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  1. #1

    Imagine what it was like for Mary

    Seeing some posts, I started to imagine what certain periods were like for Mary. The original grouping were friends who came up together and achieved much success. I would think it must have been very hard for Mary to see her two friends take such different paths and leave her. I am sure the feelings were very different as three friends conquering the show business world then to lose Florence while Diana focused on her future aspirations while inside the group. I am sure once Florence left and Diana was with Berry she must have felt very alone. She has stated it felt different once Flo left and that Cindy was one of the nicest human beings that it changed the feelings of 3 friends together. Once Diana left and they chose Jean, it was more about the group as a business. It was more what will work best for success. Starting the new Supremes she was with relatively 2 new people and was no longer with the others that she formed.The original Supremes became friends as young people, now Motown was choosing members. They no longer formed the group, the group was being formed for them. Plus, Mary has even stated that Motown was worried about how Florence was feeling and worried about Diana but during the problems they had, no one worried about her. That had to have hurt her. Plus, once Cindy left and they chose Lynda it was for the business. Once Jean and Lynda left, Mary must have felt very alone. Fortunately, she became friends with Cindy and she was there for her to come back. Mary searched for a replacement and chose Scherrie for her looks and voice. It turned out that Scherrie was also very nice and Mary said this grouping was perhaps the nicest. Once Cindy left, Mary's husband was managing since she felt Motown did not care about her or the group and he found Susaye. Still, by this time Mary wanted to show the world her talents and this group had 3 talented, very headstrong people. It was no longer 3 friends who came up together to conquer the World. Of course, Flo's passing had to have affected both Mary and Diana. I think everyone neglects how all of this must have made Mary feel. I think it had to be tough but she realized she was an entertainer and that she loved to sing no matter what. I give her much credit for her strength and resilience during what must have been very hard for her professionally and personally.

  2. #2
    It's especially difficult if she regrets not having been able to keep the group at a high level of commercial success or if she compares her notoriety to that of Diana Ross.

  3. #3
    I'm sure Mary felt much like Otis and Melvin from the Tempts. In one article or book, she even made the comparison, saying like them, she would always be outnumbered by new members. I guess the biggest difference is that the Tempts managed to remain successful longer.

    It must have been hard for the original group to break up. That emotional bonding of forming the group, rehearsing day and night, playing dives and then enormous success, plus whatever personal issues each had must have been enormous. And there's no way a new member could come in and have the same sort of feeling, no matter how great they were. It seems bound to become a business relationship (albeit friendly) at some point.

  4. #4
    I agree in that it must have felt a lonely road at times. I do wonder if she ever spoke privately to B.G, prior to that final meeting at his house in an attempt to defend Flo?. If so, she has never mentioned it. Naturally she would have been fearful of jeopardising her own position within the group.
    I guess like any other job, music is a business and you have to learn to bend and adapt to various folk in order to survive. That’s life.
    The wonderful thing about Mary is that she has proved herself a survivor in the face of adversity. She has demonstrated both strength and resilience when times were tough. As such I consider her an inspiration.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 10-30-2020 at 11:30 AM.

  5. #5
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    Mary and Cindy had a great gig with Diana doing almost all the work.

  6. #6
    so many different ways to look at this

    DMF started as good childhood friends. but did that actually make it harder to deal with problems? since there was the emotional element mixed in with the professional

  7. #7
    All of them worked hard. Not just Diana
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    Mary and Cindy had a great gig with Diana doing almost all the work.

  8. #8
    I'm sure the personal part of this was absolutely brutal on all of them except Diana. Of course, they were jealous. They were just human beings and very young for most of it. One of the got nominated for an Oscar at 28; and for the rest of them by 1972 at the latest, the group was floundering and there was no chart success as individuals. Mary had to fight to stay employed - and so that's what she did; get out there at every opportunity and charge for it.

    The only real mistake I believe she made was she pushed too hard and so she ended up, as Randy Tarraborelli said, "losing Diana forever" and she got no reunion, no tour, and there would have been the best money she could ever hope to make. She's got to regret that and Cindy certainly did.

    I wish the remaining Supremes would all get together at a show - but Mary probably will never go along with that - and if it were done at a Diana concert, most of the people at the concert won't know who those other Supremes are.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    I'm sure the personal part of this was absolutely brutal on all of them except Diana. Of course, they were jealous. They were just human beings and very young for most of it. One of the got nominated for an Oscar at 28; and for the rest of them by 1972 at the latest, the group was floundering and there was no chart success as individuals. Mary had to fight to stay employed - and so that's what she did; get out there at every opportunity and charge for it.

    The only real mistake I believe she made was she pushed too hard and so she ended up, as Randy Tarraborelli said, "losing Diana forever" and she got no reunion, no tour, and there would have been the best money she could ever hope to make. She's got to regret that and Cindy certainly did.

