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  1. #1

    This Is Why Mary and Florence's Mics Were Turned Down........

    They were two powerhouses:


  2. #2
    I like their harmony

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    I like their harmony
    Some of the best harmonies in Pop music were produced by the Supremes, Mary, Flo and Diane.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Some of the best harmonies in Pop music were produced by the Supremes, Mary, Flo and Diane.
    It's too bad that, on so many (not all, but a great many) of the airplay singles, Flo and Mary were made to sing in unison rather than to harmonize.

  5. #5
    The times the three of them harmonize together, you knew they were made for each other.

    They're the founding mothers of the Supremes. Period. Anyone that came after them had big shoes to fill and they couldn't fill them, sorry.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
    It's too bad that, on so many (not all, but a great many) of the airplay singles, Flo and Mary were made to sing in unison rather than to harmonize.
    I know what you mean. It was a case where money took over and surpassed artistry in importance.

  7. #7
    Etta James, who knew all three Supremes said that she could not understand why they were "singing like that" , like here in this video. She knew they all had great, powerful voices and thought that they should have been doing more Soulful material, but that is not what Motown wanted out of them.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Etta James, who knew all three Supremes said that she could not understand why they were "singing like that" , like here in this video. She knew they all had great, powerful voices and thought that they should have been doing more Soulful material, but that is not what Motown wanted out of them.
    Coming from Etta James, that is like high praise! If she felt they were capable of doing more soulful material, that's like WOW! Really nice to hear her praising their voices.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
    It's too bad that, on so many (not all, but a great many) of the airplay singles, Flo and Mary were made to sing in unison rather than to harmonize.
    The first time I heard The Supremes really harmonize was when I hear the singing some of those standards. I was blown away to say the least. Listening to a great deal of their hit recordings, you'd NEVER know these ladies could do some serious damage vocally. Especially with the "There's A Place For Us" CD, there are tunes where Flo, Mary and Diana are just tearing the house down with their strong vocal blend. Then I'd hear "My World Is Empty Without You" and it was almost like 2 different groups.

  10. #10
    Listen to this:


  11. #11
    and this one.......


  12. #12
    This is why I would put the Original Supremes up against ANY female singing group and they would still come out on top in my opinion. All three of them were great singers:


  13. #13
    "Especially with the "There's A Place For Us" CD, there are tunes where Flo, Mary and Diana are just tearing the house down with their strong vocal blend. Then I'd hear "My World Is Empty Without You" and it was almost like 2 different groups."[/QUOTE]

    You’re right "Waiting...”
    I’m convinced that “My World...” stalled at #5 on the (pop) charts because of the poor mix of Mary and Flo on the backing vocals. Just listen to the 2012 remix on the expanded “I Hear A Symphony” album. That’s how the single should have been issued.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    "Especially with the "There's A Place For Us" CD, there are tunes where Flo, Mary and Diana are just tearing the house down with their strong vocal blend. Then I'd hear "My World Is Empty Without You" and it was almost like 2 different groups."
    You’re right "Waiting...”
    I’m convinced that “My World...” stalled at #5 on the (pop) charts because of the poor mix of Mary and Flo on the backing vocals. Just listen to the 2012 remix on the expanded “I Hear A Symphony” album. That’s how the single should have been issued.[/QUOTE]

    I totally agree with that!

  15. #15
    Here is the 2012 mix :


  16. Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    This is why I would put the Original Supremes up against ANY female singing group and they would still come out on top in my opinion. All three of them were great singers:

    I still remember the day I bought the "Where" album and got it home. Couldn't stop staring at the cover, especially Flo. I TORE UP THIS SONG! I still love this song. Maybe it wasn't the right song at the right time for radio or the general public, but for me, it was/is as good as any of their other hits. Hearing Flo and Mary doing their parts was fantastic!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    I still remember the day I bought the "Where" album and got it home. Couldn't stop staring at the cover, especially Flo. I TORE UP THIS SONG! I still love this song. Maybe it wasn't the right song at the right time for radio or the general public, but for me, it was/is as good as any of their other hits. Hearing Flo and Mary doing their parts was fantastic!
    That album, "Where Did Our Love Go?" was in our basement and it seemed in everyone's home we visited back in those days! I still have it packed in storage. I swiped it from my parents when I came home on a college break! LOL!

