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  1. #1

    Supremes, who embodied the group qualities it= best

    Of course everyone feels that the original trio of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard embodied the qualities we found in the Supremes-talent, beauty, glamour, style,etc. I was just wondering who everyone felt in the replacement members best embodied those same qualities as the original trio? For me, it was Cindy Birdsong and Scherrie Payne. They embodied such talent, class, beauty, elegance and style. That is not to say that Jean Terrell, Lynda Laurence and Susaye Greene did not but it seems to me that they were the ones who were most successful in all of the qualities. That is not to say Jean was not an amazing singer and the voice that carried the group to success and that none of the members have the range that Susaye Greene has or that Lynda Laurence is not a powerhouse in her own right. I just think that Cindy and Scherrie had the most similar qualities that the original trio did. Any differing or similar opinions?

  2. #2
    I agree with you. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that for Jean it was more about the singing. She mentioned something to that extend in an interview. I think Susaye can be added to my list as well. She looks stunning on a lot of the photo's they took. Always wonder what sort of material they would have recorded if Mary stayed for another year or 2 at least.

  3. #3
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    Cindy was awesome. Jean was too butch. Those came after, I never cared enough to notice.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 08-10-2020 at 08:12 AM.

  4. #4
    Cindy was into all that glamour I think. Didn't she say how she loved it when she met the Supremes once during a concert and she was invited into their changing room. Had a bit of girly time with make up etc and when she returned to the Blue Belles they weren't happy. Also where she mentioned that their outfits and haircuts were basic and how she loved the Supremes for theirs.

  5. #5
    some of the women were more glamorous than others. Mary and Diana always exuded more "high-fashion" IMO than Flo. Flo and Jean had more of an earthiness to them and were statuesque. Cindy and Scherrie also had a glamorous image. Susaye and Linda were the youngest Supremes (both born in 1949). Linda was high-fashion while IMO Susaye was more avant guard. Given her unique voice and stature and presence.

    All of them definitely were beautiful but that beauty varied by woman. In some cases, the group adjusted to accommodate and utilize this. in other cases, it didn't.

  6. #6
    Scherrie, Cindy and Mary

  7. #7
    Diana, Mary, Flo, Cindy, Lynda.

    Jean was a great vocal replacement for Diana, though. Scherrie and Susaye were also fine vocalists but not supremely "statuesque" enough. I always thought the last Supremes were not a visual match.

  8. #8
    Sound wise, Diana and Jean mattered.

    After Jean left, they really just became another group trying to make it - no really identifiable individuals, no real hits. They just never made a mark and it wasn't because there wasn't talent because there was in Scherrie and Susaye. And Mary learned that she had to work. But it didn't make much difference after Jean left.

  9. #9
    i agree that much of the Scherrie years were drifting, trying to find a direction. You have late 73 and all of 74 with the girls just touring. back to the good ole sequin gowns (after the Jean-pantsuit years and then searching for a look during the Lynda period). it was sort of tried and true but not overly interesting

    i think MSC should have stuck with Ivey and Woodford as the producer to helm their "comeback" album. their material was by far the superior content on Sup 75. it had a glossy pop that worked with their image

    Then they hit with Walking and now you have a sassier, more "in your face" sound with some much more significant vocal work on record then much of their previous. it was powerful and exciting. But then you have them in these massive Jesus robes or gowns with miles of chiffon. the MS&S album took that sound from Walking and elevated it to a whole new level and even expanded with some unique and experimental content. But the group dynamics and managerial problems plagued everything and they fizzled.