    I wish the remaining Supremes would all get together at a show - but Mary probably will never go along with that - and if it were done at a Diana concert, most of the people at the concert won't know who those other Supremes are.
    I largely agree, but it's my outsider's opinion that ultimately Diana did indeed get Diana back. Wilson? I don't think anyone needs imagine what 'it was like'; she has told us nonstop for the past 40 years. I do, however, imagine what it is like for the many group members who have no public forum whatsoever even though their voices are heard still on a daily basis. (Shelly Clark, anyone?)
    Last edited by PeaceNHarmony; 10-30-2020 at 01:25 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I'm sure Mary felt much like Otis and Melvin from the Tempts. In one article or book, she even made the comparison, saying like them, she would always be outnumbered by new members. I guess the biggest difference is that the Tempts managed to remain successful longer..........
    I think the biggest difference is that Otis and Melvin knew that any further success that they had would always be associated with the group and so they stayed with the Tempts and gave all their energy to the group even though by now they were outnumbered and the group had a revolving door.

    Mary decided to leave her group, but most of any further success that she had was always associated with the group in one way or another. Her countless interviews were mostly bout the group and minutely about Mary Wilson. Even her billing always linked to the Supremes and she began her solo career performing as a Supreme as another thread shows

    Financially, she probably would have been had about the same income performing with the Supremes as she has now as a soloist. In either case, venues would have been about the same too.

    Otis' group of Tempts is now an oldies act and the other groups led by former Tempts are also oldies acts.

    If Mary continued the Supremes, it would also be an oldies act, as are the other groups led by other former Supremes.

    Mary probably has regrets for some of her decisions. We all can say that about ourselves. I doubt that she envisioned her solo career to be comparable to Cher, or Bette, or Gladys, or Teddy, or Tina or Diana or Barbra. She seems to be content where she is, and has carved out a nice niche for herself in the entertainment world.
    Last edited by milven; 10-30-2020 at 02:08 PM.

  11. #11
    i think the Supremes could have continued for a while without being purely an "oldies" act. yes they would have had some opportunities around that idea - heck the Madison Sq Garden date in 77 was an oldies show even though the Supremes didn't approach it that way. I think in the 80s they could have balanced old and new, still working on new material and endeavors.

    of all the lineups most likely to have sustained this, i think MSC could have, had the group and group management not been focused on Mary becoming a solo act.

    Shortly after the group disbanded, you had a lot of entertainment world opportunities they could have taken advantage of. Love Boat, Fantasy Island, guest stars on 80s sitcoms, Sesame Street. Are these the most ground breaking things - of course not. but it would have keep the group in the public eye, generated income. very much like the Pointer Sisters who did all of these. the Points recorded the wonderful pinball song on S Street - 1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10... 11 12. were guest stars on Gimme A Break. did tv specials, etc.

  12. #12
    You keep saying that that Mary was trying to become a solo act while the n the group but it doesn’t look like that was the case. During msc she did half of the leads in the shows and on record. If she was really trying to carve out a solo career, she would have pushed for her leads to be singles and do 85% or more of the leads in their shows. If she really wanted the full spotlight do you think she would want Scherrie’s Leads to get the push and not hers.
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i think the Supremes could have continued for a while without being purely an "oldies" act. yes they would have had some opportunities around that idea - heck the Madison Sq Garden date in 77 was an oldies show even though the Supremes didn't approach it that way. I think in the 80s they could have balanced old and new, still working on new material and endeavors.

    of all the lineups most likely to have sustained this, i think MSC could have, had the group and group management not been focused on Mary becoming a solo act.