  18. Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I swiped it from my parents when I came home on a college break! LOL!
    naughty, Naughty, NAUGHTY!
    (Geeze how long has it been since anyone has heard anyone say that!)

  19. #19
    You thief Marv!

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by detmotownguy View Post
    You thief Marv!
    Well heck, by the end of the sixties, they weren't even playing it anymore. hehehehehehehe!

  21. #21
    I've said it before, and I'll say it now. All of the examples given above (except My World) demonstrate the beautiful harmonies which these three ladies provided. Florence and Mary were excellent background singers; I love their voices and their roles. The song, "My World is Empty Without You", although I love it, is a composition that does not lend to having background vocals (with the exception of some light oooo's). In hindsight, I believe it should have been shelved or even assigned to another artist because it doesn't work as a Supremes release if one is looking to hear all three adequately (a lead singer and background vocals). There was no way at that time that it would be released as a 'Diana Ross' single. The background voices, very low in the released editions) are placed there to say that it is a Supremes (group) recording. The background parts, not to the fault of Mary and Florence, are more of a distraction than an enhancement to the song. Every live performance I have ever heard of this song by the Supremes heightened the distracting background vocal lines. Again, it's not that Mary and Florence are not good singers; it's just that their contribution (via the arrangers and producers) was needed.

    Should the background vocals level been moved up in the mix? NO!
    Last edited by jobucats; 12-09-2019 at 12:53 PM.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    I've said it before, and I'll say it now. All of the examples given above (except My World) demonstrate the beautiful harmonies which these three ladies provided. Florence and Mary were excellent background singers; I love their voices and their roles. The song, "My World is Empty Without You", although I love it, is a composition that does not lend to having background vocals (with the exception of some light oooo's). In hindsight, I believe it should have been shelved or even assigned to another artist because it doesn't work as a Supremes release if one is looking to hear all three adequately (a lead singer and background vocals). There was no way at that time that it would be released as a 'Diana Ross' single. The background voices, very low in the released editions) are placed there to say that it is a Supremes (group) recording. The background parts, not to the fault of Mary and Florence, are more of a distraction than an enhancement to the song. Every live performance I have ever heard of this song by the Supremes heightened the distracting background vocal lines. Again, it's not that Mary and Florence are not good singers; it's just that their contribution (via the arrangers and producers) was needed.

    Should the background vocals level been moved up in the mix. NO!
    My world is empty without you is my favorite Supremes single. I just love it the way it is. It is perfect to my ears.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    My world is empty without you is my favorite Supremes single. I just love it the way it is. It is perfect to my ears.
    I love the released version also; but in response to some others' opinions, I don't believe the background vocals should have been any higher in the mix; and I don't believe 'it's shame' one doesn't hear Mary and Florence more distinctively on this particular output. This one worked for what it was.

  24. #24
    My world is empty without you is my favorite Supremes single. I just love it the way it is. It is perfect to my ears.
    I love the released version also.This one worked for what it was.
    I agree with both above. I love the recording as it is and for what it was and is. One of the best Supremes and Motown singles ever. Diana Ross is superb on it and HDH production is amazing.

  25. #25
    I can't argue with history, I say keep it the way it was released. PERFECTION

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    I love the released version also; but in response to some others' opinions, I don't believe the background vocals should have been any higher in the mix; and I don't believe 'it's shame' one doesn't hear Mary and Florence more distinctively on this particular output. This one worked for what it was.
    I think HDH was going for an amazing effect here. M and F are almost like ghostly voices. Haunting. lingering in the background. While they're not loud, they're high impact. it adds to the desperation of the song

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
    It's too bad that, on so many (not all, but a great many) of the airplay singles, Flo and Mary were made to sing in unison rather than to harmonize.
    I think part of the reason the harmonies were skipped was the speed with which they were doing things. if you read the liner notes and the recording dates, M and F would come in and record many songs all in one day. In the effort to crank out as much content as possible, i think the producers decided to forego complex background vocals just so they could complete songs faster.

    Also a key component of HDH productions was it's simplicity. catchy lyrics, extremely "singable" melodies for lead and backgrounds.