    so you have a couple opportunities that were clearly missed in the final years

  10. #10
    I think that each replacement was an excellent choice, that all were extremely talented. I do feel that in terms of embodying what the original concept was and what the originals exuded that Scherrie and Cindy were the ones who exemplified those qualities the most. As far as Jean, she was excellent vocally but she offered a completely different dynamic than what the original concept was. Lynda was perfect for the mid 70's and was quite talented but did not present any noticeable presence or qualities related to the original grouping. Susaye was an excellent vocalist but the visual chemistry seemed off, she also offered a completely different dynamic than the originals. If we talk about vocals, Jean offered quite distinct lead vocals but never seemed to have that unidentifiable "it" in her stage presence. When she was on television, both Mary and Cindy were far more dynamic in their stage presence. With the last grouping, the visual premise of the trio was off but both Scherrie and Mary still exuded glamour while Susaye was quite unique and interesting, she seemed to not share the qualities that were evident in the original trio or the one that preceded her. I still think that Scherrie and Cindy came the closest to what the Supremes exemplified. I also read a post that Mary "learned that she had to work" after Jean left. Funny that in Miss Ross' own book that she stated that Mary was always a hard worker when discussing herself, Mary and Flo's working habits. Regardless of what they did on record, some of the latter groupings had a much different dynamic than what was envisioned for the original trio and adapted to the members. Like I said, I felt both Cindy and Scherrie came closest to what the original grouping exemplified.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by jim aka jtigre99 View Post
    I think that each replacement was an excellent choice, that all were extremely talented. I do feel that in terms of embodying what the original concept was and what the originals exuded that Scherrie and Cindy were the ones who exemplified those qualities the most. As far as Jean, she was excellent vocally but she offered a completely different dynamic than what the original concept was. Lynda was perfect for the mid 70's and was quite talented but did not present any noticeable presence or qualities related to the original grouping. Susaye was an excellent vocalist but the visual chemistry seemed off, she also offered a completely different dynamic than the originals. If we talk about vocals, Jean offered quite distinct lead vocals but never seemed to have that unidentifiable "it" in her stage presence. When she was on television, both Mary and Cindy were far more dynamic in their stage presence. With the last grouping, the visual premise of the trio was off but both Scherrie and Mary still exuded glamour while Susaye was quite unique and interesting, she seemed to not share the qualities that were evident in the original trio or the one that preceded her. I still think that Scherrie and Cindy came the closest to what the Supremes exemplified. I also read a post that Mary "learned that she had to work" after Jean left. Funny that in Miss Ross' own book that she stated that Mary was always a hard worker when discussing herself, Mary and Flo's working habits. Regardless of what they did on record, some of the latter groupings had a much different dynamic than what was envisioned for the original trio and adapted to the members. Like I said, I felt both Cindy and Scherrie came closest to what the original grouping exemplified.
    i think that Mary learned that it was quite a lot to manage a group and really lead it. I agree that she worked very hard in the 60s and was always flawless on stage. but she had largely abdicated any real role in managing the group. so in 73 when she really took over everything, she probably realized just how much work was involved.

  12. #12
    Not a big fan of the Scherrie years (not taking anything from her), but I agree, after Jean left, the Supremes became like any other girl group out there and not the ALMIGHTY Supremes. This is why Otis Williams is a genius, he was able to find singers who were capable of lead, background and harmony parts that didn't take away from the group.

    Mary on the other hand didn't seem too confident on finding anyone that could match what Diana and Jean brought to the group. Same with finding another Flo/Cindy.

  13. #13
    Cindy Birdsong sparkled!...the gowns were more form fitting during this period, and Cindy had the best fit....and when you see the close shots, she def had the big time heavy eye make up thing going on.
    I am not disrespecting anyone else's preference, but I became a fan in '68...around Love Child and TCB....Mary was my keep my eye's on girl. When I see the earlier Flo performances, she doesn't really do much for me. Same with Lynda...gorgeous girl, and Susaye…unique style, but I always felt like a soloist was dropped into the group just to keep the number at 3. I enjoy it, but I don't love it as much as any Cindy lineup.
    I loved Jeans mature, down to earth style...it just got a bit "lackluster" in '72... Scherrie was a more visually dynamic performer, and the MSC vocal blend was perfect, and easy on the ears.....SO, my answer would be Mary, Scherrie and Cindy in both sound and presentation.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Not a big fan of the Scherrie years (not taking anything from her), but I agree, after Jean left, the Supremes became like any other girl group out there and not the ALMIGHTY Supremes. This is why Otis Williams is a genius, he was able to find singers who were capable of lead, background and harmony parts that didn't take away from the group.

    Mary on the other hand didn't seem too confident on finding anyone that could match what Diana and Jean brought to the group. Same with finding another Flo/Cindy.
    in an very old, early book by Randy on Motown, he states that Scherrie's talents were abused spectacularly while at motown. i think that's definitely true. to state it bluntly, Mary should have realized that her path to future success and riches depended on being part of the group. with Scherrie, you had a marvelously talented singer, a dynamic stage performer and a wonderful personality. From the get-go, Scherrie should have been doing 90% of the leads on vinyl and on stage. Mary could continue to grow her role within the supremes' framework but more focus should have been on Scherrie. that voice could have maybe helped them crack the pop market again.

