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  1. #1

    High Energy vs Mary, Scherrie & Susaye albums

    Okay I am a bit bored so I thought I would share with you all some of my observations on the late 70's Supremes. I was a kid coming up in the 70's--I missed the 60's era Motown completely and only knew the songs as oldies. For some reason I bought High Energy in the 9th grade, and later purchased Mary Scherrie and Susaye, but I pretty much didn't know who the Supremes were until then. Anyway I played both albums for my friends who also didn't know the Supremes and I was really surprised at how differently they reacted to these two albums.

    High Energy: All my friends who heard this album, really, really liked it. It sounded current and the songs were good. Nobody knew who was singing lead on any of the songs, it could have been the same person on all of them for all we knew, so there was no bias towards one group member or another. You know what song, unanimously, was their favorite? Don't Let My Teardrops Bother You. Every single person I played that song for loved it. Even later in the 80's in college, if I played the High Energy album for people, they tended to gravitate towards Don't Let My Teardrops Bother You. Based on these experiences, I really wonder if Motown had released that song as a single, maybe it would have been the hit they needed. People say that Motown had to release disco due to the disco hysteria at that time, but isn't true. Lots of ballads made it during that time period. Sarah Smile, Kiss and Say Goodbye, and Misty Blue are just a few that come to mind.

    Now--How did my non Supremes fan friends react to Mary Scherrie and Susaye? They All, every single one of them, even the ones who loved High Energy, HATED this record. It was shocking to me. I loved MS&S--I liked every song on it. It was, however, more of a straight up funk/dance record than HE. Why it got such a bad reaction from my friends is an open question but I definitely heard the term "screeching" more than once. The only song most people seemed to be able to tolerate was We Should be Closer Together but even that didn't get the same positive reaction as DLMTDBY on the previous record.

    Thoughts? I have only one more thing to add. In the late 80's my friend Michael, who was ten or twelve years older than I was, came over to my house and noticed a stack of albums on the floor of my bedroom. The first in the stack was Mary Scherrie and Susaye for whatever reason, and he busted out laughing when he saw the cover! Being older, he was very familiar with the original Supremes. he said something to the effect of "none of those people are Supremes!" I was taken back a bit. By that time I knew who Mary Wilson was and he didn't even know who she was in that photo! He saw the whole thing as a complete joke! I wonder how many people had the same reaction?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Well I, fortunately, was a little kid when the Supremes got their first major, national hit and had heard some of their music before that hit. That means I grew up with the Supremes on the radio and on TV. I loved both "High Energy" and "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye" I was in high school when both albums came out. I bought "High Energy" right after their American Bandstand appearance and my girlfriend gave me "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye" as a Christmas gift. I never thought to compare them. I really liked them both, although High Energy, I liked it immediately. Mary, Scherrie & Susaye grew on me after several listens. I did not care for "You're My Driving Wheel" as the first single when I heard it,but liked it more later one. "DLMTDBY" was a standout, along with "High Energy" and "I'm Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking" from High Energy. "We Should Be Closer Together", Sweet Dream Machine, and probably my favorite Supreme song of them all, "You Are the Heart of Me were my favorite cuts from "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye".

  3. #3
    I never thought about comparing them either until I got that reaction from friends. Stylistically, those albums were very different from each other. For me, High Energy was a pop record with some dance cuts. MS&S was harder dance music, and more in line, vocally, with Labelle. Susaye was very much a Srah Dash type presence on that record, particularly Come Into my Life.

  4. #4
    For me High Energy is miles ahead of MS and S, though similar to Marv it has grown on me somewhat.

  5. #5
    Luke--but why? Better songs? Production? Vocals?

  6. #6
    I would actually recommend look at all 3 Scherrie albums as they form a sort of creative arc

    Sup 75 - not only is this record a hodge podge of producers but also of styles and sounds. As Mary described it "something for everyone." IMO it's 2 albums crammed into 1. There's the more pop sounds of the Ivey Woodson tracks (Color My World Blue, Can't stop a girl, etc) and then generic disco (He's My Man, Early MOrning, etc). The pop tracks are nice and display some strong vocals. While not extremely memorable (there are no Up the Ladders or Stop in the name of love) they could have been released and done fine. reintroduce the girls to the general population. The disco tracks just seem ok. nothing more. Also those songs could have been done by any female act. they just don't strike me as anything special or "Supremes"

    HE - I like the quote in the 2000 Sup box set booklet from one of the HE producers - how they were really inspired by the full, lush symphonic sound. Clearly they used that as a basis for many of the tracks as you've got oboes, bells and percussion, bassoons, strings, etc. The Sups were beginning to find a "sound" here with IGLMHDTW. it's an aggressive, you-go-girl, high flying song. great vocals and something different. Some of the other dance songs are borderline generic like Sup 75 but they're better here. Title track is definitely unique and begins to hint at the experimental approach they'd be following with next lp

    MS&S - IMO this album is the best. a much more cohesive product than either of the prior two. It definitely has some dated sounds though which could certainly help explain your 80s friends not finding it appealing. Here the Hollands take the experimentation from the HE track and the girl power sound and style from Walking and created a whole album. Susaye's contribution is expanded and the trio is just that - a trio.

