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  1. #1

    What if Cindy had refused?

    we've talked about a LOT of topics here. many of them repeatedly lol

    but i can't say that I remember discussing "what if Cindy Birdsong declined the offer from motown to join DRATS?"

    in early 67 motown was definitely looking to replace Flo but all of the stories pretty quickly just talk about Cindy stepping in. Prior to that winter, Maxine had subbed for Flo but had said she was not interested in the role full time. Barbara Randolph had been a consideration, briefly in 66. But Diana really didn't go for that one

    so who else would have been a candidate? Do you think Tammi Terrell might have been a possibility? Syreeta was doing some secretary work around motown then. Or what about Carolyn Crawford or Brenda Holloway?

  2. #2
    I think you meant Marlene [[Barrow) when you wrote "Maxine." It is an interesting idea and who knows if we'll ever really find out the truth about who might have been considered. I believe Norma Barbee [[formerly of The Velvelettes by 1967) has said she auditioned to replace Flo, but was rejected.

    I tend to reject the idea of someone like Tammi Terrell or Brenda Holloway coming in to The Supremes to replace someone who, by Spring 1967, was considered a background figure for Diana Ross. Not that either would have likely been seriously considered in Fall 1969, but I would have more seen either of those two ladies replacing Diana as lead singer in The Supremes. As for Carolyn Crawford, her seeming [[or actual) lack of presence at Motown beyond 1964 seems to suggest to me that she wouldn't have been on the minds of Motown management then to replace someone in their top group.

    I suspect that when Motown approached Cindy, they knew from Berry and Diana that she was a sweet, friendly, non-aggressive woman [[The Supremes having interacted with her in the past as a Bluebelle while all were working the package show circuit) and they likely thought, "well OF COURSE Cindy will say yes to being in The Supremes! Who wouldn't?!" Now, had Cindy said, "thank you, but no thank you," I think Motown/Berry would have either continued trying to find someone to fill the position in the group, but, if they didn't, Diana would've started her solo career in 1967, Motown would have unceremoniously dumped Mary Wilson, and that would've been that. The bottom line for them, myopically [[IMO), was always Diana.

    This will sound superficial and a bit cruel, but I think they would've wanted someone who was visually attractive, who already fit the "look" and style of the group, and who didn't need a lot of work [[dental, weight loss, etc.) to just be dropped in to the group. THAT is where I think the idea of "Cindy looked so much like Florence!" came to be and got blown out of proportion. Yes, Cindy may have favored Florence slightly if you squinted or at a certain angle [[I'm trying to say that I don't think they looked alike ), but she was pretty, well-spoken [[when allowed to speak LOL--j/k), and could sing. I think they saw Cindy as the easiest option and hadn't thought too far beyond her. Someone like secretary Rita Wright [[Syreeta) needed dental work at the time. She MIGHT, without having yet had any training, have been a bit awkward. I just don't see Syreeta as a possibility for The Supremes until maybe 1969--and then as a potential replacement for Diana. As for Norma Barbee, I would bet she was rejected not for lack of talent, but possibility because: 1) she had children by then and Motown may have been concerned about that mixing with the group's extensive touring, and 2) MAYBE Diana would have vetoed having any of the Velvelettes in "her" group after their 1964 rivalry. [[Where is John Lester when you need him to do some investigating? LOL)

    To wrap up, IF Motown decided to continue the group IF Cindy had passed on joining, I think they might have put feelers out in New York and Los Angeles for others to audition [[presuming they just didn't find anyone right in Detroit), and if THAT didn't work, well...I already said what I thought could've/would've happened at that juncture.

  3. #3
    Yeah. I'm going to agree with you Dan, I think the Supremes would have ended had Cindy rejected the offer and Diana would have went solo.

  4. #4
    I do agree for the most part except Brenda was already established so she wouldn’t have done it.

  5. #5
    Cindy was wonderful as a Supreme. She did look somewhat like Florence but then in some ways Lynda looked somewhat like Cindy when she replaced her for 18 months. I can't speculate on whether or not the Supremes would have gone on had she said no or if they would have continued to deal with Florence until they found someone else. I don't think anyone who was recorded solo would have become a group member regardless of how big the Supremes were. Motown did great with Cindy, visually she blended so well with Mary and she had beauty and glamour.

  6. #6
    Nice post danman !

