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  1. #1

    Diana & The Supremes "No Matter What Sign You Are" on The Ed Sullivan Show May 1969


  2. #2
    Great outfits...shame about the song

  3. #3
    I have grown to like the song more over the years [[probably mainly from watching this performance).

    To me, it was the only reasonable single the group released between 'Livin in Shame' & 'Someday'.

    [[excluding singles with the Tempts from that assessment).

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    Great outfits...shame about the song
    I like the song! Always have done.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    I have grown to like the song more over the years [[probably mainly from watching this performance).

    To me, it was the only reasonable single the group released between 'Livin in Shame' & 'Someday'.

    [[excluding singles with the Tempts from that assessment).
    The song could've been better, but I like it and can definitely see why it was released as a single, particularly when compared to "Somethings" and "The Composer", both songs that I love but don't think either of them had a chance at being a hit.

  6. #6
    i think the sitar intro is crap but that could have easily been replaced with an electric guitar and not sound so gimmicky.

    the melody and backing track are really solid on this. I just think the silly astrological lyrics make this more novelty than anything else. Some of the older fans even said that back in the day NO ONE took this seriously as 1) the sitar was just too pandering to be "hip" and 2) the lyrics were simply trying to take advantage of the 5D Aquarius sensation

    but agree it's better than Composer

  7. #7
    I always loved this record. When my parents bought my first little suitcase record player, this record and I'M LIVIN' IN SHAME were amongst the singles they included with it.

    Re NMWSYA, the subject makes it trendy or hokey. But aside from that, I love the track. The melody is great, and Diana really gives a great performance. Too bad it only did so-so [[#31 pop).

  8. #8
    I always loved this song when I was younger and loved this particular performance. Mary looks like she's having a blast even though she writes that she didn't like the song. This is when I noticed Diana was starting to have a hard time faking it with looking like she was loving being a Supreme. That look in her eyes didn't go away until she left the group. I actually thought it was a hit but didn't realize it wasn't until I got older.

  9. #9
    it's definitely a fun song and when i'm at home doing housework or something and the playlist is going, it is fun when this comes on. it's definitely exciting and spirited.

    This is another example of a song i don't "like" or isn't "good" but i enjoy lol

    Maybe a better description is a guilty pleasure song. i would really never play this, Buttered Popcorn and some of these others for any non-Sup fan. they'd probably be like "wtf is this crap?!?!" but behind closed doors, i can enjoy them lolol in the closet lolol

  10. #10
    I remember hearing the song first time as kid having bought the Motown Chartbusters album. I loved the energy poring from the speakers with Diana sounding as creamy as ever.
    Agree with Sup about the intro. An electric guitar might have made it sound a little less gimmicky. Amazed it didn’t chart higher.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I remember hearing the song first time as kid having bought the Motown Chartbusters album. I loved the energy poring from the speakers with Diana sounding as creamy as ever.
    Agree with Sup about the intro. An electric guitar might have made it sound a little less gimmicky. Amazed it didn’t chart higher.
    i could also see Composer and Sign reversing their chart positions. I think Composer is the weaker of the two, weaker than Some Things too. if any of the "duds" of the DRATS era should have only landed in the 30s, it was Composer.

    But Some Things and Sign i think warranted at least going into the 20s. MAYBE Some Things [[with a Sullivan appearance) could have crept into the low teens. it's not a bad song but christ they utilized practically every instrument and gimmick they could. perhaps thinning it down a little and streamlining it a bit could have helped.

  12. #12
    What a great song! I played the b-gsus out of that 45. All you naysayers, you can't like everything otherwise it would be one boring world. It was, after all, the spring/summer of 1969. Perfection.

  13. #13
    I've always liked the song - but this performance, no thanks. I've never understood, or liked, when an artist doesn't sing live. I'd rather not see them. It's fake, and just awful.

    As someone else mentioned, the gowns looked good, and Mary and Cindy seemed to be enjoying themselves. Diana just looked bored.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i could also see Composer and Sign reversing their chart positions. I think Composer is the weaker of the two, weaker than Some Things too. if any of the "duds" of the DRATS era should have only landed in the 30s, it was Composer.

    But Some Things and Sign i think warranted at least going into the 20s. MAYBE Some Things [[with a Sullivan appearance) could have crept into the low teens. it's not a bad song but christ they utilized practically every instrument and gimmick they could. perhaps thinning it down a little and streamlining it a bit could have helped.
    Absolutely. I have always thought “Something’s” a really good song. The problem being it really needs a more bombastic accompaniment to match the drama of the lyrics. As is, it comes across a little tame. A Sullivan appearance would have made one hell of a difference, especially if performed live.
    ”Composer” is a rather sweet little album track, but certainly not single material.