  7. #7
    I loved the Mary Scherrie and Susaye album too. A feeling not shared by anybody I knew. They hated Patti Labelle's voice too.

  8. #8
    High Energy looked like there was a possibility of the Supremes continuing with some degree of success. And then came MSS - and it didn't even chart on the Top 200. I bought it and forgot it. I don't think it's as bad now as I did back then. My thought was it was just another disco album or an attempt to buy into that sound because that is what was selling at the time. It's no wonder that Mary bailed after how poorly it did.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I never thought about comparing them either until I got that reaction from friends. Stylistically, those albums were very different from each other. For me, High Energy was a pop record with some dance cuts. MS&S was harder dance music, and more in line, vocally, with Labelle. Susaye was very much a Srah Dash type presence on that record, particularly Come Into my Life.
    "Mary, Scherrie & Susaye" contained a cut that could have beaten The Emotions, "Don't Ask My Neighbors" which came out the following year in 1977. "We Should Be Closer" was every bit as good if not better in my opinion.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    High Energy looked like there was a possibility of the Supremes continuing with some degree of success. And then came MSS - and it didn't even chart on the Top 200. I bought it and forgot it. I don't think it's as bad now as I did back then. My thought was it was just another disco album or an attempt to buy into that sound because that is what was selling at the time. It's no wonder that Mary bailed after how poorly it did.
    Kind of like how Motown dumped Diana Ross after all those poor-selling albums of the late 80s and 90s, huh? The difference is Ross' albums were hugely promoted as tie-ins to some pretty major events,i.e. TV movie, The Super Bowl, and television guest spots of some of the most popular shows at the time.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Luke--but why? Better songs? Production? Vocals?

    For me, it came out too soon after High Energy. "Mary,Scherrie & Susaye" should have been released in 1977.

  12. #12
    I think part of the problems with MS&S was the lead single.

    Driving Wheel was not the right first single. and could argue it should never have been a single. they should have led with Let Yourself Go. Wheel was VERY different in sound from Walking whereas LYG has much more similarities. Wheel might be great for a dance club but perhaps too heavy and banging for radio. LYG is just less noisy lol

    the HE project has some very interesting chart performances.

    the lp was released in April and by late May had entered the charts and entered at #78! that is the highest chart entrance since Right On and frankly nearly all Sup lps entered in the 100s. so HE entered much higher. it then pretty quickly moved up to 42.

    Walking was released in mid March and didn't begin to chart on the pop charts until late May. that's a long period to wait typically. and then it was on the charts for a long time even though it only maxed out at #40.

    During this time, Walking was ALL OVER the regional disco charts. and on those charts for a long time. clearly the song was a big big hit with club djs. Motown should have issued a 12" to capitalize on the club play. It finally made the jump to the pop charts and moved quickly but then fizzled.

    You could speculate that a 2nd single release from the lp could have sparked more sales and interest, possibly pushing the lp chart higher.

    But IMO Walking was the big standout on HE and the only song that might have worked as a strong follow up would be HE. But no way Mary and pedro were gonna release a Susaye lead. Plus with the buzz around Walking, the Hollands and everyone probably thought "let's jump back into the studio fast and really crank out a follow up"

    IMO the album MS&S is better than HE. Wheel was a poor single and was released in late Sept. Peaked on the charts in early Dec just as their disastrous Caesar's appearance happened and Mary announced her departure. The lp had been released in October and would have been most likely getting ready to chart in Dec. but seems like the group just imploded

    the released LYG for some reason in Jan but with Mary leaving, it got 0 promotional push.

  13. #13
    Both albums were very good to excellent. The Holland Brothers and the ladies did an excellent job. Motown did a C- job in promoting them.