    Probably most importantly , Motown didn't want the general public tuning into the Supremes singing on TV and asking, "Who's that? next to the other usual one?"
    She played it just right , bland and unobtrusive, quietly in the background likely as instructed. Diana Ross wasn't out to break new co-"stars". [[ Was Cindy ever identified on stage as "our new Supreme?")

    Also being a Supreme meant lots of discipline , traveling , scheduling , adjusting to various stages and audiences , Cindy had already licked her chops.

    If I were Cindy I would've jumped at the opportunity in a heartbeat. Who could've predicted the [[ only slightly successful) Bluebelles would stick it out... four women on the road , not even kin /sisters , highly unlikely.



    Ha , I've nowhere near addressed the original question! Cindy seems such a perfect resolution....
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-29-2021 at 03:45 PM.

  7. #7
    I personally love that Cindy joined and still wish she was on more songs, even if only on album fillers or B-sides. I think if Cindy refused they would have had to look very quickly for another replacement. They were lucky that Cindy was easy to say YES. But I think that Florence would have stayed, maybe, a little longer till that replacement was found if Cindy said no.

    I don't know the full extend of their work load, but I'm sure it was heavy, but maybe Florence needed to do something on the side, like a small solo project while still being a member of the Supremes. If it failed than at least she would still have the security of being member of the Supremes. But because she left the Supremes and her solo career was a flop, my opinion, she had nothing to go back to.

  8. #8
    Dan! what a great response!! i pretty much agree with everything you said. makes perfect sense

    Yeah i was sort of struggling to find another in-house female BG singer to drop in for Flo. What about Sandra Tilley? she wouldn't have been in the V's just yet. ann bogan perhaps - that's a long shot though. she wouldn't be in the Marvelettes yet either.

    now let's make another assumption - let's say we're in the Feb/March 1967 period. so prior to Hollywood Bowl and prior to Flo being drunk in Vegas and kicked out.

    Could motown have stepped up some of the Diana solo appearances on tv in 67? like they did in 69? maybe keep some of the bigger shows and appearances as a group [[with flo) but do some smaller shows and tv spots with just diana? so the group work would drop in half or so, which might allow Flo to rest.

  9. #9
    "Cindy was part of the group..but really not part of the group..she was never made an official Supreme even thou she was...we were all waiting for Blondie,Florence to come back.." [[Diana on Oprah 1993)

  10. #10
    I always thought that answer was full of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    "Cindy was part of the group..but really not part of the group..she was never made an official Supreme even thou she was...we were all waiting for Blondie,Florence to come back.." [[Diana on Oprah 1993)

  11. #11
    Cindy was a perfect replacement....they weren't looking for a lead singer, or someone with lead singer capabilities or aspirations...they were looking for someone who would be a background singer for Diana Ross, and be able to blend well vocally with Mary, and be easy on the eyes...Cindy had it all. I became a fan around the time of TCB/ Love Child, so Cindy is my go to Supreme as a partner with Mary...in every lead singers era. Was glad to see her return, and very sorry to see her once again depart...she just belonged there to me....she added a endearing, content, softness that wasn't there without her.

  12. #12
    Cindy was a perfect replacement....they weren't looking for a lead singer, or someone with lead singer capabilities or aspirations...they were looking for someone who would be a background singer for Diana Ross, and be able to blend well vocally with Mary, and be easy on the eyes...Cindy had it all. I became a fan around the time of TCB/ Love Child, so Cindy is my go to Supreme as a partner with Mary...in every lead singers era. Was glad to see her return, and very sorry to see her once again depart...she just belonged there to me....she added a endearing, content, softness that wasn't there without her.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    I always thought that answer was full of it.
    I would have to agree with you on that. Publicly, Diana Ross had studied how to speak to the press from Gordy and Motown but she comes off very insincere in comments like that. She knew very well after the meetings they had and how Florence's dismissal went that there was no way she was ever going to be coming back to the Supremes. In her book, which was not very telling in its own way, she said that she was thought to be coming in as a filler for a while and then she would return to her former group. None of them had expected her to stay , that when she first joined she seemed very intimidated and sang very quietly. That she did stay for 3 years until Ross left and that she remembered her as a sweet, pleasant girl anxious to please. So, do you really think after Flo was dismissed that Diana, Berry and Motown felt Cindy was just temporary and that Florence would be coming back after everything that went down? I find that hard to believe realistically but then again Mary said in her book she even entertained the thought of Florence rejoining in the 1970's but dismissed that because Motown would never have gone for it. Do you think even after all of the internal problems that both Diana and Mary really did wish they could still be working with Florence as they had started the group together? Plus, Cindy was very loyal to Mary as she came back in 1973 when she needed her and once again after the group disbanded when Mary toured South America after the Farewell show. It seems that in the three years together that Diana and Cindy were friendly enough but certainly not extremely close as you would expect after working together for those years.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post