    I like that in the MSC lineup, there was an effort to have each girl sing some. that freshened things up and sounded nice. fine for some lp filler tracks and during some medleys on tv and stage. but Mary should not have been doing 50%+ of the lead work.

  15. #15
    So in a nutshell you wanted them to continue what they were doing with Diana and Jean. Sooner or later Mary would have wanted more than just a featured lead. She is not Otis or Duke in which they preferred not to sing lead.
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    in an very old, early book by Randy on Motown, he states that Scherrie's talents were abused spectacularly while at motown. i think that's definitely true. to state it bluntly, Mary should have realized that her path to future success and riches depended on being part of the group. with Scherrie, you had a marvelously talented singer, a dynamic stage performer and a wonderful personality. From the get-go, Scherrie should have been doing 90% of the leads on vinyl and on stage. Mary could continue to grow her role within the supremes' framework but more focus should have been on Scherrie. that voice could have maybe helped them crack the pop market again.

    I like that in the MSC lineup, there was an effort to have each girl sing some. that freshened things up and sounded nice. fine for some lp filler tracks and during some medleys on tv and stage. but Mary should not have been doing 50%+ of the lead work.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    So in a nutshell you wanted them to continue what they were doing with Diana and Jean. Sooner or later Mary would have wanted more than just a featured lead. She is not Otis or Duke in which they preferred not to sing lead.
    Thatís why the Supremes ended in 1977 and the Temptations continued on with hits.

  17. #17
    Actually the last Temptations hit was 1975. You already know Mary could have stayed but opted out thus ending the group.
    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    That’s why the Supremes ended in 1977 and the Temptations continued on with hits.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    Actually the last Temptations hit was 1975. You already know Mary could have stayed but opted out thus ending the group.
    Iím pretty sure ďTreat her like a ladyĒ was in the 80ís as well as their song with Rick James. I just took a look at Wikipedia and they continued to chart on the R&B chart. Their last hit was in the year 2000.

  19. #19
    #2,r&b but #48 on the top 100 not exactly a hit. I know they kept charting on the r&b charts so did the Vandellas .
    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    I’m pretty sure “Treat her like a lady” was in the 80’s as well as their song with Rick James. I just took a look at Wikipedia and they continued to chart on the R&B chart. Their last hit was in the year 2000.

  20. #20
    In all fairness what makes anyone think that Motown would back a Scherrie led group. They barely backed Jean and she was Motown picked.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    #2,r&b but #48 on the top 100 not exactly a hit. I know they kept charting on the r&b charts so did the Vandellas .
    I hate how some people downplay success on the soul charts. Crossover success is nice, but that kind of validation is not necessary. If Dolly Parton had success on the country chart, that failed to chart on the pop charts- is that a failure? The answer is no.

  22. #22
    Not trying to downplay it. I would say the same if it was a country hit or a dance hit. I remember not long ago someone on here didn’t think Floy Joy wasn’t a major hit and that was a top 20/ top 5 r&b
    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    I hate how some people downplay success on the soul charts. Crossover success is nice, but that kind of validation is not necessary. If Dolly Parton had success on the country chart, that failed to chart on the pop charts- is that a failure? The answer is no.

  23. #23
    Ya, I donít think Floy Joy was a big hit - it was a hit but definitely not major or remembered

  24. #24
    That’s in the eyes of the beholder. Officially it is considered the last major Supreme hit. The last top 20 and last r&b 10 and the last to sell over 500,000 copies.
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Ya, I don’t think Floy Joy was a big hit - it was a hit but definitely not major or remembered

  25. #25
    Very reasonable but itís no Baby Love Mountain Love Go Stop Hangover Touch Me Symphony Hangin On Someday Hurry Love Love Child - itís more Livin in Shame Ladder One Love Swept Away

  26. #26
    It’s comforting to know that certain albums considered flops in the USA as in Eaten Alive, Workin’ Overtime (my fave) and Take Me Higher, should in fact be documented as having been rather successful due to their decent r & b chart positions. I like it.