  14. #14
    Well I used to think that some of the album's I loved as a kid didn't sell because nobody played them on the radio (5th Dimension Earthbound, for instance) but maybe that's only part of the story. My friends' reactions to HE vs MS&S were stark almost to the point of being shocking. And HE sold five times the number of records that MS&S did. At least. So maybe it was the product that made people not want to play it.
    RE: Driving Wheel. I absolutely loved that song, still do, but all of my friends hated it. Was it the fact that on DW you had three strong voices singing in almost unison, whereas the songs my friends enjoyed all had one clear lead singer, whether it was Mary or Scherrie (mostly Mary), where the background is clearly way in the background? To me this is just like how people react differently to a metal guitar vs an acoustic or alt rock guitar. I absolutely HATE metal guitar. I find it boring, loud and ridiculous--but acoustic guitar or alt rock guitar, I really LOVE. With vocals--it seems like people get overwhelmed with too much power, too much volume. I personally love powerhouse female vocals like Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Patti and nona--voices like that. But most people seem to prefer a subtler approach. I mean look at today's singers. Very few have vocal power like the previously mentioned singers, or if they have that, they don't use it on record.

  15. #15
    Sup_fan I never once heard any 70's Supremes songs on the radio (Buffalo mostly) with the exception of Stoned Love. Never heard Nathan, Up the Ladder or Floy Joy until I bought The Supremes At Their Best. I was way too young to go to clubs. I first heard I'm Gonna Let---Walking on that album and I thought it was good but not exceptional.

  16. #16
    I liked 75 Supremes album but prefer more leads my Scherrie......I would have included..bend a little and Sha la bandit.
    Mary's solo can we love again is lovely and could have been I highlight compared to what was actually released.
    HE. Love Gonna let my Heart and Teardrops .both highlights.tremendous return to form. Side 2 .boring Mary solos
    Lifeless.
    But overall nice pop feel. Personally would have gone with original mixs ...but not the Symphony meets disco feel.
    miss.straight disco but good gems here.
    Sweet dream machine
    Let yourself go
    You are the heart of me
    We should be closer


    Not in favor of come into my life or driving wheel

    At this point Motown was screwing up everybody including DR....baby it's me!
    How did the go from being on point to totally missing the mark.
    BG just wanted to make movies.he totally lost his touch.
    Bad mgmt

  17. #17
    David--interesting takes. I never heard Can We Love Again until recently and was hugely disappointed in Mary's vocal. For me she sounded breathy, unsure and just okay. The song was just okay to me too. Mary, to my ears, is incredibly frustrating as a vocalist. There are times she is incredibly strong vocally, like on Teardrops Bother You, Walk the Line, I am Changing etc but other times it's like she isn't even trying, almost whispering. I have always felt this was a mental thing, rather than a vocal chords issue. The woman who sang Teardrop Bother You isn't the same vocalist who sang Love Again even though it is. Scherrie sounds the same ALWAYS.

  18. #18
    You're My Driving Wheel was a poor choice for a first single - it's just not that good or catchy a song and it appeared to be part of a decision to jump on the disco bandwagon - which failed.

    High Energy would have been the new lease on life - a new sound and a very good song.

    I think Susaye every so often publicly alludes to "what could have been" and "opportunities lost" and I believe she thinks the Supremes had a chance at that point - but politics were not going to let that happen. And again when Mary left, they might have had a chance to resurrect. But again politics intervened and Mary again interfered, got Diana to influence Berry and together, they all made the choice to "off" the group.

    Those two decisions weren't smart.

  19. #19
    Jobete--well people of my age group mostly didn't know or care who the supremes were in the late 70's. So they would have been starting Tabula Rasa, a blank slate, in those days. If Scherrie and Susaye carried on, I would argue that in terms of name value, most older people would have viewed using that name as a joke or novelty, no matter how talented the women were. It wouldn't have helped them much, maybe it would have been a net drag. But the right song can rescue any group from anonymity, even if that rescue was short lived. The Miracles proved that with Love Machine.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Well I used to think that some of the album's I loved as a kid didn't sell because nobody played them on the radio (5th Dimension Earthbound, for instance) but maybe that's only part of the story. My friends' reactions to HE vs MS&S were stark almost to the point of being shocking. And HE sold five times the number of records that MS&S did. At least. So maybe it was the product that made people not want to play it.
    RE: Driving Wheel. I absolutely loved that song, still do, but all of my friends hated it. Was it the fact that on DW you had three strong voices singing in almost unison, whereas the songs my friends enjoyed all had one clear lead singer, whether it was Mary or Scherrie (mostly Mary), where the background is clearly way in the background? To me this is just like how people react differently to a metal guitar vs an acoustic or alt rock guitar. I absolutely HATE metal guitar. I find it boring, loud and ridiculous--but acoustic guitar or alt rock guitar, I really LOVE. With vocals--it seems like people get overwhelmed with too much power, too much volume. I personally love powerhouse female vocals like Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Patti and nona--voices like that. But most people seem to prefer a subtler approach. I mean look at today's singers. Very few have vocal power like the previously mentioned singers, or if they have that, they don't use it on record.
    With "You're My Driving Wheel" you had reverse call and response which is generally a no, no in Soul music.