    Could motown have stepped up some of the Diana solo appearances on tv in 67? like they did in 69? maybe keep some of the bigger shows and appearances as a group [[with flo) but do some smaller shows and tv spots with just diana? so the group work would drop in half or so, which might allow Flo to rest.
    Nope. Diana needed the full DRATS treatment in order to make the transition from group lead to solo artist. IMO, in 1967 she still didn't have the complete skills to be who she would eventually be in 1970. And while Flo was still in the group, the Supremes were still largely considered a classic trio and the optics of her doing solo stuff at this point may have backfired since each Supreme was a star in her own right. It's an interesting scenario to ponder, as it does allow Flo that rest time to get herself together. I just don't think it was a viable option.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    I always thought that answer was full of it.
    I don't think there's any question that when Flo was fired in Vegas there was no chance she would ever be a performing Supreme again. However, one could argue that Diana's statement is accurate regarding Flo's firing that April. The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that the first firing was to teach Florence a lesson. Even the set up: Gordy calls all of them to his home for a meeting where he talks about all these upcoming plans and then tells Florence she, however, won't be a part of any of it because she's out. It just doesn't seem very characteristic of him where Flo is concerned. Seems like to me if she messed up so bad in New Orleans that she had to be sent home and Diana and Mary did the show as a duo, he would've told Flo then to go kick rocks, not invite her to a meeting at his house where there could be a potential crime scene.

    Where the Supremes were concerned, Gordy planned their every move down to the minute. The story is that Flo was brought back because Cindy needed to be bought out of her contract. But Gordy would've done that before bringing Cindy on board as a full time Supreme. He was no dummy. He knew Cindy was under contract to Atlantic. No way would he have jeopardized the replacement situation by bringing on a permanent replacement for Flo that he wouldn't be sure he could legally contract Cindy long term.

    While I never seem to miss an opportunity to call out Gordy's horrible mistreatment of Florence, I have also gone on record several times as saying I don't believe he really wanted her gone. He knew what she brought to the group and he knew she was beloved by the public. Any potential rocking of the Supreme ship could bring it down and Gordy usually didn't want to risk that. Replacing Flo was a risk, but if he didn't have to do it, he wouldn't do it. So I think the New Orleans situation scared him so that he hoped firing Flo would frighten her to get it together. In the mean time, securing Cindy as a backup plan became a priority...just in case, but he, and Diana, and Mary, probably hoped they wouldn't need it. But as we know the contingency plan eventually became necessary and the rest is history.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jim aka jtigre99 View Post
    Do you think even after all of the internal problems that both Diana and Mary really did wish they could still be working with Florence as they had started the group together?

    It seems that in the three years together that Diana and Cindy were friendly enough but certainly not extremely close as you would expect after working together for those years.
    I do think both Diana and Mary would've preferred singing with Flo over anyone else because collectively they had something unique. They had a lot of years [[especially considering their young ages) of getting to know each other's voices and perfecting a blend, a feeling. Plus at a certain point they all became like family. But that last year of Flo in the group was mentally draining. No, Flo was not the only one to blame in that mix, but she was the ingredient that was the loudest and the most unpredictable. So Cindy, with her laidback attitude, was undoubtedly a welcomed addition. Plus after DRATS had been underway for some time, I'm sure Diana got very used to being the official singled out star of the group with her name in front and everything really all about her. Adding Flo back into that probably wouldn't have been so welcomed. But at first, I can imagine there was still some desire to have the original crew intact.