    Shortly after the group disbanded, you had a lot of entertainment world opportunities they could have taken advantage of. Love Boat, Fantasy Island, guest stars on 80s sitcoms, Sesame Street. Are these the most ground breaking things - of course not. but it would have keep the group in the public eye, generated income. very much like the Pointer Sisters who did all of these. the Points recorded the wonderful pinball song on S Street - 1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10... 11 12. were guest stars on Gimme A Break. did tv specials, etc.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by jim aka jtigre99 View Post
    Seeing some posts, I started to imagine what certain periods were like for Mary. The original grouping were friends who came up together and achieved much success. I would think it must have been very hard for Mary to see her two friends take such different paths and leave her. I am sure the feelings were very different as three friends conquering the show business world then to lose Florence while Diana focused on her future aspirations while inside the group. I am sure once Florence left and Diana was with Berry she must have felt very alone. She has stated it felt different once Flo left and that Cindy was one of the nicest human beings that it changed the feelings of 3 friends together. Once Diana left and they chose Jean, it was more about the group as a business. It was more what will work best for success. Starting the new Supremes she was with relatively 2 new people and was no longer with the others that she formed.The original Supremes became friends as young people, now Motown was choosing members. They no longer formed the group, the group was being formed for them. Plus, Mary has even stated that Motown was worried about how Florence was feeling and worried about Diana but during the problems they had, no one worried about her. That had to have hurt her. Plus, once Cindy left and they chose Lynda it was for the business. Once Jean and Lynda left, Mary must have felt very alone. Fortunately, she became friends with Cindy and she was there for her to come back. Mary searched for a replacement and chose Scherrie for her looks and voice. It turned out that Scherrie was also very nice and Mary said this grouping was perhaps the nicest. Once Cindy left, Mary's husband was managing since she felt Motown did not care about her or the group and he found Susaye. Still, by this time Mary wanted to show the world her talents and this group had 3 talented, very headstrong people. It was no longer 3 friends who came up together to conquer the World. Of course, Flo's passing had to have affected both Mary and Diana. I think everyone neglects how all of this must have made Mary feel. I think it had to be tough but she realized she was an entertainer and that she loved to sing no matter what. I give her much credit for her strength and resilience during what must have been very hard for her professionally and personally.
    very thoughtful post with insights that never crossed my mind before. Iíve talked to Mary a lot, but not that much about the original group because I donít want to seem like Iím being friendly just for the dirtÖÖ Even though I want every drop! Mary has told me that things went from having a wonderful time as they struggled to make it, and then all of a sudden, they never had another minute to themselves. Everything was about work and their personal lives didnít mean anything anymore. She said it was wonderful in many ways, but indicated that humanity was now out of the group in place of the $. Cindy told me that from the moment she joins the group, Mary was trying very hard to get Cindy ďon her side ďand for the longest time Cindy didnít see a reason to be on a side, and she likes Diana a lot. Looking back, she said mary was very very unhappy with Diana and wanted others to feel the same way and then after a while that feeling could become contagious as she continued to point out things. I asked Cindy if she felt that Mary was acting that way with Florence when they were in the group and Cindy said she didnít know, but Mary definitely had an ass versus them attitude from the day she joined the group, she did not feel Diana had the same attitude as she never spoke ill of Mary to her. Cindy wasnít bothered by Diana getting the star treatment, because she thought thatís just how it always has been and that was normal to her. But I can definitely see Mary being sad and wistful about sharing a dream with three friends and having it overtake and eventually destroy their friendship. I have a close friend that did the circumstances mostly beyond my control, is no longer the great friend he was and I miss it very much. We are still in each others lives, but itís ridiculously not the same at all, so I can empathize with Mary. It appears to me that Diana didnít care that much about the friendships changing because she was very focused on her career, and sheís always been extremely close to her large family and perhaps didnít need that much outside social interaction on a close basis. Even in the early days, Mary and Flo partied while Diana often remained by herself by choice.

    I never thought about the fact that replacing best friends with just anybody and being in that close environment as much as they are, couldíve been really miserable. Itís one thing to get along, itís another thing to really enjoy and care about each otherís company. Plus, as you mentioned, relationships had to be protected for the sake of the group. Iím sure it was hell and I never ever thought about that before.

    The Temptations were better able to withstand changes in the group because they had several lead singers who were very capable of holding an audience. The Supremes never had that luxury. The Temptations lost David, and, amazingly, thrived. Losing Paul and Eddie hurt a lot, but vocally, they remained basically intact. The star power, however dwindled, and their tickets sales declined immeasurably even while Papa was a Rolling Stone was number one. They werenít The Temptations anymore, really. Just like JMC werenít The Supremes. It must have been hard clinging to the dream that had basically vanished.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    You keep saying that that Mary was trying to become a solo act while the n the group but it doesn’t look like that was the case. During msc she did half of the leads in the shows and on record. If she was really trying to carve out a solo career, she would have pushed for her leads to be singles and do 85% or more of the leads in their shows. If she really wanted the full spotlight do you think she would want Scherrie’s Leads to get the push and not hers.
    i'm basing this off of her book - Supreme Faith. on page 158, she discusses when she, Scherrie and Cindy started recording again in Dec 74. in regards to her singing more leads, she says "I finally accepted the responsibility to prepare myself for future personnel changes and possibly the end of the group."

    now considering this is her POV right after MSC signed contracts and just started to record for the first time is telling. this does not sound to me like the opinion of someone who is looking at this stage of their career as a rebirth or comeback. this does not sound like the opinion of someone that is thinking this MSC lineup could run for many years and have a long, fruitful career.

    in addition, Mary was handling all of the group decisions. on the board here, when Susaye was active, i asked her if group approached gowns and songs from a collective decision. she responded no, Mary made those decisions.

    in the show mary did more than 50% of the leads. she also did nearly all of the stage dialog. on tv, she handled the majority of the interviews (at least in the clips we're able to see) and interacted with the hosts.