  21. #21
    Not sure what you mean

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    David--interesting takes. I never heard Can We Love Again until recently and was hugely disappointed in Mary's vocal. For me she sounded breathy, unsure and just okay. The song was just okay to me too. Mary, to my ears, is incredibly frustrating as a vocalist. There are times she is incredibly strong vocally, like on Teardrops Bother You, Walk the Line, I am Changing etc but other times it's like she isn't even trying, almost whispering. I have always felt this was a mental thing, rather than a vocal chords issue. The woman who sang Teardrop Bother You isn't the same vocalist who sang Love Again even though it is. Scherrie sounds the same ALWAYS.
    Maybe that is why "Can We Love Again" was unreleased for years until the special collections by Hip-O-Select.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Not sure what you mean
    Are you responding to me?

  24. #24
    No Marv. I will, from now on, try to say who I am speaking about/to

  25. #25
    You might be right about the name Supremes being deadsville by 1977 - and maybe Mary Diana and Berry all knew it

    I like the Love Machine reference - a monster hit that sounded nothing like the Miracles we remember who then promptly disappeared

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    You might be right about the name Supremes being deadsville by 1977 - and maybe Mary Diana and Berry all knew it

    I like the Love Machine reference - a monster hit that sounded nothing like the Miracles we remember who then promptly disappeared
    I don't believe they believed that. With all the books, DVDs, CDs, compilation albums, costume/gown collection tours, and concerts by former members, I bet some of the of former Supremes have made far more money in the years after the group disbanded than they did while at Motown.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Okay I am a bit bored so I thought I would share with you all some of my observations on the late 70's Supremes. I was a kid coming up in the 70's--I missed the 60's era Motown completely and only knew the songs as oldies. For some reason I bought High Energy in the 9th grade, and later purchased Mary Scherrie and Susaye, but I pretty much didn't know who the Supremes were until then. Anyway I played both albums for my friends who also didn't know the Supremes and I was really surprised at how differently they reacted to these two albums.

    High Energy: All my friends who heard this album, really, really liked it. It sounded current and the songs were good. Nobody knew who was singing lead on any of the songs, it could have been the same person on all of them for all we knew, so there was no bias towards one group member or another. You know what song, unanimously, was their favorite? Don't Let My Teardrops Bother You. Every single person I played that song for loved it. Even later in the 80's in college, if I played the High Energy album for people, they tended to gravitate towards Don't Let My Teardrops Bother You. Based on these experiences, I really wonder if Motown had released that song as a single, maybe it would have been the hit they needed. People say that Motown had to release disco due to the disco hysteria at that time, but isn't true. Lots of ballads made it during that time period. Sarah Smile, Kiss and Say Goodbye, and Misty Blue are just a few that come to mind.

    Now--How did my non Supremes fan friends react to Mary Scherrie and Susaye? They All, every single one of them, even the ones who loved High Energy, HATED this record. It was shocking to me. I loved MS&S--I liked every song on it. It was, however, more of a straight up funk/dance record than HE. Why it got such a bad reaction from my friends is an open question but I definitely heard the term "screeching" more than once. The only song most people seemed to be able to tolerate was We Should be Closer Together but even that didn't get the same positive reaction as DLMTDBY on the previous record.

    Thoughts? I have only one more thing to add. In the late 80's my friend Michael, who was ten or twelve years older than I was, came over to my house and noticed a stack of albums on the floor of my bedroom. The first in the stack was Mary Scherrie and Susaye for whatever reason, and he busted out laughing when he saw the cover! Being older, he was very familiar with the original Supremes. he said something to the effect of "none of those people are Supremes!" I was taken back a bit. By that time I knew who Mary Wilson was and he didn't even know who she was in that photo! He saw the whole thing as a complete joke! I wonder how many people had the same reaction?

    Thoughts?
    a major reason for the decline of The Supremes was the incessant personnel changes. They were The Supremes in name only and most fans had no interest in them at all unless they liked a record, of course. It started when Florence left, the group was not the same without her people that weren’t around at the time don’t realize how popular Flo was. Your friend probably didn’t recognize Mary even though her name is on the cover because she was certainly the least popular of the original three and may have remained the least popular for a couple incarnations. I didn’t know anybody back in the day who was in to Mary. She became the most popular, or more popular anyway by attrition. But lots of people had the same reaction that your friend did a new album comes out there’s another strange new face there and you’re thinking “who are these people?” When Diana was in the group after Flo laughed, she was so grainy and eye-catching that they didn’t lose as many fans as when Diana left of course, and then Cindy, and then Jean and Linda and then Cindy again .....