    As for Diana and Cindy, I think they had a fondness for one another, considering that when Cindy fell on some hard times, she went to Diana who then helped her out. But I would've never expected their relationship to be like Diana and Florence's. Diana and Flo had known each other since they were 13/14. They did each other's hair, slept at each other's homes, ate at each other's homes, Diana sang at Flo's father's funeral. There was a lot of history between them that created a forever bond, even when they weren't always on speaking terms. When Cindy came into the group, Diana was basically a soloist in need of backing vocalists to stand along side her and make it look like it's still the Supremes. Diana was no longer a teenage girl doing girly stuff. She had her mind on a goal and when not concentrating on that, she was embroiled in a love affair with Gordy that wasn't always satisfying or healthy. There was no time to do with Cindy the kind of bonding Diana did with Flo. They were on the same stage but didn't have the same history or relationship.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I do think both Diana and Mary would've preferred singing with Flo over anyone else because collectively they had something unique. They had a lot of years [[especially considering their young ages) of getting to know each other's voices and perfecting a blend, a feeling. Plus at a certain point they all became like family. But that last year of Flo in the group was mentally draining. No, Flo was not the only one to blame in that mix, but she was the ingredient that was the loudest and the most unpredictable. So Cindy, with her laidback attitude, was undoubtedly a welcomed addition. Plus after DRATS had been underway for some time, I'm sure Diana got very used to being the official singled out star of the group with her name in front and everything really all about her. Adding Flo back into that probably wouldn't have been so welcomed. But at first, I can imagine there was still some desire to have the original crew intact.

    As for Diana and Cindy, I think they had a fondness for one another, considering that when Cindy fell on some hard times, she went to Diana who then helped her out. But I would've never expected their relationship to be like Diana and Florence's. Diana and Flo had known each other since they were 13/14. They did each other's hair, slept at each other's homes, ate at each other's homes, Diana sang at Flo's father's funeral. There was a lot of history between them that created a forever bond, even when they weren't always on speaking terms. When Cindy came into the group, Diana was basically a soloist in need of backing vocalists to stand along side her and make it look like it's still the Supremes. Diana was no longer a teenage girl doing girly stuff. She had her mind on a goal and when not concentrating on that, she was embroiled in a love affair with Gordy that wasn't always satisfying or healthy. There was no time to do with Cindy the kind of bonding Diana did with Flo. They were on the same stage but didn't have the same history or relationship.
    love this wonderful post - sums up the situation beautifully

  18. #18
    Ive felt for a long time Flos days were numbered once she threw a drink over Gordy at 21 Grand..it was just a matter of time..Gordy has a thing about women humilating him especially at a place like the Grand

  19. #19
    Was Motown REALLY willing to set Diana's ship to sail in 1967? Was she ready for a solo career? Would she have made it?

    The 1967 Diana pales in comparison to the 1969 Diana. Visually, vocally. When she left the group in 1970, Motown had the better part of a year for that set up. I don't there there was any way Berry would gamble and just thrust her out there without proper preparation.

  20. #20
    They were just very lucky to have crossed paths with Cindy. Otherwise there would have been a much harder search. Still, someone would have been slotted in sooner than later. Diane didn’t have the widespread name recognition yet, and certainly wasn’t ready for a solo career at that point, either. It was good for Cindy as well. The Bluebelles were heading in a different direction — especially after Vicki took over, but even before that. Cindy would have had difficulty adapting herself to that new image.

  21. #21
    The trouble with HDH most likely cemented DR staying in the group. The magical formula that worked wonders was not going to happen....how would DR and the group do with other songwriters? Suppose on going success wasn't there?
    Florence, on the other hand, was too angry, dysfunctional and bitter to go along with Gordy's plan....the liability of keeping her as a Supreme was too great to allow her to continue. Jeopardizing the groups image would risk B..G's calculated and long term plan for making Diana Ross a superstar.
    Must have been very nerve wracking for Berry to have both of these VERY major problems at the same time...gotta give him credit....He didn't falter and made her a SUPERSTAR

  22. #22
    a picture can say a thousand words and one of the most powerful is Cindy and Flo pictured together circa 1974 some mountain valley gig ? [[help me sup lovers) that would be such a moment that only they could both relate such a powerful pic

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    a picture can say a thousand words and one of the most powerful is Cindy and Flo pictured together circa 1974 some mountain valley gig ? [[help me sup lovers) that would be such a moment that only they could both relate such a powerful pic
    Magic Mountain?

  24. #24
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    Majic Mountain amusement park 1974 ?
    I think this may have been when Florence visited Mary in Calif.

