supremes were recording around that time. I have little doubt that the product overflow contributed to disappointing sales. Motown should have spaced them out better.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    I thought they were a trio of hurredly put together albums. They were inconsistent and for the most part full of inspid cover versions. Jean and Levi did the best they could, but i can barely make up one decent compilation from the three albums. I still listen to the 2009 set occasionally in the hope it will begin to grow on me but each time i am disappointed. A trio of throwaway albums that deflected attention from the excellent material the Supremes were recording around that time. I have little doubt that the product overflow contributed to disappointing sales. Motown should have spaced them out better.
    I think it's fairly easy to compile 1 solid album from all of the tracks recorded. Is it as solid of an album as Right On or Still Water - no. but it would have been a solid showcase for the singers

    River Deep
    I'm Glad about it
    Reach out and touch
    Melodie
    For your love
    function at the junction

    if you could see me now
    do you love me just a little
    it's got to be a miracle
    knock on my door
    i wonder where we're going
    Is there always one more bridge to cross



    other strong songs:
    Hold On
    If i could build my whole world around you
    do you love me just a little honey
    chain reaction
    Bring back your love
    It's your thing
    stoned soul picnic

  10. #10
    For me their best song remained in the vault until "The Complete" set was released:

    When I'm With You - a fantastic song and vocal performances.

    I do feel there is much to like though in all 3 albums that were released.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by rovereab View Post
    For me their best song remained in the vault until "The Complete" set was released:

    When I'm With You - a fantastic song and vocal performances.

    I do feel there is much to like though in all 3 albums that were released.
    Here's that song:


  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    I think it's fairly easy to compile 1 solid album from all of the tracks recorded. Is it as solid of an album as Right On or Still Water - no. but it would have been a solid showcase for the singers

    River Deep
    I'm Glad about it
    Reach out and touch
    Melodie
    For your love
    function at the junction

    if you could see me now
    do you love me just a little
    it's got to be a miracle
    knock on my door
    i wonder where we're going
    Is there always one more bridge to cross



    other strong songs:
    Hold On
    If i could build my whole world around you
    do you love me just a little honey
    chain reaction
    Bring back your love
    It's your thing
    stoned soul picnic
    I would add Baby, You Got What It Takes because everyone got a shot at singing lead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z71YFpyOTm0

  13. #13
    No excuse why a third album wasn't released. Then all the songs could be released.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Fourtopsbiggestfan View Post
    No excuse why a third album wasn't released. Then all the songs could be released.
    They did release three albums. The Magnificent Seven, The return of the Magnificent seven and Dynamite. Three was more than sufficient in my opinion.

  15. #15
    Agreed. Three was too much. Dynamite was released just before the holidays. Neither group had an lp ready at that time so Iím guessing this done just to have something on store shelves for Christmas

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by rod_rick View Post
    I would add Baby, You Got What It Takes because everyone got a shot at singing lead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z71YFpyOTm0
    I do enjoy hearing everyone sing but I just think this song and arrangement are too hokey

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Agreed. Three was too much. Dynamite was released just before the holidays. Neither group had an lp ready at that time so I’m guessing this done just to have something on store shelves for Christmas
    And the very fact that no singles were issued from it in the UK or USA seems to indicate what little faith Motown had in the project.

  18. #18
    yeah the lack of singles is truly puzzling. the Tops had just scored a hit single in the UK with Simple Game. and the Supremes were getting a hit off of Floy Joy.

    The first duets album did very well in the UK, landing in the Top 10 album charts. But the second didn't chart at all there

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    yeah the lack of singles is truly puzzling. the Tops had just scored a hit single in the UK with Simple Game. and the Supremes were getting a hit off of Floy Joy.

    The first duets album did very well in the UK, landing in the Top 10 album charts. But the second didn't chart at all there
    I did not hear any potential hits on that album, but had i been working at Motown i would sure as hell have released something. Without a potential hit this album was dead in the water before it hit the record stores.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by rod_rick View Post
    I would add Baby, You Got What It Takes because everyone got a shot at singing lead https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z71YFpyOTm0
    I love "You Got What it Takes!" They all sound like they're having so much fun. I think working with Frank Wilson during this period and also not having the pressure of being part of such a highly scrutinized effort like a "Diana Ross and the Supremes" album gave the girls the chance to open up. Also, we really hadn't heard them much on the last few DR-led Supremes albums anyway.

    I love the first Magnificent 7 LP, and the second one has grown on me over the years though I think it suffers from too many original songs. To me, this kind of "superstar pairing" almost dictates that the songs should be familiar to some degree, so the groups can put their own stamp on the material. I haven't listened that much to "Dynamite" though it too sounds better to me than when I purchased it years ago.

    I remember there was a Supremes & Four Tops Greatest Hits CD released in the 90s, I think. Its packaging was similar to the "Greatest Hits and Rare Classics" (I think that was the right name) CDs put out at the time by Brenda Holloway, Kim Weston, and others. Based on the thread input, I wonder what the lineup on that one was and how closely it mirrored our expectations.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post

    I remember there was a Supremes & Four Tops Greatest Hits CD released in the 90s, I think. Its packaging was similar to the "Greatest Hits and Rare Classics" (I think that was the right name) CDs put out at the time by Brenda Holloway, Kim Weston, and others. Based on the thread input, I wonder what the lineup on that one was and how closely it mirrored our expectations.
    It was called BEST OF THE SUPREMES & FOUR TOPS and was compiled by George Solomon, with liner notes by Carl Feuerbacher. It was released in 1991.