    I agree I much prefer high energy, I believe MSS seems for the most part kind of Soulless and generic. I think don’t let the teardrops bother you as one of the greatest records The Supremes ever did and I really think it should’ve gone out as a single. I love you are the heart of me except for that groany middle.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Jobete--well people of my age group mostly didn't know or care who the supremes were in the late 70's. So they would have been starting Tabula Rasa, a blank slate, in those days. If Scherrie and Susaye carried on, I would argue that in terms of name value, most older people would have viewed using that name as a joke or novelty, no matter how talented the women were. It wouldn't have helped them much, maybe it would have been a net drag. But the right song can rescue any group from anonymity, even if that rescue was short lived. The Miracles proved that with Love Machine.
    If that were true of young people in the late 70s, then The Supremes would a history project for young people in 2020!

  29. #29
    Never liked the 75 album. Sounds dated and not my kind of music.
    High Energy and MS&S we’re both high quality releases.. If you mix the two you have an extremely commercial and dynamic album. My idea of the perfect album would have been
    Side 1
    High Energy
    Let My Heart Do The Walking
    We Should Be Closer Together.
    Don’t Want To Be Tied Down
    Come Into My Life
    Side 2
    Your What’s Missing In My Life. (Mary Wilson Lead)
    Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You.
    Sweet Dream Machine
    You Are The Heart Of Me.
    Let Yourself Go.

  30. #30
    I loved both High Energy and Mary, Scherrie & Susaye. High Energy has a more lush sound and the songs were strong and sung well. MSS has some great songs, it was far more energetic than High Energy and was strongly disco. I loved Let Yourself go. As far as people knowing who was in the group, it seems once Florence left it was a focus on Diana Ross. Mary herself alluded to the DRATS time as the start of Diana's solo career using the Supremes for those 2-3 years as a springboard for that. Since Cindy has a memorable name with Birdsong that was used but clearly with Motown really only wanting Diana as the recognizable name. Once Jean Terrell joined it was a group group but not one where name recognition and individuality was a part of the success. By the time Scherrie joined they had their lowest charting singles with Jean and Lynda. The fact that the group rebounded as they did with High Energy their highest charting LP since Right On is a testament to their talent, even when none of the group members had the name recognition as they did in the past. They did have it with Diana, Mary and Flo with less recognition with Cindy as they became DRATS, but even when Jean joined their individual names and recognition was not what it once was or utilized by Motown. Mary had the issue of vocally sounding slightly similar to Mary Wells and having a similar sounding name as Mary Wilson. I remember in the 90's someone asked Mary how her cancer battle was going and it was because the audience member mixed up Wilson with Wells.

  31. #31
    I was a dj in the best Amsterdam gay disco that time when the LP HE came out an used to play the song HE quite a lot.
    Everytime I heard that intro (Wah Wah Watson on guitar )through our sound system: it sounded so great and lifted me up everytime!

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by jack020 View Post
    I was a dj in the best Amsterdam gay disco that time when the LP HE came out an used to play the song HE quite a lot.
    Everytime I heard that intro (Wah Wah Watson on guitar )through our sound system: it sounded so great and lifted me up everytime!
    Exactly! I was way too young to go to clubs but I would play the songs from High Energy for friends and NOBODY said that sounds old, or dopey. My friends loved that record. The name Supremes didn't matter at all, at least not to us. Was the name, in hindsight, a plus or a minus? I can't say.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    David--interesting takes. I never heard Can We Love Again until recently and was hugely disappointed in Mary's vocal. For me she sounded breathy, unsure and just okay. The song was just okay to me too. Mary, to my ears, is incredibly frustrating as a vocalist. There are times she is incredibly strong vocally, like on Teardrops Bother You, Walk the Line, I am Changing etc but other times it's like she isn't even trying, almost whispering. I have always felt this was a mental thing, rather than a vocal chords issue. The woman who sang Teardrop Bother You isn't the same vocalist who sang Love Again even though it is. Scherrie sounds the same ALWAYS.
    yeah i don't think it's Mary's best vocal ever but i certainly like it better than the idiotic Where Is It I Belong lolol. Plus it given a little variety to tempo and style. I think the lyric on the chorus is too repetitive.

    and i think the HE album would have benefited from dumping one or two of the Mary ballads on side 2 and replacing with a song similar in tone to this or You're What's Missing. Not a super heavy dance track like Walking or Only You. But something with more interest and "Energy"

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Never liked the 75 album. Sounds dated and not my kind of music.
    High Energy and MS&S we’re both high quality releases.. If you mix the two you have an extremely commercial and dynamic album. My idea of the perfect album would have been
    Side 1
    High Energy
    Let My Heart Do The Walking
    We Should Be Closer Together.
    Don’t Want To Be Tied Down
    Come Into My Life
    Side 2
    Your What’s Missing In My Life. (Mary Wilson Lead)
    Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You.
    Sweet Dream Machine
    You Are The Heart Of Me.
    Let Yourself Go.
    very interesting to merge the two albums!

