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  1. #1

    When The Supremes Narrowly Escaped Being Caught in an IRA Bombing in 1975

    Tribute - remembering Mary Wilson of The Supremes

    This is a nice article with info that I never heard of before. The Supremes were almost caught in this bombing. Their habit of being a bit late, may have helped save them from being in the middle of the carnage.

    There is another interesting story that happened five days after the bombing when the Supremes were supposed to appear on TOP OF POPS to sing He's My Man. They were to lyp sinc and Mary did not like the fade out and wanted it changed. When the powerful producer said no, Mary stood her ground and said “come on girls we are outta here lets go shopping” and off they went. Eventually, the producer gave in and the show went on.

    This probably is old news to others. But for me, it is nice to see info that I had not seen before about the group. Here is the link

    https://www.irishpost.com/life-style...upremes-205256

  2. #2
    Milven, I also find this very interesting and didn't know about it. The only bombing I ever knew they were close to was the Jimmy Webb album

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by milven View Post
    Tribute - remembering Mary Wilson of The Supremes

    This is a nice article with info that I never heard of before. The Supremes were almost caught in this bombing. Their habit of being a bit late, may have helped save them from being in the middle of the carnage.

    There is another interesting story that happened five days after the bombing when the Supremes were supposed to appear on TOP OF POPS to sing He's My Man. They were to lyp sinc and Mary did not like the fade out and wanted it changed. When the powerful producer said no, Mary stood her ground and said “come on girls we are outta here lets go shopping” and off they went. Eventually, the producer gave in and the show went on.

    This probably is old news to others. But for me, it is nice to see info that I had not seen before about the group. Here is the link

    https://www.irishpost.com/life-style...upremes-205256
    I recall both of these incidents.
    As regards the fall out between Mary and the BBC it later escalated with Mary storming out of an interview the following day. Sadly it backfired on the group and the BBC ceased to play He's my man on radio 1 after previously having it on the A list. Indeed Tony Blackburn had the song as record of the week on his hugely popular morning show. The record failed to chart as did the follow up Early Morning Love thus ending the Supremes UK chart activity.

  4. #4
    given how precarious the group's situation was in 75, that's an extremely foolish decision to make. the cost/benefit of a less than ideal fade on a song versus ostracizing the primary forces that could make or break a record.

    this is where the poor management plaguing the later 70s Supremes really had an impact

  5. #5
    Mary recounted the story concerning the bombing in her second book, "Supreme Faith". Thanks for sharing the article, Milven!

  6. #6
    In her second book, Mary wrote that the one bright spot of the bombing day was because of Cindy.

    They were waiting to get back into their hotel. Cindy called Mary over to her and said she had something to show her but that she had to get really close. When she did, Cindy quickly opened and shut her coat revealing that she had nothing on underneath. She'd had to get out of the hotel that fast.

  7. #7
    I just read the article and love that Mary DID take a stand and didn't put up with pomposity because there was a REASON for her objection. It wasn't to be a diva, it wasn't to get more airtime, it was to put the group to the public in the best possible light. Perhaps her walking out on the BBC interview the next day ultimately caused their UK chart demise, but by 1975, no artist deserved to be treated poorly. If Diana Ross had not only refused the abrupt fade and then walked out of an interview the next day due to poor treatment [[presumed or actual), nobody would've said a word. Mary may not have always made the best decisions for her career as a Supreme or beyond when she had the control to do so, but she had learned from the previous years in the business and generally knew what was right for her [[and the group) and what wasn't. To me, the Supremes '75 was a true opportunity for a comeback for the group and a chance to sort of "reset" things. If there was something that was going to present the group in a poor light, WHY NOT say something? And some pompous male chauvinist didn't always have to win. For this incident on TOTP, I'm "Team Mary" all the way. It's a shame it wound up as a part of their chart downfall.

  8. #8
    sorry Dan but i don't know that this was the battle to fight. unless they faded the song out in the middle, i can't imagine that arguing over a fade is that big of a deal. I don't know why they wanted to change the fade - perhaps running time? even if the big-wig producer was just being a dick about things, i don't see this as being the battle to pick. out of everything. a different/shorter/longer fade wouldn't have made that big of a difference for the exposure it would have given the group and the single.

    in the grand scheme of things, i can't figure out why this would be that big of a deal

  9. #9
    I do not think this is an appropriate time to discuss Mary's feud with the BBC in view of Mary's recent passing. We can perhaps return to this subject in a few weeks time when feelings may not be running so high.