    The songs were:
    RIVER DEEP-MOUNTAIN HIGH
    IF I COULD BUILD MY WHOLE WORLD AROUND YOU
    YOU GOTTA HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART
    HELLO STRANGER
    WITHOUT THE ONE YOU LOVE
    I'LL TRY NOT TO CRY
    BABY (YOU'VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES)
    CALL ME
    DON'T LET ME LOSE THIS DREAM
    I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LOVE ME
    GOOD LOVIN' AIN'T EASY TO COME BY
    ONE MORE BRIDGE TO CROSS
    MELODIE
    IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW
    DO YO LOVE ME JUST A LITTLE HONEY
    IF

  22. #22
    Thanks Reese! George Solomon did a great job compiling the material, it looks like. I notice that this CD has a very high sticker price on Amazon, so I'm glad we have the Hip-O set which more or less obsoletes this one.

  23. #23
    the version of Melodie on the 90's era Sup/Tops GH cd is different from the one on Dynamite and, IMO, better

    on the original, the instrumental break/bridge is oddly placed before Jean's verse which just cuts the song up and make the overall flow weird. this is corrected in the 90s version. Levi sings his verse, then chorus. then jean sings her verse and chorus. and then there's the bridge. the song flows so much better. I think it could definitely, in this format, been released as a single from Dynamite

    not sure if this newer version was a remix by George and team or if there were originally two versions back in the 70s

    I appreciate on Return that they went with more original material. it's just a shame that the production of those originals tunes is lackluster. the songs themselves are ok but how they're produced just seems too MOR.

  24. #24
    in looking over all of the duet material, there's surprisingly more than enough for a full lp of original material. now on a couple tunes i've gone ahead and listed as original for the duets because the other versions were pretty much recorded simultaneously but maybe released first.

    Knock on my door (duke browner)
    together we can make (duke browner) the Sups version was recorded 2 days prior to the duet version

    you gotta have love (clay mcmurrary)
    i wonder where we're going (clay mcmurrary)
    one more bridge to cross (a&s)
    if you could see me now (henry cosby)
    i'll try not to cry (clay mcmurrary)
    I'm glad about it (A&S)
    let's make love now (henry cosby)
    where would i be without you (clay mcmurray)
    what do you have to do (bobby taylor)

    the bigger you love (frank and bobby)
    melodie (frank and bobby) Bobby Darin's version was done by April 71 and the duet version by June 71

    when i'm with you (duke browner)
    chain reaction (henry cosby)
    Bring back your love (duke browner)

    Now from these, i'd pull together an album using:

    side A
    Melodie - single #1
    let's make love now
    where would i be without you
    when i'm with you
    chain reaction
    Bring back your love

    side B
    one more bridge to cross - single #2
    what do you have to do
    if you could see me now
    I'm glad about it
    i wonder where we're going
    together we can make

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I love "You Got What it Takes!" They all sound like they're having so much fun. I think working with Frank Wilson during this period and also not having the pressure of being part of such a highly scrutinized effort like a "Diana Ross and the Supremes" album gave the girls the chance to open up. Also, we really hadn't heard them much on the last few DR-led Supremes albums anyway.

    I love the first Magnificent 7 LP, and the second one has grown on me over the years though I think it suffers from too many original songs. To me, this kind of "superstar pairing" almost dictates that the songs should be familiar to some degree, so the groups can put their own stamp on the material. I haven't listened that much to "Dynamite" though it too sounds better to me than when I purchased it years ago.

    I remember there was a Supremes & Four Tops Greatest Hits CD released in the 90s, I think. Its packaging was similar to the "Greatest Hits and Rare Classics" (I think that was the right name) CDs put out at the time by Brenda Holloway, Kim Weston, and others. Based on the thread input, I wonder what the lineup on that one was and how closely it mirrored our expectations.
    "You've Got What It Takes" and "IF I COULD BUILD MY WHOLE WORLD AROUND YOU" received radio airplay in Detroit and Toledo.

  26. #26
    I don't remember which of the three albums it was on but I cannot believe that no one has mentioned their great cover version of Love the One You're With. That and Melodie were their two best collaborations in my opinion.

  27. #27
    Love The One is a good song but it's barely a duet. jean rocks on it and i guess the tops are in the background. but she does the entire lead.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Love The One is a good song but it's barely a duet. jean rocks on it and i guess the tops are in the background. but she does the entire lead.
    When Motown released NEW WAYS BUT LOVE STAYS on cd and cassette in the 90s, they actually included LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH as a bonus track.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    They did release three albums. The Magnificent Seven, The return of the Magnificent seven and Dynamite. Three was more than sufficient in my opinion.
    I meant to say 4. No excuse why a 4th wasn't released.

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