  25. #25
    thats the one sansradio Mary writes in her 2nd book that all the fans would turn up to their gigs there Florence joined them on stage but didnt sing she played tambourine then she sadly smashed up her hotel room later on so sad Mary claims she had no idea what made Flo spiral out of control and yet only what 10 hours before she looks so happy with Cindy thats why the photo means so much to me it captured her radiant in so many yrs of torment that poor lady went thru

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    thats the one sansradio Mary writes in her 2nd book that all the fans would turn up to their gigs there Florence joined them on stage but didnt sing she played tambourine then she sadly smashed up her hotel room later on so sad Mary claims she had no idea what made Flo spiral out of control and yet only what 10 hours before she looks so happy with Cindy thats why the photo means so much to me it captured her radiant in so many yrs of torment that poor lady went thru
    I'm not saying Flo getting drunk and trashing the hotel room was acceptable but I imagine being on stage with the Supremes brought up a lot of emotions for her. Here she is with the group she hadn't been welcomed in for years, with her friend her betrayed her and the woman who took her place in the group. It must have been painful for her that night. Mary probably had the best intentions but I do think from a psychological standpoint it was a mistake to put Flo in that situation.

  27. #27
    Mary says she recieved a huge expression of love from the crowd at various moments Mary brought up Flo singing..she told Mary she couldnt she was too defeated she didnt blame Diana or Mary Flo held Gordy accountable but no one is to blame for her rape by a well known respected athlete ive survived rape myself i understand how addiction mental health and lack of counnselling clouds all thats wonderful around you i thank the lord ive never had a relationship with domestic violence Diana Mary and Berry didnt beat and rape that woman

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    Mary says she recieved a huge expression of love from the crowd at various moments Mary brought up Flo singing..she told Mary she couldnt she was too defeated she didnt blame Diana or Mary Flo held Gordy accountable but no one is to blame for her rape by a well known respected athlete ive survived rape myself i understand how addiction mental health and lack of counnselling clouds all thats wonderful around you i thank the lord ive never had a relationship with domestic violence Diana Mary and Berry didnt beat and rape that woman
    Nomis I've dealt with alcohol abuse and deep depression after my first long term relationship ended after 12 years. It was bad. I can relate to Flo when she said she felt defeated. I know what that feels like. I got help for my problems and I so wish Flo did sooner than she did. But as we know times were different back then. I think thats why I hold such a special place in my heart for Flo because I can relate to a lot of what she went through in a way.

  29. #29
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    It was Mary's way of trying to help Flo. She thought if Flo got back on stage and felt the love and excitement of the crowd that things would snap her out of it. Flo had been away from the "crowd" for about seven years now. She has said several times she never blamed Diana or Mary but we as fans want to blame them. So, back to the original question that if Cindy had said no, Berry would have found someone to replace Flo long enough for DIANA to get her wings. I thought once that Claudette Robinson would be brought in or Sandra Tilley or even Freda Payne.

  30. #30
    FloyJoy think of the 12 yrs of love you gave we cannot truly appreciate happiness without knowing sadness ive used alcohol to numb the pain i got sober i used music for my therapy Diana Ross The Supremes and marvin gaye [[I want you lp and whats goin on) always gets me thru my darkness the human mind has incredible ways of dealing in violence and abuse i only remembered a couple months ago an incredible moment when my attacker went too far in public i had blocked it out and now i remember this very very scary situation now im stronger and well enough to deal with that animal.. 17 yrs until my brain said "ok you can deal with this now".. listening to Force Behind the Power, All The befores or He lives in You speaks to my soul gives me hope clarity and renewed faith thank you for giving me strength..xx

  31. #31
    Also just another thought was maybe if Mary had told Flo they were going to bring her on stage she would had been prepared to sing.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    Also just another thought was maybe if Mary had told Flo they were going to bring her on stage she would had been prepared to sing.
    Great point, though I believe she would've thumbs down that suggestion. If memory serves me, when Flo was first approached about doing the benefit concert in 75, she declined before accepting the request. She hadn't been onstage in quite a few years by 74 and 75 so I can imagine there was some trepidation about getting out there. Of course Mary suggesting Flo sing along to "Love Train" is a bit different than Flo doing a solo performance. From the photo of Flo with the girls it looks like she is singing along, just not with a mic.