  15. #15
    I just watched a documentary on Teddy Pendergrass and what I came away with was how notoriously crooked the music "business" was/is. How often were entertainers not paid for a performance (probably why Aretha demanded cash up front, in her purse), and the involvement of mobs or gangs, and of course drugs, pimps and everything else. And that was a guy who was street wise. How did a girl group survive, let alone thrive?
    When you realize that you are a commodity and only valuable while you're making money, you have to figure that out and make decisions in terms of who to trust, and how to move forward if you want a career. I think Mary has demonstrated she is a survivor, has found a niche (holder of the Supremes' history and gowns, and spokesperson). Diana Ross has not ventured into this territory at all leaving this to Mary and a career for Mary. (My humble opinion).

  16. #16
    If Scherrie was the lead singer in the same sense Diana had been (or at least close to it), the Supremes could have continued on in a similar vein to the Temptations. If the Supremes were trying for dual lead singers, they were moving to a sound that was not identifiable as a Supremes sound when one of those singers was Mary.

    I think it was a huge mistake for Mary to leave, a huge mistake to let Jean go, and a huge mistake to move away from the Jean/Scherrie sound. Basically all that did was led to the demise of the Supremes and it never did anything for a solo career for Flo, Mary or Cindy. My recollection is that Scherrie and Lynda had a semi hit or two as members of another group, but no one in the Supremes other than Diana actually had what you would call a solo hit.

    I know these situations are rife with personality conflicts; I'm sure Otis Williams has his fair share of critics. But it's hard for me to see that if the Supremes could have carried on with someone like an Otis, they could hardly have been less successful than what happened for Flo, Mary, Cindy, Scherrie, Susaye, Jean, Lynda. Essentially, the FLOS were as successful as any of them.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    If Scherrie was the lead singer in the same sense Diana had been (or at least close to it), the Supremes could have continued on in a similar vein to the Temptations. If the Supremes were trying for dual lead singers, they were moving to a sound that was not identifiable as a Supremes sound when one of those singers was Mary.

    I think it was a huge mistake for Mary to leave, a huge mistake to let Jean go, and a huge mistake to move away from the Jean/Scherrie sound. Basically all that did was led to the demise of the Supremes and it never did anything for a solo career for Flo, Mary or Cindy. My recollection is that Scherrie and Lynda had a semi hit or two as members of another group, but no one in the Supremes other than Diana actually had what you would call a solo hit.

    I know these situations are rife with personality conflicts; I'm sure Otis Williams has his fair share of critics. But it's hard for me to see that if the Supremes could have carried on with someone like an Otis, they could hardly have been less successful than what happened for Flo, Mary, Cindy, Scherrie, Susaye, Jean, Lynda. Essentially, the FLOS were as successful as any of them.
    good summary Job. i think Scherrie and Lynda have done quite a bit of session work too.

    agree that there was an opportunity with the SMC lineup to have something more longer term. I do think a multilead approach would have worked. Scherrie should have definitely be the primary lead and handled the majority of the leads on singles. I do think though that M and C could be more featured than before. like in Up the Ladder, they had those echo lines. i think that made excellent use of a group even though Jean was lead. and some shared leads are fun in tv appearances and on albums.

    overall i'd have Scherrie do 60 - 70% of leads, mary doing 25% and Cindy filling in the rest

  18. #18
    I know that quote she wrote. And I said before the push for her to go solo was more from Pedro than her. You also have to take account that she wrote it out if retrospect of looking back. And like I said before if she was truly trying to set up a solo career that early she would have picked someone more like Cindy than Scherrie.
    Last edited by blackguy69; 10-30-2020 at 05:44 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    I know that quote she wrote. And I said before the push for her to go solo was more from Pedro than her. You also have to take account that she wrote it out if retrospect of looking back. And like I said before if she was truly trying to set up a solo career that early she would have picked someone more like Cindy than Scherrie.
    if she had picked another Cindy, that would have basically defaulted Mary as the lead and motown had already said no to that. they had no interest in Mary as a singer really. otherwise they would have done more to support her and develop her

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by drlorne View Post
    I just watched a documentary on Teddy Pendergrass and what I came away with was how notoriously crooked the music "business" was/is. How often were entertainers not paid for a performance (probably why Aretha demanded cash up front, in her purse), and the involvement of mobs or gangs, and of course drugs, pimps and everything else. And that was a guy who was street wise. How did a girl group survive, let alone thrive?
    When you realize that you are a commodity and only valuable while you're making money, you have to figure that out and make decisions in terms of who to trust, and how to move forward if you want a career. I think Mary has demonstrated she is a survivor, has found a niche (holder of the Supremes' history and gowns, and spokesperson). Diana Ross has not ventured into this territory at all leaving this to Mary and a career for Mary. (My humble opinion).
    I agree with this too.

