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  1. #1

    Supremes are barely even in the top 10 best selling female groups of alltime

    Look at this list of alleged best selling female groups of all time. The Supremes just barely made the top ten. I know this is just Wikipedia but I've always wondered if the supremes were really the biggest female group of all time. The Pointer Sisters, for instance, had as many top tens as the Supremes and if you add that to the fact that during the 70's/80's (the Pointers' heyday), everyone had stereos and bought records. That was not the case in the 60's so I'd imagine all the groups ahead of the Supremes on this list really did sell more records.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ng_girl_groups

  2. #2
    Take the list with a grain of salt. Remember they’re still going back to figure out how many records the girls have sold.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    Take the list with a grain of salt. Remember they’re still going back to figure out how many records the girls have sold.
    I agree. There's no comparison with the Pointer Sisters and many others.

  4. #4
    Well I don't know one way or the other, but the Supremes' stuff has been continually selling for many many years, whether it be the original records or as part of compilations and soundtracks. I wonder if whomever compiled this list took that into consideration. I doubt the Pointer Sister's stuff continued to sell after release, and I sure as hell doubt the Spice girls' did. I never heard of the Japanese group.

  5. #5
    This list is based on "claimed sales." The Supremes peaked in the 1960s when Motown did their accounting manually and not with sophisticated software. The accountings were horribly inaccurate.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    This list is based on "claimed sales." The Supremes peaked in the 1960s when Motown did their accounting manually and not with sophisticated software. The accountings were horribly inaccurate.
    "inaccurate" is a very generous interpretation!

  7. #7
    there has never been a verified sales figures amount of The Supremes sales in international territories..let alone the U.S. so i doubt we will never be able to have an accurate total

  8. #8
    Well, it IS Wikipedia.

  9. #9
    I also question the validity of this chart simply by pointing out that the Spice Girls only issued 3 lps, the Supremes 29. By sheer volume the Supremes would have easily outsold the Spice Girls unless one is to believe that Motown was stupid enough to just randomly issue product on a group not selling.

  10. #10
    Bayou--Motown issued tons of Supremes product that didn't sell. I don't think this Wikipedia 'chart" is valid, but it raises key points--such as the fact that selling 500,000 copies back in the day was a triumph. By the 70's it was considered a failure.

  11. #11
    The Supremes sold a lot if 45s and the later groups never did that

  12. #12
    Maybe I'm not making any sense but this list is not proving anything. Times, population and other factors all contribute to the amount of sales. It doesn't make the biggest selling girl group the best. Supremes were active in a time when the average household had less money to spend then an average household in the 90's. Also promotion. Noways we have internet, tv (widely available), twitter etc. Girls group in the 60's had to promote by going on the road and do as many tv performances as they could.

    Also if the world population continues to grow some girl group will definitely overshadow the groups on the list now. Does that mean that future groups are better than the groups on this list? No. But who knows what the future will bring. Maybe CD will disappear, which probably will happen I think as most people use free music sources like spotify or whatever there is about.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by TYK1986 View Post
    Maybe I'm not making any sense but this list is not proving anything. Times, population and other factors all contribute to the amount of sales. It doesn't make the biggest selling girl group the best. Supremes were active in a time when the average household had less money to spend then an average household in the 90's. Also promotion. Noways we have internet, tv (widely available), twitter etc. Girls group in the 60's had to promote by going on the road and do as many tv performances as they could.

    Also if the world population continues to grow some girl group will definitely overshadow the groups on the list now. Does that mean that future groups are better than the groups on this list? No. But who knows what the future will bring. Maybe CD will disappear, which probably will happen I think as most people use free music sources like spotify or whatever there is about.
    Well stated and agreed all around.

  14. #14
    Tyk--agreed. It's not fair to compare groups from different eras. We'll probably never know how many records anybody at Motown ever sold. They weren't exactly known for their meticulous record keeping. But I will say that I have long wondered why the Pointer Sisters never got a killer reputation for selling records--they had 20 years of hit records, which is more than I can say for most groups, male or female. They had Slow Hand, Fire, Fairy Tale, Automatic, Jump, Yes We Can Can, He's So Shy and many others. That's a lot of hits! I was really surprised to learn that I'm So Excited didn't even hit the top 20. I thought it was way bigger than that.

  15. #15
    Remember that Motown's accounting/sales records were notoriously shonky & never officially verified/audited.

    Wikipedia has been judged as accurate as most encyclopedias/respected sources, but they can only go off the official information at hand. And yes - most of it can be US data (and that from a few other countries) rather than true world figures.