    So i don't think it was meant as a slight to M or F. Especially given that producers did a lot of 3 part work for them on Sam Cooke, Country, Liverpool, There's a Place, R&H.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    "Especially with the "There's A Place For Us" CD, there are tunes where Flo, Mary and Diana are just tearing the house down with their strong vocal blend. Then I'd hear "My World Is Empty Without You" and it was almost like 2 different groups."
    You’re right "Waiting...”
    I’m convinced that “My World...” stalled at #5 on the (pop) charts because of the poor mix of Mary and Flo on the backing vocals. Just listen to the 2012 remix on the expanded “I Hear A Symphony” album. That’s how the single should have been issued.[/QUOTE]

    Same can be said about Reflections. I thought that song should've at least been #1 and if Mary and Marlene's voices were brought to the forefront in the version that was released, it would've been their 11th number one (before Love Child and Someday).

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    You’re right "Waiting...”
    I’m convinced that “My World...” stalled at #5 on the (pop) charts because of the poor mix of Mary and Flo on the backing vocals. Just listen to the 2012 remix on the expanded “I Hear A Symphony” album. That’s how the single should have been issued.
    Same can be said about Reflections. I thought that song should've at least been #1 and if Mary and Marlene's voices were brought to the forefront in the version that was released, it would've been their 11th number one (before Love Child and Someday).[/QUOTE]

    in regards to Reflections, Ode To Bille was such a huge sensation at the time that Reflections just couldn't quite break through. i wonder if 1) the group name wasn't changed for that single and 2) they had done some TV spots during the summer to promote it. That could have been enough to break through.

    My World stayed at #5 for 2 weeks in Feb 66. the first week the Top 5 was:

    Lightnin' Strikes - Lou Christie
    These Boots were made - Nancy Sinatra
    Up Tight - stevie Wonder
    My Love - Petula Clark
    My World - Supremes

    then the Top 5 changed to:

    These Boots - N Sinatra
    Lightnin' Strikes - Christie
    Ballad of the Green Berets - Sgt Barry Sadler
    Uptight - Stevie Wonder
    My world - Sups

    the following week Green Berets went to #1 and was there for 5 weeks. also entering the Top 5 were Listen People by Herman's Hermits and California Dreamin' by Mamas and Papas

  30. #30
    one more thought

    if low background vocals were to blame for a song not going #1, then how do you explain You Can't Hurry Love? the single version is very hard to hear. they come up a little more at the first part of the chorus when all 3 girls are singing together. but then drop way down again. Yet it not only went #1 but was one of the biggest singles

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Same can be said about Reflections. I thought that song should've at least been #1 and if Mary and Marlene's voices were brought to the forefront in the version that was released, it would've been their 11th number one (before Love Child and Someday).
    in regards to Reflections, Ode To Bille was such a huge sensation at the time that Reflections just couldn't quite break through. i wonder if 1) the group name wasn't changed for that single and 2) they had done some TV spots during the summer to promote it. That could have been enough to break through.

    My World stayed at #5 for 2 weeks in Feb 66. the first week the Top 5 was:

    Lightnin' Strikes - Lou Christie
    These Boots were made - Nancy Sinatra
    Up Tight - stevie Wonder
    My Love - Petula Clark
    My World - Supremes

    then the Top 5 changed to:

    These Boots - N Sinatra
    Lightnin' Strikes - Christie
    Ballad of the Green Berets - Sgt Barry Sadler
    Uptight - Stevie Wonder
    My world - Sups

    the following week Green Berets went to #1 and was there for 5 weeks. also entering the Top 5 were Listen People by Herman's Hermits and California Dreamin' by Mamas and Papas[/QUOTE]

    That Top 5 is a testament to how great music was in those days. Every one of them is now considered a classic and is still being played somewhere. It is also proof of just how competitive things were in the 60s. You can go half a year now and not get that many high-quality songs in the 10 at the same time.

  32. #32
    I love the vocals on the newer mix. Stronger “I need you babe “ emphasizes the whole theme of the song.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I love the vocals on the newer mix. Stronger “I need you babe “ emphasizes the whole theme of the song.
    Some Oldies stations replaced the original versions with the remixed versions from "The #!'s" that came out around 2002.

  34. #34
    Because Diana's voice was the one that mattered. Next?

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    I think part of the reason the harmonies were skipped was the speed with which they were doing things. if you read the liner notes and the recording dates, M and F would come in and record many songs all in one day. In the effort to crank out as much content as possible, i think the producers decided to forego complex background vocals just so they could complete songs faster.