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by jim aka jtigre99 View Post
    I loved both High Energy and Mary, Scherrie & Susaye. High Energy has a more lush sound and the songs were strong and sung well. MSS has some great songs, it was far more energetic than High Energy and was strongly disco. I loved Let Yourself go. As far as people knowing who was in the group, it seems once Florence left it was a focus on Diana Ross. Mary herself alluded to the DRATS time as the start of Diana's solo career using the Supremes for those 2-3 years as a springboard for that. Since Cindy has a memorable name with Birdsong that was used but clearly with Motown really only wanting Diana as the recognizable name. Once Jean Terrell joined it was a group group but not one where name recognition and individuality was a part of the success. By the time Scherrie joined they had their lowest charting singles with Jean and Lynda. The fact that the group rebounded as they did with High Energy their highest charting LP since Right On is a testament to their talent, even when none of the group members had the name recognition as they did in the past. They did have it with Diana, Mary and Flo with less recognition with Cindy as they became DRATS, but even when Jean joined their individual names and recognition was not what it once was or utilized by Motown. Mary had the issue of vocally sounding slightly similar to Mary Wells and having a similar sounding name as Mary Wilson. I remember in the 90's someone asked Mary how her cancer battle was going and it was because the audience member mixed up Wilson with Wells.
    agreed! between Diana dominant, type A personality and Motown actively pushing her as the lead singer/spokeperson/star, the public was able to zoom in on her.

    originally with the Supremes, you had 3 very identifiable personalities. Both on record and in performance. starting with More Hits, motown began to more actively promote their names and helped identify them more with the public. people really did know Diana, Florence and mary. by 66 or so, you have Diana emerging more as the star and focus and less and less attention on M and F. so while avid fans still knew their names, odds are the general public began to forget which was Mary and which was Flo. or was it Betty and Joanne? or sheila and eunice. lolol

    this continued even more overtly during the DRATS years. it was basically the Diana Ross show with a couple of girls standing behind her.

    with the Jean years, at first they sort of worked to rebrand the group and included the poster with their names on RO. But at that point you didn't have have a mega-personality like Diana. not that J or M or C have bad personalities or were at fault. it's just that there was a sudden and immediate void. a radical change. the girls and their management would have had to do some serious marketing to really get the public to bother making that personal connection. and as the hits became erratic, people were less inclined to do that

  36. #36
    Sup_fan I think you make a great point. As a 70's guy, I really only knew Diana Ross. She came out with some great songs like Do You Know Where You're Going To, and The Boss. I was never a fan but there was something about her that made you pay attention for whatever reason. I think Mary Wilson has that similar trait but she seemed too timid to make it known until she HAD TO--when the money dried up. For me, looking in from the outside in the 70's, Mary always seemed to be hiding behind other girls. It was so obvious. She had the skills but never seemed to believe it.By the time High Energy came out, she started to find her feet but it was too late. That being said, Mary is the best known backup singer on the planet so she did something right.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Sup_fan I think you make a great point. As a 70's guy, I really only knew Diana Ross. She came out with some great songs like Do You Know Where You're Going To, and The Boss. I was never a fan but there was something about her that made you pay attention for whatever reason. I think Mary Wilson has that similar trait but she seemed too timid to make it known until she HAD TO--when the money dried up. For me, looking in from the outside in the 70's, Mary always seemed to be hiding behind other girls. It was so obvious. She had the skills but never seemed to believe it.By the time High Energy came out, she started to find her feet but it was too late. That being said, Mary is the best known backup singer on the planet so she did something right.
    Mary Wilson is not a back up singer.

  38. #38
    Diana was just totally unique. and that isn't meant to slight the other women. I can imagine Diana in her kindergarden class being the one at the school assembly performance that just was super hyped to be there and swayed and danced the most lolol

    and physically your eye is drawn to diana partially because of her huge wide smile and enormous eyes. She's just a natural center of attention

    by the later 60s, Mary was much much more animated that she was in early appearances on tv. but sometimes too much so. or maybe just too obvious about it. this continued into the 70s where she's really flying on the dance steps and hand gestures. sometimes seemed a bit spastic.