    I think all Supremes, especially M F D, realized they were being tried like a commodity and were being used pretty intensely, particularly Diana and I think the other two started to feel expendable.

    I agree that Mary did what she had to in order to survive; it wasn't always pretty but she had her butt kicked pretty hard as well and she knew she'd have nothing if she didn't do what she viewed as necessary.

  21. #21
    I highly doubt Motown would have pushed a Scherrie led group or a solo Scherrie.
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    if she had picked another Cindy, that would have basically defaulted Mary as the lead and motown had already said no to that. they had no interest in Mary as a singer really. otherwise they would have done more to support her and develop her

  22. #22
    To be honest with you by 1973-1974 The Supremes came off like an oldies act. They were still running around in gowns designed in 1967, 1968 and 1969. They looked dated - frozen in time.

  23. #23
    It was so obvious they had run out of money; that's what Mary said in her books; and no record company could pour more and more money into an act that was giving them much of a return.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    I highly doubt Motown would have pushed a Scherrie led group or a solo Scherrie.

    Motown would push anything they felt could make them a nickel. In Ď73, the J5, Smokey and tempts had slipped, Gladys and the tops were gone, interest in JML was very weak and there were Bills to pay that would not be covered by Marvin Stevie and Diana alone. They needed big acts desperately and worked the commodores well, plus, they did their best for MSC in 75 - getting them on tv, plugging the album in clubs and stores. I saw the poster at tower and a local shop. The group was a hot mess on TV and spoiled any interest they might have generated with their crazy antics. I think itís POSSIBLE that Motown would try to work with a Scherrie grouping, but it got quashed. Too bad they couldnít get Thelma Houston in the group - that might have helped.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by LoveSupreme View Post
    To be honest with you by 1973-1974 The Supremes came off like an oldies act. They were still running around in gowns designed in 1967, 1968 and 1969. They looked dated - frozen in time.
    I used to cringe when I saw five and eight-year-old dresses maybe 10-year-old dresses on the group, it was just sad but I kind of understood it because even the old gowns in many ways were better than the new ones they were getting most of which were just simply atrocious.

    Plus they couldn’t get any hot producers to work with them. It wasn’t just Motown that had lost interest in and there was no interest in them in the industry. If you had a hot idea for a record or a great song, would you give it to a struggling group that hasn’t had a hit in years and even then disappointing album sales, or pitch it to somebody who’s hot? the supremes were cold. In hindsight, they began cooling off when Diana left.

  26. #26
    i agree that one of the biggest problems during the Scherrie years was the disconnect between what they did on vinyl and what they did live. there was some really good music during these years (and some duds of course). Had they had sound and solid managerial advice, things could have been different.

    during the 60s, Berry personally oversaw every single thing the group did. he had a vision for where the group needed to go and what to do to get them there. the girls' natural sophistication, charm and talent was in complete harmony with his strategy

    as i've said many times, the managerial decisions and the strategy for the group during these years were just off. big old fashioned chiffon ball gowns. singing silly MOR and Broadway tunes. complete chaos on the stage.

    had they applied the same level of thoughtful strategy, it could have been different. the disco era was known for glitz, glamour and image, the group's core personality would have fit perfectly.

  27. #27
    Yes they were cooling off when Diana left. And the show tune songs only indicated how out of touch they had become.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Yes they were cooling off when Diana left. And the show tune songs only indicated how out of touch they had become.

    it was a huge mistake to say no to BG to manage the group. They had to have done better. At least with Diana, There was someone in the group with some vision as to what would look good on stage which is why she could stand up to Cholly and say we shouldnít do this or that. With MSS they had great talent but no direction and thatís a shame.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    it was a huge mistake to say no to BG to manage the group. They had to have done better. At least with Diana, There was someone in the group with some vision as to what would look good on stage which is why she could stand up to Cholly and say we shouldn’t do this or that. With MSS they had great talent but no direction and that’s a shame.
    Bayou has shared some fascinating stories over the years here on this general topic. i'll paraphrase him and say that motown was pretty much done with the group when J and L left. but mary soldiered on and motown was rather surprised that the shows were still selling pretty well. fans still wanted to come see the girls. plus the reviews with MSC were much stronger than MJL. And so they figured "ok - let's test them out with a handful of producers and see if anything sticks." That gave us Sup 75 and HMM did well on the disco charts and with the gay and black dance clubs. even without any effort or promotion.

    motown wasn't super big in Disco and so when some of these things started to click with the Sups, the higher ups figured "hell it's easier to push an established act than to break out a brand new one." so they thought to have the Sups as sort of a disco act on the label. But yes, they then wanted to manage the group in order to keep things going in the right direction. mary said no and then motown was like "fine, whatever, SMH" lol