  16. #16
    Always wondered why so excited by the Pointer sisters only hit number 30 and then number 9 in 1984. I can't really hear the difference in the original and remixed version.

  17. #17
    Interesting. Are you guys saying I'm So Excited was released once, went to #30, and was remixed, hitting #9? I didn't know that! When I think of a Pointer Sisters hit, I think of that one

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Tyk--agreed. It's not fair to compare groups from different eras. We'll probably never know how many records anybody at Motown ever sold. They weren't exactly known for their meticulous record keeping. But I will say that I have long wondered why the Pointer Sisters never got a killer reputation for selling records--they had 20 years of hit records, which is more than I can say for most groups, male or female. They had Slow Hand, Fire, Fairy Tale, Automatic, Jump, Yes We Can Can, He's So Shy and many others. That's a lot of hits! I was really surprised to learn that I'm So Excited didn't even hit the top 20. I thought it was way bigger than that.
    I'M SO EXCITED was released twice. On its first go-round, it made the Top 30. But it was remixed and re-released in the midst of their hits from BREAK OUT and it hit the Top 10. Sadly, after that string of hits, they didn't have any others besides DARE ME in 1985.

    Before that, the Sisters were in the game for quite some time with hits like YES WE CAN CAN and HOW LONG. But I don't think they consistently sold singles until they hooked up with Richard Perry.

    The Pointers ended up having 7 Top 10 pop hits whereas the Supremes had 20.

  19. #19
    Thanks, Reese--that sounds about right. It's weird that what is basically the same song can have two different outcomes. I thought it was a great pop song. I was a huge fan of the Energy and Priority LPS and felt that Lay It On the Line would have been a big hit for them had it been a single

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Thanks, Reese--that sounds about right. It's weird that what is basically the same song can have two different outcomes. I thought it was a great pop song. I was a huge fan of the Energy and Priority LPS and felt that Lay It On the Line would have been a big hit for them had it been a single
    I can still remember the first time I saw the Pointers. They were appearing on Helen Reddy's summer series. I must admit that I wasn't an immediate fan. But my dad bought their first album on 8-track and I really liked it and grew to like them a lot over the years.

    As Ruth is a local resident, every so often I'll see her at various concerts. Many years back, both she and Bette Midler were in attendance at a Patti LaBelle concert and Patti called them on stage to join her on OVER THE RAINBOW. Later, I was leaving another concert and Ruth and her daughter Issa were coming towards me. I tapped Ruth's hand and she said "Hi!" It made my night. :-)

  21. #21
    Hee hee! I love hearing little celeb stories like that. Way back in either 85 or 86, my DJ friend Dave called me and said his station had done a giveaway where lucky fans got free tickets and a free bus ride to Toronto to see Wham! the Pointer Sisters were opening for Wham, and my friend needed me to go as a kind of chaperone/baby sitter. It was mayhem. I don't recall much from that show other than it was in a large arena where you could barely tell who was onstage. The Pointers were in their Jump period which I had zero interest in but what the hell. I wish I could say it was a great show but I honestly don't recall much at all other than having to calm little girls who were going ape chit over Wham!!

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Hee hee! I love hearing little celeb stories like that. Way back in either 85 or 86, my DJ friend Dave called me and said his station had done a giveaway where lucky fans got free tickets and a free bus ride to Toronto to see Wham! the Pointer Sisters were opening for Wham, and my friend needed me to go as a kind of chaperone/baby sitter. It was mayhem. I don't recall much from that show other than it was in a large arena where you could barely tell who was onstage. The Pointers were in their Jump period which I had zero interest in but what the hell. I wish I could say it was a great show but I honestly don't recall much at all other than having to calm little girls who were going ape chit over Wham!!
    I regret that I never saw the Pointers in concert. I saw Bonnie and June much later when they were touring as a duo and it was rather sad.

  23. #23
    Ruth died, didn't she? What about Anita? I am so bad at remembering who have passed on.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Ruth died, didn't she? What about Anita? I am so bad at remembering who have passed on.
    June and Bonnie have passed, the latter just this year. Thankfully, Ruth and Anita are still with us.

  25. #25
    I meant to say June! Sorry! I think Anita has a book out--I might get it

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    I meant to say June! Sorry! I think Anita has a book out--I might get it
    Anita does have a book. It is called FAIRY TALES, I believe. I bought it a while back but haven't gotten around to reading it. Ruth's book is very good.

  27. #27
    I desperately need a new book to read so I'll go get them

  28. #28
    I think you can also take into consideration that for the most part, the Supremes at their height, sold 45's and LP's.