    I do think you're right that Mary tried to take center stage too late. she tried in the jean years but jean was hired to be the lead singer. the group wasn't at the time structured as a multi-lead group. mary only recorded a handful of lead tracks during this time and basically just kept crooning Can't Take My Eyes year after year after year.

  39. #39
    I know whatcha mean, Sup. Even today, Mary sings the same old songs in her shows. I get it that she should do her best known songs, of course, but IMO she should have branched out many years ago. She did Can't Take My Eyes Off of you for decades. Where is the excitement? Where is the growth?

  40. #40
    in talking with fans, that is actually some of the gripes and problems (again according to the fans) between Jean and mary. Jean was in the studio a LOT, often M and C were replaced in the backgrounds, Jean was doing nearly all of the leads live on tv and in concert and having to learn that material. Meanwhile mary did some occasion background work and basically sang 1 song again and again in concert. Jean was also salaried and not earning royalties on Ladder and some of the other early tunes.

    So you have this problem where on one side you have Mary - stepping up as the original and trying to lead the direction of the group and then the other side Jean - a hugely talented woman who's doing the lion share of the work, getting less money and not able to really take the group in a new direction

  41. #41
    sorry - i got us off topic again lolol

    this two sided problem seems to also be in place in the MSS years. You have Mary now as the focal point of the group, doing about 50% of the leads on record and in shows. She's the spokesperson and runs the organization. but seems locked in the old tired image of the group and using the same old songs

    then on the other side you have S and S. both unique and gifted singers, both were songwriters (with Susaye having a big hit with Free) and yet they had little to no voice in the direction or approach.

    i get it that Mary had paid her dues and as the original Sup, deserved her time in the spotlight. But part of the point of bringing in new people is to also bring in fresh perspective. a new sound, a new approach, a new talent. Other than jean, none of the 70s sups really got that opportunity. Scherrie did a bit since she shared a lot of the leads. but that might be why the group was teased as being a revolving door of singers - none of them really were given an opportunity to truly be their own star within the framework of the group

  42. #42
    Sup I actually got to be a fan of Motown and the Supremes because of Mary's book Dreamgirl. A friend of mine in college bought it for me, and although I had several Supremes' Lps from the late 70's, I didn't have a clue about the group's history until I read Mary's book. I was fascinated and totally taken in. Today I see the truth. Diana Ross is where she is today because she earned it. She had that weird, crazy energy that very few people have. Mary is as talented, vocally, but she never seems to step up to the plate. She played in my hometown in the 90's, it was a benefit of some sort that I've forgotten, and I didn't even know she was here. If a friend hadn't put a flyer for the show on my windshield I would have missed the show--and I was a huge fan!! Mary played a hotel and did a great show--but I remember people there commenting on how few people were there, which annoyed me because the place would have been sold out if people actually knew the show was happening! I was a big fan and I only knew about the show, basically, by accident! Would Diana Ross stand for that kind of indifferent non-publicity? HELL NO. I could have personally brought 100 people or more to Mary's show and I was very connected to Mary's fan base at that time--but nobody contacted me. I would have been happy to help. It just seems like Mary doesn't quite get how to motivate people in her behalf, but Diana Ross absolutely does. She would have been on that phone, raising hell if people didn't know she'd be appearing here for a benefit!

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I know whatcha mean, Sup. Even today, Mary sings the same old songs in her shows. I get it that she should do her best known songs, of course, but IMO she should have branched out many years ago. She did Can't Take My Eyes Off of you for decades. Where is the excitement? Where is the growth?
    Marys Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is like watching paint dry. Good God, that woman has offers no excitement, but she tries and tries and tries and tries and tries ...... because mortgage payments come the first of each month.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    Marys Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is like watching paint dry. Good God, that woman has offers no excitement, but she tries and tries and tries and tries and tries ...... because mortgage payments come the first of each month.
    LOLOLOL

    supposedly Gil would try and approach her with new songs and she just wanted to keep singing this old thing

  45. #45
    I didn't start this thread meaning to bash Mary-- I always just wanted her to do well, that's all.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I know whatcha mean, Sup. Even today, Mary sings the same old songs in her shows. I get it that she should do her best known songs, of course, but IMO she should have branched out many years ago. She did Can't Take My Eyes Off of you for decades. Where is the excitement? Where is the growth?
    Thats what i so love about a Dian Ross concert. She never ever sings the same songs over and over and over again. It certainly keeps the show fresh with the audience never quite sure just what shes going to perform next. If only there were more singers that made the effort.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Thats what i so love about a Dian Ross concert. She never ever sings the same songs over and over and over again. It certainly keeps the show fresh with the audience never quite sure just what shes going to perform next. If only there were more singers that made the effort.
    You need to quit! LOL!!!!! hehehehehehehehehehe...........