    Also a key component of HDH productions was it's simplicity. catchy lyrics, extremely "singable" melodies for lead and backgrounds.

    So i don't think it was meant as a slight to M or F. Especially given that producers did a lot of 3 part work for them on Sam Cooke, Country, Liverpool, There's a Place, R&H.
    I still hated that they destroyed that, those great, great harmonies. I receive more listening pleasure when the harmonies are present. Take for instance "Nothing But Heartaches" the backing vocals are almost being shouted. They sound good but not as good as their harmonies on their earlier recordings.
    Last edited by marv2; 12-11-2019 at 01:03 AM.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Because Diana's voice was the one that mattered. Next?
    Then why hasn't it mattered for the last 35 years or so?

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I still hated that they destroyed that, those great, great harmonies. I receive more listening pleasure when the harmonies are present. Take for instance "Nothing But Heartaches" the backing vocals are almost being shouted. They sound good but as good as their harmonies on their earlier recordings.
    i appreciate the variety of the backgrounds. There's actually quite a bit of the hit records with backing harmonies

    Baby Love - Flo and Mary sing in harmony on the "baby, baby, baby, baby" at the end of each verse. hard to hear mary a bit but if you listen closely you'll hear it

    come See about me

    Back in my arms

    the happening

    Reflections

    love is here - just a little bit, at the end of the bg vocals during the spoken sections


    some that did NOT need it:

    You Can't hurry love - F and M assume the role of mama, telling the girl to wait and be patient. the unison approach is appropriate here

    Hangin On, Itchin, Stop - both of these benefit from the shear power of the bg vocals being in unison. harmonies would have diminished the strength a bit

    My world - as i said, M and F are the haunting voice in the background. unison works best here too


    where they might have best incorporated it:

    I Hear a Symphony - given the majestic sound and track, 3-part harmony would have been gorgeous here.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i appreciate the variety of the backgrounds. There's actually quite a bit of the hit records with backing harmonies

    Baby Love - Flo and Mary sing in harmony on the "baby, baby, baby, baby" at the end of each verse. hard to hear mary a bit but if you listen closely you'll hear it

    come See about me

    Back in my arms

    the happening

    Reflections

    love is here - just a little bit, at the end of the bg vocals during the spoken sections


    some that did NOT need it:

    You Can't hurry love - F and M assume the role of mama, telling the girl to wait and be patient. the unison approach is appropriate here

    Hangin On, Itchin, Stop - both of these benefit from the shear power of the bg vocals being in unison. harmonies would have diminished the strength a bit

    My world - as i said, M and F are the haunting voice in the background. unison works best here too


    where they might have best incorporated it:

    I Hear a Symphony - given the majestic sound and track, 3-part harmony would have been gorgeous here.
    I agree regarding the harmonies for "I Hear a Symphony". HDH could have been more creative in this area. Mary and Flo could have sung just about anything, instead, they had them repeat the chorus over and over.
    Last edited by marv2; 12-11-2019 at 01:04 AM.

  39. #39
    from what we've read, IHAS was cranked out in just a matter of days. The track was cut on 9/22, strings added 9/28, lead vocals added 9/29 and then released on 10/6.

    so probably in the interest of time they just did what they did

    I do really like how the track modulates through keys. adds a level of sophistication. and how the instruments build in the backing track too after the bridge. that's where the addition of some harmonies would have worked great. during the verse "those tears that filled my eyes, i cry not for myself..."

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Then why hasn't it mattered for the last 35 years or so?
    We’ll if you want to go there. Why hasn’t it mattered for Mary for the last 50 years! Lol

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by vgalindo View Post
    We’ll if you want to go there. Why hasn’t it mattered for Mary for the last 50 years! Lol
    And apart from dutiful wifey Lukia he Marv hasnt mattered in sixty years. LMAO

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    And apart from dutiful wifey Lukia he Marv hasnt mattered in sixty years. LMAO
    What? They are partners?