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Bayou has shared some fascinating stories over the years here on this general topic. i'll paraphrase him and say that motown was pretty much done with the group when J and L left. but mary soldiered on and motown was rather surprised that the shows were still selling pretty well. fans still wanted to come see the girls. plus the reviews with MSC were much stronger than MJL. And so they figured "ok - let's test them out with a handful of producers and see if anything sticks." That gave us Sup 75 and HMM did well on the disco charts and with the gay and black dance clubs. even without any effort or promotion.

    motown wasn't super big in Disco and so when some of these things started to click with the Sups, the higher ups figured "hell it's easier to push an established act than to break out a brand new one." so they thought to have the Sups as sort of a disco act on the label. But yes, they then wanted to manage the group in order to keep things going in the right direction. mary said no and then motown was like "fine, whatever, SMH" lol
    unless there was proof, I refuse to believe that there was no effort or promotion because everything to the contrary suggests otherwise. There were ads in fan and trade publications, they were on TV including the tonight show Which was a great gig for them considering they were now C+ list celebrities. There were posters and and Hand bills - I think the record failed because itís too hard to understand the lyrics and basically it was a nice but not extraordinary disco record that would have a hard time finding its way on playlists.

  31. #31
    The Supremes was a business, not an encounter group... the whole 'friends' thing is ridiculous.. If Mary had been the chosen one, you think she would have said , 'no these are my friends'? I don't think so.. welcome to show biz..
    Last edited by Jimi LaLumia; 11-03-2020 at 06:49 PM.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi LaLumia View Post
    The Supremes was a business, not an encounter group... the whole 'friends' thing is ridiculous.. If Mary had been the chosen one, you think she would have said , 'no these are my friends'? I don't think so.. welcome to show biz..
    Exactly Jimi. Showbusiness is a cut throat business. Dog eat dog.
    Berry spotted Diana's potential and very sensibly concentrated his efforts on fulfilling that potential. Had he seen similar star quality in Mary or Flo he would have focused his efforts on them. Do you honestly think Mary or Flo would have hesitated had they been given the opportunity that Diana was given? There is no room for sentiment in showbusiness. It is a ruthless unforgiving business. People fall by the wayside. What happened to Flo was very sad, but showbusiness is littered with tragedies of which this was just one of many. As regards Mary she made a very good living on the back of Diana. Her bestselling first book would never have got beyond the planning stages had it not been for the numerous juicy stories about Diana. It afforded her a lavish lifestyle which she managed to maintain for several years until the money ran out. Even now she attempts to live a champagne lifestyle on lemonade wages. It need not have been this way had she invested some of that money rather than waste it all on high living. She has no-one to blame but herself for the situation she now finds herself in.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    unless there was proof, I refuse to believe that there was no effort or promotion because everything to the contrary suggests otherwise. There were ads in fan and trade publications, they were on TV including the tonight show Which was a great gig for them considering they were now C+ list celebrities. There were posters and and Hand bills - I think the record failed because it’s too hard to understand the lyrics and basically it was a nice but not extraordinary disco record that would have a hard time finding its way on playlists.
    oh i agree that the fan theory that motown simply abandoned the 70s supremes is misleading. The first several albums had considerable promotion behind them and only did lukewarm at best.

    What i'd love to see though is the total marketing budget allotted to the group each year. and how was that money then budgeted out. Sure we can still find today the Billboard ads. But there's much more to it than that. how much was paid for on-air ads? I have a bootleg copy of the radio ad for Sup 75. but just because an ad was recorded doesn't guarantee airplay. you buy that. Also what was done to promote more directly to djs, station managers and program managers? were the girls at as many industry conventions hob knobbing with these guys? were the girls granting as many on-air (or pre taped) interviews?

    And what about the marketing and promotion to record stores? how much was spent on large cardboard displays? window treatments, clings and posters? what was done to court the merchandise buyers for these stores and chains? What was done with store managers to encourage them to have the lps playing in the stores during peak times?

    none of these can be deciphered by the availability of copies of old billboard ads. the only way to truly understand the promotional activity would be to see the budgets. what was spent, where and was that the best use of resources

  34. #34
    [QUOTE=Jimi LaLumia;596488]The Supremes was a business, not an encounter group... the whole 'friends' thing is ridiculous..

    that is my all-time favorite, balls to the wall, absolutely most absolute perfect statement in the history of statementia.

    thank you - I needed that today!