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I know whatcha mean, Sup. Even today, Mary sings the same old songs in her shows. I get it that she should do her best known songs, of course, but IMO she should have branched out many years ago. She did Can't Take My Eyes Off of you for decades. Where is the excitement? Where is the growth?
    That is not true at all and I don't even know how you can say that. Mary has three different shows. Her "Supremes/Rock and Roll"show, her "Up close/Jazz" show and her "Symphony Concert" show. In each show's setlist there are a number of different songs. The only songs I know that Mary has kept are a core of about 5 or 6 Supremes songs from the 60s and she interchanges the songs from the 70s that she does. So to see you post that she never changes her songs makes we wonder WTF are you even talking about? You always admit that you don't know much about Mary's career or about the Supremes careers in the 70s. Mary has performed a massive amount concerts here and around the world over the last 40 years. I have never seen her do "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" in her solo concerts from the 80s to 2020. I know she hasn't whenever I was in the audience. I really would not see the value in you purposely lying , so I prefer to believe that you are just not remembering things right and hope that no one else here does know the real deal. I know the real deal and everyone knows that I do not care if anyone does not like that I tell the truth!
    Last edited by marv2; 06-04-2020 at 05:12 PM.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I didn't start this thread meaning to bash Mary-- I always just wanted her to do well, that's all.
    agreed - and we've gone a bit off topic.

    HE and MS&S contain two of the best Mary leads. Teardrops and We should be closer

    I used to really like You Are the Heart. I still do but like the moans less now than i did before. Now i like We Should be closer better

    and if i had to pick between Teardrops and Closer, i'd take Closer. it's a really interesting song and Susaye duetting is very cool

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Sup_fan I think you make a great point. As a 70's guy, I really only knew Diana Ross. She came out with some great songs like Do You Know Where You're Going To, and The Boss. I was never a fan but there was something about her that made you pay attention for whatever reason. I think Mary Wilson has that similar trait but she seemed too timid to make it known until she HAD TO--when the money dried up. For me, looking in from the outside in the 70's, Mary always seemed to be hiding behind other girls. It was so obvious. She had the skills but never seemed to believe it.By the time High Energy came out, she started to find her feet but it was too late. That being said, Mary is the best known backup singer on the planet so she did something right.
    Please forgive my many typos as my hand is in a cast and I cannot type and this dictating technology is obviously still in its infancy.

    Mary seemed timid timid early on, but she had two stupendous personalities in the Supremes that made her a distant third and it might not have been very good for her ego. when Florence laughed, you can see a huge change in her on the TV appearances and whenever to Millatti she had seemed to have overcome it by the Hollywood palace hosting in May 1969. Her gestures and movements were always way more exaggerated than Cindyís or any other supreme. By the time Sherry joined the group, mary practically had a neon sign coming out of her head saying look at me she was always trying to upstage the other two Her gestures and movements were always way more exaggerated than Cindyís or any other supreme. By the time Sherry joined the group, mary practically had a neon sign coming out of her head saying look at me. she was always trying to upstage the other two. You can look at any video after Jean left and even when someone else is singing lead Mary is often Seen trying to take attention away from them. All of her solos and extreme gesturing helped hone her craft, but it is very detrimental to the group. As Iíve mentioned before I love some of Maryís ballads, but there are lots of people I play them for that just cannot stand her voice. Maybe itís because we are all used to it, but thereís never been much demand from the general public For her services locally. She has done a brilliant job of making a name for herself and acknowledging her strengths and her wonderful God-given talent and making it work for her. Remember she spent four or five years constantly doing radio television and print interviews for the books and all of that what is valuable toward making a name for herself. Without question right now, none of her peers can touch Mary when it comes to television interviews. Mary could get a big solo gig in the 80s in Vegas Or the like, but the attendance never lead to anything. Even if Mary had the assuredness she enjoys today back in the 70s, it would not have helped the group as that is not what pop and soul groups were looking for a 1970s. As much as I love her ballads, I do think that it was possible even back in the 70s, to try to launch her that way, but there was no industry interest in doing so. I understand why she tried to make the Supremes a launching pad for her solo career, but the group paid a heavy price for it. Iíve come to the conclusion that many of us have grown accustomed to her voice and have learned to enjoy it and appreciate it. But as this three shared leads with Jean attest, her voice does not draw people in To the pop market.

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