    Later groups, like TLC and Spice Girls, sold 45's, LP's, cassettes, cassette singles, CD's, CD singles, and digital downloads.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Anita does have a book. It is called FAIRY TALES, I believe. I bought it a while back but haven't gotten around to reading it. Ruth's book is very good.
    I agree with Ruth's book. It's very good. It's one of the better biographies I've read.

  30. #30
    I didn't even want to respond to this but it is a dead horse topic. These so called "lists" mean nothing. The Supremes are and will remain the ultimate girl group ever in history. Not just for their incredible music and record breaking positions on the charts but for their contributions to the country and what they represented as three young black women. Their class, dignity, charm, poise and glamor. The historic television appearances. The role models they became to so many people, male and female. This is much more of an accomplishment than three or four gals posing and dressing like pole workers in a bar somewhere. I heard this for years and years now that Bananarama was the top female group.....please! Really??? Not a chance. Same for the rest, there is no comparing anyone to The Supremes. We have not seen such elegance and sophistication since with the exception of the other female Motown acts and such longevity. It was a different time but they more than paved the way for these other copy acts. IMO, of course.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by nathanj06 View Post
    I didn't even want to respond to this but it is a dead horse topic. These so called "lists" mean nothing. The Supremes are and will remain the ultimate girl group ever in history. Not just for their incredible music and record breaking positions on the charts but for their contributions to the country and what they represented as three young black women. Their class, dignity, charm, poise and glamor. The historic television appearances. The role models they became to so many people, male and female. This is much more of an accomplishment than three or four gals posing and dressing like pole workers in a bar somewhere. I heard this for years and years now that Bananarama was the top female group.....please! Really??? Not a chance. Same for the rest, there is no comparing anyone to The Supremes. We have not seen such elegance and sophistication since with the exception of the other female Motown acts and such longevity. It was a different time but they more than paved the way for these other copy acts. IMO, of course.
    I know!! I didn't even want to respond to this either. These lists really are meaningless. Other generations may have their own ideas and choices and may or may not even know of the Supremes. But history will shine most brightly on the Supremes and their achievement and legacy.

  32. #32
    Uhhh this was news to me. Sorry I'm not as learned as you two. This Wikipedia was not about who made the biggest impact, who had the charisma, the lasting power--any of it. It's just about SALES. I was surprised the Supremes were only at 8, that's all and wondered about the Pointer Sisters' placement since nobody ever talks about them as a top selling female group. Sorry my post was beneath you.

  33. #33
    It has always seem to me that the Supremes have been slighted.
    Motown refusing to discuss or release record sales have hurt the legacy of the group.
    We know the truth

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Uhhh this was news to me. Sorry I'm not as learned as you two. This Wikipedia was not about who made the biggest impact, who had the charisma, the lasting power--any of it. It's just about SALES. I was surprised the Supremes were only at 8, that's all and wondered about the Pointer Sisters' placement since nobody ever talks about them as a top selling female group. Sorry my post was beneath you.
    Bobby, Bobby, Bobby, another example of how things can be so easily misconstrued online. It is not beneath anyone. The Supremes are very self explanatory even when you hear the name, Supremes. That says it all. I think the sales end of it is important too but the bigger picture is what they contributed and many of us, me included, acknowledge what they stand for. You did nothing wrong but let's face it, if you bring up "Supremes" anything, you'll get responses you may not want. We all get off track sometimes. Please, no harm intended whatsoever. Peace and Happy New Year!

  35. #35
    Thanks, Nathan, and same back to you

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyC View Post
    Uhhh this was news to me. Sorry I'm not as learned as you two. This Wikipedia was not about who made the biggest impact, who had the charisma, the lasting power--any of it. It's just about SALES. I was surprised the Supremes were only at 8, that's all and wondered about the Pointer Sisters' placement since nobody ever talks about them as a top selling female group. Sorry my post was beneath you.
    Bobby, I want to start this New Year right. I apologize if you misunderstood me. Your thread is not beneath me, above me or sideways. I like and appreciate your posts. We all just give and share our thoughts and opinions here in this wonderful forum. From what I gather, we mostly have been doing so better than other groups (especially Supremes groups, for some reason). Anyway, Happy New Year! It's not only gotta, it's gonna be better!

  37. #37
    Well thank you Lucky and Nathan. I wasn't mad or anything--I was all cocktailed up for New Years and got a little yappy. Anyway, I like it here--I learn a lot but I can only say that it is impossible for a fairly new guy like me to know what's already been discussed ad nauseum. I read all the show biz memoirs and biographies, even those about artists I'm not a fan of, and when I come across something related to Motown in, say, Boy George's book, I tend to bring it here in case people are interested. I guess in my pointy head I expected this thread to turn into a discussion about why some groups like the Pointer Sisters never come up when people talk about top selling female groups, whereas the Supremes always do. It wasn't a knock on the Supremes at all.