  27. #27
    I still think Cindy and Scherrie embodied what the original Supremes did. As far as vocals, Mary felt as the last line of Jean songs hit #59,#85 and#87 pop that nobody knew who they were even with "Jean's distinctive lead vocals" and that she decided she wanted to sing lead once Jean left because there needed to be some consistency. I think Jean's vocals and style were constantly compared to Diana's in the press and critics. I always felt Mary liked Scherrie's voice because it was different from Diana's and would not be compared and that Scherrie had a spark and star quality. Scherrie was a big voice much like Flo, who Mary felt had the best voice of the originals. Perhaps, Mary felt with that voice she would see how the group would have been with Flo and her also singing leads. At this time, even Cindy started to sing lead lines. I do wonder if the group wanted a high, distinct voice do you think Motown would have preferred Susaye as the lead singer once she joined? Not talking about the qualities I mentioned for this thread, but if we are talking distinctive voices like Jean and Diana would they have been better served if Susaye had been the major lead singer in the final years?

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    So in a nutshell you wanted them to continue what they were doing with Diana and Jean. Sooner or later Mary would have wanted more than just a featured lead. She is not Otis or Duke in which they preferred not to sing lead.
    no not exactly. during the DRATS era, Mary basically just did ooos and ahhs while standing at a microphone 3 miles behind Diana. I think they still could have launched Diana's career and maintained some level of group interaction and interplay. I think each girl should have done a verse of Millie/Rose/Mame

    during the Jean years, mary most definitely was stepping out more. a few album track leads. and also much more group interplay - starting with the simple lines on Ladder and evolving from there.

    during the Jean years mary had 1 or so song per album and then 1 song (plus some of the hits medley) during live shows. with Scherrie she was up to 50% of the songs on album and 3/4 of the live material. I would put the right mix in between that. MOre than 1 song live and on vinyl. maybe 1/3 of the content. depending on the style of the music and what's being recorded.

  29. #29
    That shift to Mary changed the Supremes and it wasn't successful. Many fans enjoyed it but the public never took to it. But even if Jean had stayed and the sound remained the same, maybe the heyday of the Supremes was over anyway. The 70's were the era of the singer/songwriter, not the groups - and the Tops and Miracles and Temptations never flourished either although they might have done better than the Supremes.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    That’s in the eyes of the beholder. Officially it is considered the last major Supreme hit. The last top 20 and last r&b 10 and the last to sell over 500,000 copies.
    Yeah but how memorable is it?

    Most considered the Supremes to be "over" after "Stoned Love". Some may know "Nathan Jones", but if you ask them about "Floy Joy" unless they're that deep a music fan, a Motown fan or a Supremes fan, you're gonna hear crickets. And then when you tell them, it's like "OH WOW, I didn't know Mary Wilson sang!" or "Smokey Robinson produced THAT?!" Lol

  31. #31
    Everything we discussed on here is very subjective depending on who we talk to. We can assume what we think how things were as opposed to actually living in that time and seeing it in person. It’s one thing to say say that the girls were longer on top and they were clearly slipping as opposed to saying they were over after ST is pretty false. Is a certain song memorable depends on where you grew up and how often it was played on the radio or at a school dance etc. and as for Mary stepping up, like I mentioned before it was going to happen sooner or later. It was already starting to happen when Jean was there so it shouldn’t be a shock when it happened. Maybe Scherrie didn’t want To do the majority of the leads and found it easier if Mary was splitting the load or Mary wanted to show what she can do. Who knows. We all have a bias opinion on how things should have worked out, but hey it is what it is

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Yeah but how memorable is it?

    Most considered the Supremes to be "over" after "Stoned Love". Some may know "Nathan Jones", but if you ask them about "Floy Joy" unless they're that deep a music fan, a Motown fan or a Supremes fan, you're gonna hear crickets. And then when you tell them, it's like "OH WOW, I didn't know Mary Wilson sang!" or "Smokey Robinson produced THAT?!" Lol
    This isn't a comment liked by all fans - but more often I feel the comment is "Who is Mary Wilson?" It's a very generic name and they just don't know who it is. Which I believe is the reason she is always talking about Diana Ross.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    This isn't a comment liked by all fans - but more often I feel the comment is "Who is Mary Wilson?" It's a very generic name and they just don't know who it is. Which I believe is the reason she is always talking about Diana Ross.
    Yeah, in the Supremes fan base, this would be an offensive comment, and I definitely understand if folks get mad with me about it but the truth is if you're not a Supremes fan or if you were just a casual one who only liked the hits and didn't go further than that, you would mostly ask "how does Mary sing? I've heard Florence, but how does Mary sing?" That's why she continues to do what she does so people CAN be reminded of who she was and who she is: a founding member of a legendary group. Like I'm sure people do know who she is, but not to the degree of, say, Otis. Maybe if she did have the business savvy Otis did, Mary wouldn't be constantly asked about Diana.