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    What? They are partners?
    Lets Just say Lukia hangs onto the other ones every word and hasnt had an original thought since 1927.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Roberta75 View Post
    Lets Just say Lukia hangs onto the other ones every word and hasnt had an original thought since 1927.
    Aha ! Perhaps there more to it than we know. Maybe misery loves company

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    from what we've read, IHAS was cranked out in just a matter of days. The track was cut on 9/22, strings added 9/28, lead vocals added 9/29 and then released on 10/6.

    so probably in the interest of time they just did what they did

    I do really like how the track modulates through keys. adds a level of sophistication. and how the instruments build in the backing track too after the bridge. that's where the addition of some harmonies would have worked great. during the verse "those tears that filled my eyes, i cry not for myself..."
    That was Berry Gordy and his "assembly line" mentality. I think they were turning them out (especially albums), too fast in the sixties. Two, maybe three albums a yearj was a little too much. I remember in the late sixties it seems as if the Temptations had a new single every 2 months!

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    from what we've read, IHAS was cranked out in just a matter of days. The track was cut on 9/22, strings added 9/28, lead vocals added 9/29 and then released on 10/6.

    so probably in the interest of time they just did what they did

    I do really like how the track modulates through keys. adds a level of sophistication. and how the instruments build in the backing track too after the bridge. that's where the addition of some harmonies would have worked great. during the verse "those tears that filled my eyes, i cry not for myself..."
    "I Hear a Symphony" is such a great masterpiece. With the exception of the "B" section (or bridge) near the beginning of the song ("I'm lost in a world.....", the composition is structurally monotonous. This accounts for the lyrics being difficult to memorize (as evidenced in the Mike Douglas live performance)...the same melody is being sung over and over but with different lyrics which don't really tell a story; however, just spouts out words of affection and love. HDH did make sure that the track modulated upwards in key to add intensity and interest to the song (as sup_fan stated). Although, I can't imagine how this classic would have been any better, it still would be interesting, as sup_fan suggested, to experience some actual harmonies in the background vocals.

  47. #47
    it is a very interesting song, from a structure perspective, within the supremes catalog. It's essentially 3 large verses. there's a bridge between verse 1 and 2 and then the modulations during 2 leads to 3. and you're right. there really isn't a story. more of a poem

    Intro
    You've given me a true love and ev'ry day I thank you love
    For a feeling that's so new, so inviting, so exciting


    Verse 1
    Whenever you are near, I hear a symphony
    A tender melody pulling me closer, closer to your arms
    Then suddenly, oh, your lips are touching mine
    A feeling so divine 'til I leave the past behind
    (leading into bridge) I'm lost in a world made for you and me


    Verse 2
    Whenever you are near I hear a symphony
    play sweet and tenderly
    Ev'ry time your lips meet mine my baby
    Baby, baby, I feel a joy within
    Don't let this feeling end
    Let it go on and on and on now baby
    Baby, baby, those tears that fill my eyes
    I care not for myself but for those
    Who've never felt the joy we've felt

    Verse 3
    Whenever you are near
    I hear a symphony each time you speak to me
    I hear a tender rhapsody of love, love
    Baby, baby, as you stand up holding me
    Whispering how much you care
    A thousand violins fill the air now
    Baby, baby, don't let this moment end
    Keep standing close to me
    Oh so close to me, baby, baby

    (ending) Baby, baby, I hear a symphony, a tender melody
    Ah it goes on and on

  48. #48
    i'd love the hear a version of Symphony with all of the music and instrument tracks unmuted. see what they might have pulled out at different points

    for instance, there are the wonderful horn flourishes in verse 1 after the say I Hear A Symphony (0:26) and again at 0:39. but then they don't appear later in the song

    during verse 2 the piano is prominent

    and during the live versions (especially on TCB) the strings do these amazing runs during version 2.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmtvkBTTU2o

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    You’re right "Waiting...”
    I’m convinced that “My World...” stalled at #5 on the (pop) charts because of the poor mix of Mary and Flo on the backing vocals. Just listen to the 2012 remix on the expanded “I Hear A Symphony” album. That’s how the single should have been issued.
    Same can be said about Reflections. I thought that song should've at least been #1 and if Mary and Marlene's voices were brought to the forefront in the version that was released, it would've been their 11th number one (before Love Child and Someday).[/QUOTE]

    That situation forced the listener to listen very careful to make out the background lyrics to the songs.

  50. #50
    i agree that the backing vocals should have been higher on Reflections. especially on the chorus. the 3 part harmony is amazing on the track

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