  33. #33
    she told Mary several times in the last yrs to give up on her that she would never sing again..she didnt own any Supremes records and couldnt even listen to them so sad wrong and unfair

  34. #34
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    That is not surprising. Flo went from riches to rags due to her own making. Who would want to be reminded of that?

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    That is not surprising. Flo went from riches to rags due to her own making. Who would want to be reminded of that?
    and actually Flo had been away from the Supremes longer than she had been in the supremes. And frankly the 7+ Sup years could be divided into two parts - the early years when they were nobodies and unaffected, then the couple of years of hits and fame

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    she told Mary several times in the last yrs to give up on her that she would never sing again..she didnt own any Supremes records and couldnt even listen to them so sad wrong and unfair
    I doubt Flo ever said "give up" on her, even if that's the way Mary interpreted it. Going off memory, I think Mary says that she tried to get Flo to get it together and Flo basically told her to lay off. That's typical behavior of people afflicted with depression and with substance abuse issues. They don't want to be confronted with their behavior and they don't want to be hit over the head with "you gotta do better". It's easy for outsiders to look at it and think "She doesn't want to do/be better", but to the afflicted person desire isn't the issue, overcoming what has them down in the first place is the issue. That's why it's so important for people to seek mental health help. In the 70s this was not the "in" thing, but sadly there are still more people who refuse to seek help for mental issues than not today. And in the US it's not always easy to get the help even when people want it. To Flo's credit she did eventually seek help and I think some of that was why she started getting her life together before her death. What might the story be had she sought out this help even earlier?

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    and actually Flo had been away from the Supremes longer than she had been in the supremes. And frankly the 7+ Sup years could be divided into two parts - the early years when they were nobodies and unaffected, then the couple of years of hits and fame
    While the Supremes were renamed that in Jan 1961, the group itself started about two years before, which means Flo was in the group for about eight years, about the same amount of time she was away from the group. It was a big chunk of her young life.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    To Flo's credit she did eventually seek help and I think some of that was why she started getting her life together before her death. What might the story be had she sought out this help even earlier?
    She did and eventually she was able to start listening to the Supremes songs again. There's a recorded interview of her saying when she hears them on the radio, she turns it up instead of off. That sounds like she really was headed in the right direction.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I doubt Flo ever said "give up" on her, even if that's the way Mary interpreted it. Going off memory, I think Mary says that she tried to get Flo to get it together and Flo basically told her to lay off. That's typical behavior of people afflicted with depression and with substance abuse issues. They don't want to be confronted with their behavior and they don't want to be hit over the head with "you gotta do better". It's easy for outsiders to look at it and think "She doesn't want to do/be better", but to the afflicted person desire isn't the issue, overcoming what has them down in the first place is the issue. That's why it's so important for people to seek mental health help. In the 70s this was not the "in" thing, but sadly there are still more people who refuse to seek help for mental issues than not today. And in the US it's not always easy to get the help even when people want it. To Flo's credit she did eventually seek help and I think some of that was why she started getting her life together before her death. What might the story be had she sought out this help even earlier?
    i think it was more her actions and attitude that told Mary that versus a verbatim quote. If i remember the passage in the book, mary says something about having connected with both F and D in a relatively short period of time. D seemed to say she was too busy with her own life and fame, while F had basically all but told her to give up on her

  40. #40
    had an interesting thought

    both Flo and Jean were talented singers. But i wonder if they were entertainers? Both certainly shined at times on stage. But they also had elements of themselves that seemed to show a disinterest in show business. there's much MUCH more to it than simply singing. Success isn't necessarily commensurate with talent or ability.

    so the question is was show business really the right field for them? There are certainly many other outlets for singers.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i think it was more her actions and attitude that told Mary that versus a verbatim quote. If i remember the passage in the book, mary says something about having connected with both F and D in a relatively short period of time. D seemed to say she was too busy with her own life and fame, while F had basically all but told her to give up on her
    Right, that's why I said Mary interpreted. It's easy to come to that conclusion in that situation. Mary was not a trained mental health specialist, so she could only approach Flo from a friend's perspective. That's not what Florence needed at the time. She needed actual help because her depression and alcoholism had interfered with her way of life.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    had an interesting thought

    both Flo and Jean were talented singers. But i wonder if they were entertainers? Both certainly shined at times on stage. But they also had elements of themselves that seemed to show a disinterest in show business. there's much MUCH more to it than simply singing. Success isn't necessarily commensurate with talent or ability.