  10. #10
    I'm with Dan on this one. From the article:

    The afternoon rehearsal went well until the end of the song when there was a strange clumsy fade out which phased Mary.

    She told me that fade is no good as it meant she would look like a goldfish mouthing lyrics as the music faded out and that would be horrible.

    So I told the floor manager Barry Martin that we were unhappy with the end, asking could we change the fade.

    Barry was terrified of Robin but agreed to tell him with the result that Robin came rushing down the iron steps on to the studio floor, where he curtly asked Mary what the problem was.

    She tried to explain that she was uncomfortable with the fade but Robin did not listen and was affronted thinking the group were just asking for more time, which they were not.

    His unhelpful arrogant response was “I produce this show for the BBC the way I want it and if you don’t like it well that is your choice”.

    Mary simply said “come on girls we are outta here lets go shopping” and off they went.



    I rushed up to the gallery to try to mediate and Robin agreed to come down when the rehearsal was over.

    A while later he flounced into the dressing room but was now very British and charming and Mary explained she could not care less how long they got on screen as long as what went out looked professional and good and that was better for his show, the bad fade was just not acceptable.

    He then uncharacteristically demurred and they performed the song with a smoother a fade and all was well.

    This reads to me like Mary was pushing for the Supremes to be seen in the best possible light and was being told to shut up and do what she's told. That woman was 30+ years old and had been in the business for almost 20 years. She was done being told to shut up and just follow orders, as was only right. Would this guy have spoken to Marvin Gaye that way? The Tempts? Elvis? John Lennon? Would opinions about Mary's actions change if you remove her name and insert Diana's instead? I don't think Mary walking out was as much about the fade as it was the attitude of the showrunner. Mary had paid her dues. There's a respectful way to deal with everything and if the guy telling this story is to be believed, Mary was disrespected. She had every right to walk out. Let's be real, Diana Ross would've slapped his face, so he got off easy.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I'm with Dan on this one. From the article:

    The afternoon rehearsal went well until the end of the song when there was a strange clumsy fade out which phased Mary.

    She told me that fade is no good as it meant she would look like a goldfish mouthing lyrics as the music faded out and that would be horrible.

    So I told the floor manager Barry Martin that we were unhappy with the end, asking could we change the fade.

    Barry was terrified of Robin but agreed to tell him with the result that Robin came rushing down the iron steps on to the studio floor, where he curtly asked Mary what the problem was.

    She tried to explain that she was uncomfortable with the fade but Robin did not listen and was affronted thinking the group were just asking for more time, which they were not.

    His unhelpful arrogant response was “I produce this show for the BBC the way I want it and if you don’t like it well that is your choice”.

    Mary simply said “come on girls we are outta here lets go shopping” and off they went.



    I rushed up to the gallery to try to mediate and Robin agreed to come down when the rehearsal was over.

    A while later he flounced into the dressing room but was now very British and charming and Mary explained she could not care less how long they got on screen as long as what went out looked professional and good and that was better for his show, the bad fade was just not acceptable.

    He then uncharacteristically demurred and they performed the song with a smoother a fade and all was well.

    This reads to me like Mary was pushing for the Supremes to be seen in the best possible light and was being told to shut up and do what she's told. That woman was 30+ years old and had been in the business for almost 20 years. She was done being told to shut up and just follow orders, as was only right. Would this guy have spoken to Marvin Gaye that way? The Tempts? Elvis? John Lennon? Would opinions about Mary's actions change if you remove her name and insert Diana's instead? I don't think Mary walking out was as much about the fade as it was the attitude of the showrunner. Mary had paid her dues. There's a respectful way to deal with everything and if the guy telling this story is to be believed, Mary was disrespected. She had every right to walk out. Let's be real, Diana Ross would've slapped his face, so he got off easy.
    Excellent points Mary had to take charge of the group let's face it Motown and berry where apathetic by this stage.. Mary was fighting to survive and certainly had enough experience that she should have been listened to ..

  12. #12
    Thank you milven for posting this article!

    Going off lurker mode to reply to this.. I’m also solidly “Team Mary” here. Maybe she didn’t always make the right move, and I can’t speak to whether her walking out of a BBC interview would’ve changed her career trajectory and that of The Supremes in the UK, but I will say that no one, certainly no woman, sustains a performing career as long as Mary has without having a strong backbone. I’m glad this article shows that side of her. In show business, when 90% of the people in positions of power are men who seemingly think they know better than you and many of them eager to lord whatever power they have over you - I can see where she was coming from. I’m not inclined to believe that things have changed as much we sometimes think they have.