  34. #34
    As opposed to 95% of Otis’s interviews revolve around The classic era of the Temptations. The role Otis picked for himself started way before they hit it big.
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Yeah, in the Supremes fan base, this would be an offensive comment, and I definitely understand if folks get mad with me about it but the truth is if you're not a Supremes fan or if you were just a casual one who only liked the hits and didn't go further than that, you would mostly ask "how does Mary sing? I've heard Florence, but how does Mary sing?" That's why she continues to do what she does so people CAN be reminded of who she was and who she is: a founding member of a legendary group. Like I'm sure people do know who she is, but not to the degree of, say, Otis. Maybe if she did have the business savvy Otis did, Mary wouldn't be constantly asked about Diana.

  35. #35
    This comment can apply to 90% of Motowners
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    This isn't a comment liked by all fans - but more often I feel the comment is "Who is Mary Wilson?" It's a very generic name and they just don't know who it is. Which I believe is the reason she is always talking about Diana Ross.

  36. #36
    Totally true

    And in one sense what made them great was that sense of family and togetherness which kind of broke down when Diana first off got spotlighted - and it spread to Marvin Stevie Smokey and Lionel

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    This isn't a comment liked by all fans - but more often I feel the comment is "Who is Mary Wilson?" It's a very generic name and they just don't know who it is. Which I believe is the reason she is always talking about Diana Ross.
    In total fairness to Mary, with the exception of RTL it’s the Supremes she usually discusses in interviews. Occasionally an interviewer will single Diana out for comment, but I think that happens a lot less these days.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    no not exactly. during the DRATS era, Mary basically just did ooos and ahhs while standing at a microphone 3 miles behind Diana. I think they still could have launched Diana's career and maintained some level of group interaction and interplay. I think each girl should have done a verse of Millie/Rose/Mame

    during the Jean years, mary most definitely was stepping out more. a few album track leads. and also much more group interplay - starting with the simple lines on Ladder and evolving from there.

    during the Jean years mary had 1 or so song per album and then 1 song (plus some of the hits medley) during live shows. with Scherrie she was up to 50% of the songs on album and 3/4 of the live material. I would put the right mix in between that. MOre than 1 song live and on vinyl. maybe 1/3 of the content. depending on the style of the music and what's being recorded.
    I would say that during the DRATS era, the focus was beyond strong on Diana Ross. The Supremes seemed to be less in focus and they were further and further behind her on stage, off to the side with mics turned down very low. Mary did do more than just oooh and ahhh, though. She did have some lines in the stage banter, albeit very little. Plus during this era Mary started her spotlighted solo Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You. It was less of a group feel but she did manage to finally get something during that Diana only dominated era.

  39. #39
    I think an effort was made for Mary - probably by Diana more than Motown. But Mary had little confidence and while I really liked her Can't Take My Eyes Off You, looking back it was a pretty pedestrian version with little oomph.

  40. #40
    I wonder if Cindy was approached to record for Motorcity? I heard she got robbed on her UK trip...and fortunately for her, Diana Ross was still in London and contactable. She performed to pre-recorded tracks, so I wonder who accompanied her on the trip ,and who escorted her while she was there?

  41. #41
    I know Cindy recorded for Hi-Hat Records with her Dancing Room release. She opted out of the FLOs, who along with Mary recorded for Motorcity. Strange, once Cindy joined the group that she was robbed at the Steel Pier, as Diana was leaving she was kidnapped and once starting her solo career robbed again. She was genuinely the Sweetest Supreme, who both Diana and Mary remember fondly and was friendly with both Jean and Scherrie. I don't really recall her being asked for Motorcity, maybe because she had another contract or that she gave up pop/r&b music and decided to do a gospel album that never materialized. I am not sure. does anyone know?

  42. #42
    I didn't know Cindy was robbed at the Steel Pier....

    (Just to be funny...what happened??? Did a diving Horse steal her eyelashes???)

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