    so the question is was show business really the right field for them? There are certainly many other outlets for singers.
    One can be both an entertainer and be annoyed by business shenanigans at the same time. Flo's life is much more documented than Jean's, so I'll focus mostly on Flo because we have the most reference. If you read the accounts of Flo prior to her troubles, there's nothing there to suggest that Flo didn't love the stage and the act of entertaining. Flo was as much into this thing as the other two until things got screwy toward the middle of 1966. And remember, this wasn't a situation where Flo woke up one morning and decided "enough with this shit". There were definitely extenuating circumstances. The music business is the music business, but not everyone in the business ran their business the same. Somewhere else, under someone else's hand, the Supremes may have never had the deep issues they eventually ended up with. Gordy's way was not the be all end all of the business, it was just one man's way. A lot of Flo's bite was directed at Berry. He was not the easiest man to work for. I think we've all had the experience of working for different kinds of people who's approach is different from one another, and thus elicits a different work vibe. I know I've definitely had some bosses who weren't the nicest and it didn't cause me to be the most productive, vs bosses who were encouraging and supportive, and it showed in what I brought as a result. The former diminished my progress, it did not kill my love for what I do. I imagine Flo may have felt the same.

    Back then I don't believe anybody got into the music business for the business side of things, aside from the folks aspiring to exec levels or label owners. Sure, everyone wanted to be rich, but as you point out there's much more to it than simply singing. Some people get involved and find that they just can't stomach it, whatever the reason. Others end up having a horrible experience. And still some manage to swallow the bullshit and do whatever to get to where they think they wanna go. Diana was in that last category. She was willing to do whatever until she felt she was in a place where she didn't have to do whatever anymore. Flo had a horrible experience, even though she accomplished what most folks who get into the business never accomplish. That has to take a toll. But I don't think it should ever be interpreted as not wanting to entertain. There's really no evidence of that where Flo is concerned.

    I suspect Jean also loved entertaining. Gordy didn't find her because she was mopping floors around Motown Corp and singing at the same time. She was already a performer, and I assume she was doing it because she wanted to do it. Like I said before, Jean's life isn't as documented as Flo's so there isn't a lot to go on. She's still alive and it would be great if Jean offered up some real honest info about her career. After the Supremes, and Prior to the FLOS, Jean attempted go's in the industry at least three or four times. What compelled her to do it is anyone's guess. What interrupted the opportunities is also anyone's guess. We'll really never know the truth until Jean opens up.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post

    so the question is was show business really the right field for them? There are certainly many other outlets for singers.
    I want to add here that it's entirely possible that had neither Flo nor Jean got involved in the Supremes that they would have been happy singing in church choirs or teaching music or any other avenue open to vocalists, just as I think Mary would've been happy as a writer or Diana as a cosmetologist or fashion designer. None of us only have one road marked with "happy" at the end of it.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    One can be both an entertainer and be annoyed by business shenanigans at the same time. Flo's life is much more documented than Jean's, so I'll focus mostly on Flo because we have the most reference. If you read the accounts of Flo prior to her troubles, there's nothing there to suggest that Flo didn't love the stage and the act of entertaining. Flo was as much into this thing as the other two until things got screwy toward the middle of 1966. And remember, this wasn't a situation where Flo woke up one morning and decided "enough with this shit". There were definitely extenuating circumstances. The music business is the music business, but not everyone in the business ran their business the same. Somewhere else, under someone else's hand, the Supremes may have never had the deep issues they eventually ended up with. Gordy's way was not the be all end all of the business, it was just one man's way. A lot of Flo's bite was directed at Berry. He was not the easiest man to work for. I think we've all had the experience of working for different kinds of people who's approach is different from one another, and thus elicits a different work vibe. I know I've definitely had some bosses who weren't the nicest and it didn't cause me to be the most productive, vs bosses who were encouraging and supportive, and it showed in what I brought as a result. The former diminished my progress, it did not kill my love for what I do. I imagine Flo may have felt the same.