    You look at an incident like the one at TOTP and multiply that by 100 [[if not more) and you have an idea what women like Mary and Diana and many others were up against. I bring up Diana because she’s the Supreme saddled with the “diva” rap, deservedly or not. As kind and gracious as Mary was in my brief and limited interaction with her, I could tell that she was certainly no pushover either. I pity anyone who would’ve thought otherwise. In the greater scheme of things, artists who sustain performing careers as long as the one Mary had remain the exception, not the rule in the music business.

    Rest in Peace and Power, Mary.

  13. #13
    I reposted the part of the article because my gut feeling was that the reaction to what happened stemmed from Milven's short summary as opposed to reading the full description of what took place. Upon reading Milven's summary, my first reaction was that it was a ridiculous reason to walk off a show. The most important thing should have been getting the music heard, and if that meant a fade that Mary didn't care for, well you don't cut off your nose to spite your face. But when I read what happened in greater detail, yeah, definitely Team Mary. Nobody deserves to be treated the way it is described that Mary was treated. I realize we all [[well most of us) wish the Scherrie years had been more successful, and Mary certainly made some idiotic decisions during those years, but asking anybody to put up with that kind of disrespect in order to sell a record is too much. There are somethings more important than record sales.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    sorry Dan but i don't know that this was the battle to fight. unless they faded the song out in the middle, i can't imagine that arguing over a fade is that big of a deal. I don't know why they wanted to change the fade - perhaps running time? even if the big-wig producer was just being a dick about things, i don't see this as being the battle to pick. out of everything. a different/shorter/longer fade wouldn't have made that big of a difference for the exposure it would have given the group and the single.

    in the grand scheme of things, i can't figure out why this would be that big of a deal
    There is much more to this story than what has been discussed here thus far, but as i said in my previous post it is not the right time to be discussing it. A former colleague of mine was a longtime member of the totp team, and he told me some amazing stories of the bust up's and disagreements that regularly occurred during the 60's through to the 90's.
    For the moment i will merely say there are two sides to this story and both parties could and should have handled it better.
    I shall return to the subject in a few weeks time if people on here are sufficiently interested.
    In the meantime i will merely say r.i.p. Mary Wilson and Robin Nash.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by telekin View Post
    Thank you milven for posting this article!

    Going off lurker mode to reply to this.. I’m also solidly “Team Mary” here. Maybe she didn’t always make the right move, and I can’t speak to whether her walking out of a BBC interview would’ve changed her career trajectory and that of The Supremes in the UK, but I will say that no one, certainly no woman, sustains a performing career as long as Mary has without having a strong backbone. I’m glad this article shows that side of her. In show business, when 90% of the people in positions of power are men who seemingly think they know better than you and many of them eager to lord whatever power they have over you - I can see where she was coming from. I’m not inclined to believe that things have changed as much we sometimes think they have.

    You look at an incident like the one at TOTP and multiply that by 100 [[if not more) and you have an idea what women like Mary and Diana and many others were up against. I bring up Diana because she’s the Supreme saddled with the “diva” rap, deservedly or not. As kind and gracious as Mary was in my brief and limited interaction with her, I could tell that she was certainly no pushover either. I pity anyone who would’ve thought otherwise. In the greater scheme of things, artists who sustain performing careers as long as the one Mary had remain the exception, not the rule in the music business.

    Rest in Peace and Power, Mary.
    One can exert all the power they want, but if one is not in demand, aka a money-maker, no one gives a damn. Cold mashed potatoes are not on anyone’s menu. Few cower to one’s “power” or temper tantrums unless one is putting lots of $$$$$ in everyone’s pockets. “When the money is gone, they don’t come round anymore.” Value and importance is defined by dollars that flow.

    I am talking about Mary throughout her career and Diana in recent years.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 03-05-2021 at 12:47 PM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Circa 1824 View Post
    One can exert all the power they want, but if one is not in demand, aka a money-maker, no one gives a damn. Cold mashed potatoes are not on anyone’s menu. Few cower to one’s “power” or temper tantrums unless one is putting lots of $$$$$ in everyone’s pockets. “When the money is gone, they don’t come round anymore.” Value and importance is defined by dollars that flow.

    I am talking about Mary throughout her career and Diana in recent years.
    Hence why most performers' careers last 5-10 years at best and they're done.

    After a certain point, the industry will throw you away like a wet rag anyway. If you cannot stand up for yourself then don’t expect anyone else to either. The men in suits certainly won’t.
    Last edited by telekin; 03-05-2021 at 04:36 PM.

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