  38. #38
    i was happy to see that the Andrews Sisters were finally mentioned as one of the Top Best Selling Groups of all time. They were the equivalent of the Supremes in the forties, sold millions of records, did very well in concerts, were in quite a few movies, and did all the popular radio shows. But they are seldom mentioned on these lists.

    And in the fifties, there were the McGuire Sisters, who also sold millions of records and had eleven top twenty hits in the fifties. Sadly, the last surviving McGuire Sister (lead singer Phyllis McGuire) died this week at age 89.

    Forgive me if I go off topic here a bit and post a video from the McGuire Sisters . I love the way they sing in harmony side by side and then the two girls step back and Phyllis does her lead. I wish The Supremes would have done more of this.


  39. #39
    Very cool--I've heard of them but never actually heard them. Again, it's kind of unfair to compare sales from this era to more recent times, since the population has multiplied many times over and everybody now has the ability to play records.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by milven View Post
    i was happy to see that the Andrews Sisters were finally mentioned as one of the Top Best Selling Groups of all time. They were the equivalent of the Supremes in the forties, sold millions of records, did very well in concerts, were in quite a few movies, and did all the popular radio shows. But they are seldom mentioned on these lists.

    And in the fifties, there were the McGuire Sisters, who also sold millions of records and had eleven top twenty hits in the fifties. Sadly, the last surviving McGuire Sister (lead singer Phyllis McGuire) died this week at age 89.

    Forgive me if I go off topic here a bit and post a video from the McGuire Sisters . I love the way they sing in harmony side by side and then the two girls step back and Phyllis does her lead. I wish The Supremes would have done more of this.


    RIP Phyllis McGuire

    (this article also provides an amazing tour of Phyllis' Vegas home):

    https://lasvegassun.com/news/2020/dec/30/phyllis-mcguire-mcguire-sisters-las-vegas-dies/











    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-01-2021 at 05:05 PM.

  41. #41
    The McGuire Sisters only came to my attention when watching the film 'Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean'.

    It was the first time I'd heard their big hit 'Sincerely' and only later found out it was a cover of a Moonglows song, written by Harvey Fuqua (Motown connection right there).

    Was interested to read later of Phyllis' involvement with some shady types including mobsters.

  42. #42
    I was around when the McGuire Sisters "Sincerely" and "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight" came out. At the time, I had no idea that they were cover records of what were then called "race records'

    it was not until years later that I discovered the original records of Sincerly, Goodnight Sweetheart, and many other songs from many other pop artists at the time like Pat Boone, Georgia Gibbs, Crew Cuts were cover records.

    I wound up liking both the original and cover versions of the songs - except for Pat Boone. I cringe now when I hear his cover version of Little Richard's Tutti Frutti, especially when he phonetically sings A whop bop-a-lu a whop bam boo

  43. #43

  44. #44
    Very nice. I never saw this. IF you combine this clip with the clip of the Andrews Sisters and Supremes on Sammy Davis Jr., we could see the top female groups of the '40's. '50's,'60's and '70's all at once. And I love all four of these groups.

  45. #45
    there are so many factors to take into account here

    As Bayou and others have pointed out, Motown didn't release sales data back in the 60s. so there's huge speculation around what they actually sold.

    also you can't simply directly compare 1966 to 2021. the census data shows less than 200M people in the US in 66. we're supposedly at 330M today. not to mention global growth figures.

    in the 60's it was quite something for an act to tour internationally. that would mostly have been in Europe. it was truly extraordinary to tour Asia, South America or other locations. Today, that's not a challenge whatsoever. So the access to a global market is drastically different

    you also need to consider personal spending capabilities. In the 60s, teenagers didn't have access to the amount of disposable cash that they do today. Not saying everyone was poor back then but consumerism has changed SO much in recent decades. the cost of an lp back then was a larger piece of their ready cash than it is today. That's part of why Berry used that Q&A check of "if you had $1 would you buy a sandwich or this record" in his meetings.

    So success needs to take into account all of these and should look at how an act monopolized the collective conscience of the general public and how that resulted in ticket sales, interviews, tv appearances, records, air time, etc. What % of the overall material being pushed to listeners and consumers did an act take up for themselves?

    if you do that, you'll quickly realize that most of these acts pale when compared to the Supremes

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