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    Exactly Jimi. Showbusiness is a cut throat business. Dog eat dog.
    Berry spotted Diana's potential and very sensibly concentrated his efforts on fulfilling that potential. Had he seen similar star quality in Mary or Flo he would have focused his efforts on them. Do you honestly think Mary or Flo would have hesitated had they been given the opportunity that Diana was given? There is no room for sentiment in showbusiness. It is a ruthless unforgiving business. People fall by the wayside. What happened to Flo was very sad, but showbusiness is littered with tragedies of which this was just one of many. As regards Mary she made a very good living on the back of Diana. Her bestselling first book would never have got beyond the planning stages had it not been for the numerous juicy stories about Diana. It afforded her a lavish lifestyle which she managed to maintain for several years until the money ran out. Even now she attempts to live a champagne lifestyle on lemonade wages. It need not have been this way had she invested some of that money rather than waste it all on high living. She has no-one to blame but herself for the situation she now finds herself in.
    Another ďmost perfectĒ post

  36. #36
    I agree with Jimi. I also agree that the Supremes would've faded anyway. If Jean was actually the "second coming" of Diana, it probably would've worked. It was hard to fill those shoes (Scherrie had a similar problem once Jean left). Same with anyone filling in for Florence (Cindy, Lynda and Susaye). The public only knows the Supremes as Flo, Diana and Mary and that's how it always was.

  37. #37
    At the risk of being attacked again for having the minority opinion in this forum, I'm going to blaze ahead and let whatever comes, come.


    Business, shmusiness. Business gets personal all the time. If it hadn't, Gordy would've never been screwing Ross, and vice versa. "It's just business" is often an excuse used to treat other people like shit, especially when one person has power over the other, or some kind of upperhand. "It's just business" should never be a reason to kick folks around just because you can. But when a person is seen as nothing more than dollars and cents- as even Diana found out and promptly exited stage right- humanity goes out the window and often all hell breaks loose. Diana did what she needed to do to be successful. Mary did what she needed to do to simply survive. Flo did what she felt she needed to do to maintain an ounce of sanity in a crazy situation. And even Gordy sometimes did what he felt he needed to do because, at the end of the day, he was the owner of a business and he needed his money streams to run smoothly. None of that means their decisions are free from consequences or criticism. But my goodness. I'm amazed at all the things we've heard about the Supremes history being brushed aside because, well, it's just business. Reminds me of a time or two when I've heard "It's just politics", and we see the kinds of fallout from that bullshit. Demand better of our fellow human beings. While there is absolutely nothing any of us can do about the things that went down in the 60s and 70s for this fantastic musical group, expressing a little understanding and compassion even with hindsight can't be too hard for some of us. Or can it?

  38. #38
    Yes I think everyone pretty much agrees with you.

    For a time, they lived a high flying, hugely successful, top of the world life. And after a very few years, where at times they acted badly or drank too much or crapped on each other, one got kicked and then the person attracting the attention left. Then the one who didn't say much soldiered on with a little success for a year or two, then she hooked up with a domineering husband and things collapsed and the solo career never took off - so she did what she had to do to survive.

    Nothing really wrong with any of it.

    But when you get right down to it - Berry and Diana got a lot of money, lots of accolades, lots of glory. And for 40 years, Mary played the background singer or secretary sent to collect somebody's award as she once said - so she has some bitterness and regrets. It's life - hopefully Donald Trump has some too in a few days.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Yes I think everyone pretty much agrees with you.

    For a time, they lived a high flying, hugely successful, top of the world life. And after a very few years, where at times they acted badly or drank too much or crapped on each other, one got kicked and then the person attracting the attention left. Then the one who didn't say much soldiered on with a little success for a year or two, then she hooked up with a domineering husband and things collapsed and the solo career never took off - so she did what she had to do to survive.

    Nothing really wrong with any of it.

    But when you get right down to it - Berry and Diana got a lot of money, lots of accolades, lots of glory. And for 40 years, Mary played the background singer or secretary sent to collect somebody's award as she once said - so she has some bitterness and regrets. It's life - hopefully Donald Trump has some too in a few days.
    A 'near perfect' post until the last sentence. Did you hear ... its ... address to the nation a few minutes ago about the entire election being a fraud?

  40. #40
    when Berry told Mary on that fateful early morning phone call "I wash my hands of the group" he really meant it..Mary was fighting an uphill battle with both Depasse and Roshkind its a credit to Mary's tenacity that she managed to keep the group going to 1977 with lacklustre promotion and energy from Motown executives

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    A 'near perfect' post until the last sentence. Did you hear ... its ... address to the nation a few minutes ago about the entire election being a fraud?
    Exept President Pussy Grabber has zero evidence to back up his fake claims. Hes throwing tantrums on twitter. What a big fat loser!!!!

  42. #42
    well getting back to the subject at hand (yea, President Biden!) regarding the group once Jean lost her taste for the whole thing, it became a matter of "There's no business, like NO BUSINESS, like no business.... I Know!"

  43. #43
    and you all can find a proper 'encounter group' (if they still do such things) via Google!