    Back then I don't believe anybody got into the music business for the business side of things, aside from the folks aspiring to exec levels or label owners. Sure, everyone wanted to be rich, but as you point out there's much more to it than simply singing. Some people get involved and find that they just can't stomach it, whatever the reason. Others end up having a horrible experience. And still some manage to swallow the bullshit and do whatever to get to where they think they wanna go. Diana was in that last category. She was willing to do whatever until she felt she was in a place where she didn't have to do whatever anymore. Flo had a horrible experience, even though she accomplished what most folks who get into the business never accomplish. That has to take a toll. But I don't think it should ever be interpreted as not wanting to entertain. There's really no evidence of that where Flo is concerned.

    I suspect Jean also loved entertaining. Gordy didn't find her because she was mopping floors around Motown Corp and singing at the same time. She was already a performer, and I assume she was doing it because she wanted to do it. Like I said before, Jean's life isn't as documented as Flo's so there isn't a lot to go on. She's still alive and it would be great if Jean offered up some real honest info about her career. After the Supremes, and Prior to the FLOS, Jean attempted go's in the industry at least three or four times. What compelled her to do it is anyone's guess. What interrupted the opportunities is also anyone's guess. We'll really never know the truth until Jean opens up.
    So thoughtful, thought-out and well-reasoned, RanRan. As per usual and expected. A long time ago, way before the internet, I foolishly thought I was the biggest Supreme and Diana Ross fan. I had no idea! I've had feelings and thoughts expressed in this forum much more clearly and articulately then I ever would or could.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    So thoughtful, thought-out and well-reasoned, RanRan. As per usual and expected. A long time ago, way before the internet, I foolishly thought I was the biggest Supreme and Diana Ross fan. I had no idea! I've had feelings and thoughts expressed in this forum much more clearly and articulately then I ever would or could.
    Thanks for the kind words Lucky. But I know the feeling. Sometimes I read things around here and wish I could've said it as well as the commenter. Sometimes I feel like I'm not accurately getting my point across.

    Anyway, leave it to Sup fan to get me going.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    we've talked about a LOT of topics here. many of them repeatedly lol

    but i can't say that I remember discussing "what if Cindy Birdsong declined the offer from motown to join DRATS?"

    in early 67 motown was definitely looking to replace Flo but all of the stories pretty quickly just talk about Cindy stepping in. Prior to that winter, Maxine had subbed for Flo but had said she was not interested in the role full time. Barbara Randolph had been a consideration, briefly in 66. But Diana really didn't go for that one

    so who else would have been a candidate? Do you think Tammi Terrell might have been a possibility? Syreeta was doing some secretary work around motown then. Or what about Carolyn Crawford or Brenda Holloway?
    Good Question; I say if Cindy Birdsong had turned down the offer to join The Supremes, they would've asked Syreeta Wright [[and then Brenda Holloway if Syreeta didn't work out). I don't think that Motown would've considered Tammi Terrell for The Supremes since she started doing duets with Marvin Gaye at that time [[and Carolyn Crawford had long since left the company by 1967).
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 02-08-2021 at 03:03 PM. Reason: correction

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    had an interesting thought

    both Flo and Jean were talented singers. But i wonder if they were entertainers? Both certainly shined at times on stage. But they also had elements of themselves that seemed to show a disinterest in show business. there's much MUCH more to it than simply singing. Success isn't necessarily commensurate with talent or ability.

    so the question is was show business really the right field for them? There are certainly many other outlets for singers.
    I think Flo could have made a very comfortable life for her as a singer, post her tenure in the Supremes. I'm certain she could have been the Toast of Detriot, if she applied herself. But to think she would have returned to the dizzying heights of the Supremes is foolish. I just dont think Flo wanted anything more to do with Show Business. So, like her fellow label mates, like the Vandellas and others, she would have [[and should have) found a good office job and perhaps moonlighted when the opportunity struck.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    I think Flo could have made a very comfortable life for her as a singer, post her tenure in the Supremes. I'm certain she could have been the Toast of Detriot, if she applied herself. But to think she would have returned to the dizzying heights of the Supremes is foolish. I just dont think Flo wanted anything more to do with Show Business. So, like her fellow label mates, like the Vandellas and others, she would have [[and should have) found a good office job and perhaps moonlighted when the opportunity struck.
    i agree - i think if she had found an outlet to succeed in [[outside of show business) she could have found some stability in her life. and then layer on top of that doing some small cabaret work in Detroit. there were some great clubs in the city then where she could have easily done some small yet successful shows. she could have been the soloist in her church choir. while not as glam as her "supremes" life, it could have been quite fulfilling.

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