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    when Berry told Mary on that fateful early morning phone call "I wash my hands of the group" he really meant it..Mary was fighting an uphill battle with both Depasse and Roshkind its a credit to Mary's tenacity that she managed to keep the group going to 1977 with lacklustre promotion and energy from Motown executives
    Yes, Mary had quite a bit of tenacity to continue to keep the group going. I understand it is a business but the genesis was formed through friendship.I started this because I wondered-as a human being-how Mary may have felt. Yes, we all know Diana Ross is special and talented. The other members were special and talented, as well, even if not at that same level. Also, business is personal as personal relationships affect many business decisions. When Berry told Mary he washed his hands of the group, she surely knew she was going to fight an uphill battle. Also, despite what anyone thinks of her-Mary was an integral part of the original group and DRATS. She is beautiful and talented and yes special in her own way. Mary has tremendous inner strength-something Diana Ross even wrote in her book Secrets of a Sparrow. Mary has tenacity and she has succeeded in her own way to share her love of the group she cofounded and her two friends Florence Ballard and Diana Ross. Motown may have felt by the 70's they were "sequined out" and that they didn't care for Mary's vocal talents but Mary's sheer will has allowed her to get over her personal hurt to soldier on. We don't need an encounter group, just wondered how as a human being Mary really felt about what had happened. Mary always felt that Florence and Diana's vocal talents exceeded hers and she worked to have the 70's lineups do much more sharing going forward. Had she been picked and sand Where Did Our Love Go I am sure she would have ran with it but I still feel she would have wanted Florence and Diana to share with the lead vocals as she stated her loyalty was always to the group.

  45. #45
    Also worth noting that 'The Supremes' was Wilson's only $ source so of course she fought to maintain it.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    when Berry told Mary on that fateful early morning phone call "I wash my hands of the group" he really meant it..Mary was fighting an uphill battle with both Depasse and Roshkind its a credit to Mary's tenacity that she managed to keep the group going to 1977 with lacklustre promotion and energy from Motown executives
    Agreed. But I think Mary would've been better served to have exited with Jean and Lynda when they first started discussing it. After Jean left, Mary was basically at a label that didn't care if she was there or not. Even with her first solo album, Mary was recording for a label that really didn't give a shit. Why stay somewhere you're not wanted? Life is too short for that kind of stuff. I wish Mary had the self confidence to give Motown the finger, along with Jean and Lynda, and go somewhere else. No one will ever get me to change my mind that at another label, and even under another name, that these three in the right hands couldn't have been a major recording unit for at least the rest of the 70s.

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi LaLumia View Post
    and you all can find a proper 'encounter group' (if they still do such things) via Google!
    Ah, it's good to see that the pandemic, death and destruction, hasn't dampened your condescension Jimi. I had to look up "encounter group" because I had never heard of it. I still fail to understand what it has to do with the friendships of the original Supremes, who, by the way, were not "business partners" at 13,14,15 years old the way they would be later on. These were kids from around the way who got together to do what they loved to do, not three savvy women who sat down and said "We're entering into a business contract with one another..."

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Agreed. But I think Mary would've been better served to have exited with Jean and Lynda when they first started discussing it. After Jean left, Mary was basically at a label that didn't care if she was there or not. Even with her first solo album, Mary was recording for a label that really didn't give a shit. Why stay somewhere you're not wanted? Life is too short for that kind of stuff. I wish Mary had the self confidence to give Motown the finger, along with Jean and Lynda, and go somewhere else. No one will ever get me to change my mind that at another label, and even under another name, that these three in the right hands couldn't have been a major recording unit for at least the rest of the 70s.
    problem is i think that there was enough bad blood between MJL that going to another label wouldn't have been productive. sure it may have helped get them out from under the weight of the Sup legacy but M and J had conflicts almost from the start. not saying they had throw down fights every day but they had very different ideas and goals and frankly just were not ever going to align.

    Plus as we saw with her A&M record, Jean's very VERY strong personal convictions and attitude really prevented her from going forward in the industry. Jean is a wonderful singer, a decent entertainer and only soso when it comes to the business side of show business.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Also worth noting that 'The Supremes' was Wilson's only $ source so of course she fought to maintain it.
    And she's been short of money a lot of times. You need to hang on to what works and she had to use The Supremes and more so, Diana Ross.

    I wonder what happens to all of these heritage artists as the pandemic wears on. The big names can come back as long as they aren't too old but what happens to artists like Mary Wilson who will be 77 before there is any hope of a return to any semblance of normalcy in the concert business.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    The big names can come back as long as they aren't too old but what happens to artists like Mary Wilson who will be 77 before there is any hope of a return to any semblance of normalcy in the concert business.
    This is key: we won't just flip a switch and everything's back to normal. It will take at least 2-3 years and then people's finances will remain wrecked. All that disposal income before the pandemic will be in short supply. Even this assumes that significant number of people will take the vaccine (95%) to get us back in 2-3 years. Current estimates in the US are that only about 50% will take the vaccine. That is a 20 year recovery period.

    It is very, very sad, but I think this is it for legacy acts.

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