  15. #15
    I know DR&TS never performed “Something’s You Never Get Used To” on television. Did they ever perform the song live in concert?. I wonder if such a recording exists in the vaults?.

  16. #16
    They did early summer 1968
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I know DR&TS never performed “Something’s You Never Get Used To” on television. Did they ever perform the song live in concert?. I wonder if such a recording exists in the vaults?.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    They did early summer 1968
    Many thanks for the info.
    Glad to hear they sung it at least once lol. I always think it a song that was vastly under-promoted. Wonder what happened?.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    Many thanks for the info.
    Glad to hear they sung it at least once lol. I always think it a song that was vastly under-promoted. Wonder what happened?.
    Ollie9..the supremes not debuting the new single on any tv shows doesn't make any sense due the sature of the group ...I personally love track

  19. #19
    I always loved Some Things You Never Get Used To. In fact I was in a vocal group years ago and loved the song so much I made us cover the song lol. It was my featured lead. The band had a hard time playing it but we had some studio friends who figured out a way to erase Diana's lead from the track so we'd use the original backing. Luckily we were only local or I imagine we could have gotten in trouble for that!

    I just wish the song was a little bit longer and I think if it was slowed down just a tad bit it would've sounded even better. I loved the backing vocals too and wondered if it was recorded back when Flo was still in the group because it had a Mary and Flo sound. So props to Ashford and Simpson for those great vocals and I love Diana's lead too. I would love to hear a live version although I've heard that it transitioned poorly live.

  20. #20
    IMO Some Things is a fun song but:

    1. there is SO much going on. A&S literally seemed to have looked up every gimmick they could think of and every instrument they could find at motown. and while that doesn't necessarily mean failure, that wasn't the Sup sound or approach. so being so unfamiliar with the group, means it was a big gamble

    2. too innocuous. we're now pasted the Summer of Love and both pop and r&b are taking on stronger sounds. You have Chain Of Fools, Dance to the Music, I heard it through the grapevine [[Gladys Knight version). plus the doors were on the scene, Mrs Robinson. Born to Be Wild.

    3. lack of promotion - this might also be partly due to timing. the song was released in May and so most tv programs were done and shifting into reruns. This was a critical new release for the girls and motown should have given more strategic thinking to it. it was their first released post HDH and the first release after 2 less successful songs. as such, they should have planned out the promotion like war games to ensure it was a hit

    also i wonder if the assassination of MKL had any impact on things. it was such a national tragedy and had only been 1 month. the country was still in a sense of mourning at the horror of what happened and maybe this song was just too frivolous for the times

  21. #21
    I've always liked NMWSYA, sitar and all. I would say that it's an entirely pop-oriented single so that may turn some listeners off. I love the overall 'brightness' of the record. It's always struck me as a gently tongue-in-cheek lyric and wonder if some of the 'anti's' miss out on that point. And ... really ... who can resist Diana's reading of 'I love you, boy. I really love you boy!'

  22. #22
    "Somethings" is a great song, but I don't think it had a chance of becoming any more of a big hit than it was, heavily promoted or not. Both "Forever Came Today" and "No Matter" got primetime debuts and they didn't do much better than "Somethings" on the Hot 100. IMO DRATS rarely suffered from releasing bad songs.

    "Shame" is cringeworthy to me because of it's novelty lyrics and I suspect that the novelty of it is why it was a hit. It's not a bad song, but of the Supremes hits it's clearly the one that is vastly different from the others.

    "I'll Try Something New" is great, but it lacked the instant classic feel of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me".

    "The Weight" is an inferior cover IMO and I'll forever be confused as to why of all the cuts on the Together album, "The Weight" was the one that Motown thought was the hit.

    "Forever Came Today" is fantastic, but the indecipherable backing vocals is a head scratcher. The backing track is amazing as is, but lacks a certain something that I think would've allowed it to compete with the hits of the day.

    "The Composer" has Smokey's usual poeticism, catchy lyrics, nice backing track, beautiful lead and backing vocals. But there was really nothing there that screamed "hit". Beautiful album track, maybe even a nice B side, but not a hit. No way. Interesting that "The Composer" neither got a TV appearance nor is there yet any evidence that they ever sang the song live at all, but the song did better than "Forever", "Somethings" and "Sign" on the pop chart.

    "No Matter" was another great one that just seemed to be missing something. But it is IMO the better single choice among the DRATS singles that didn't become hits.

    "Somethings" has a great Diana lead, great backing vocals, interesting storyline, and an awesome Funk Bros track. The problem is that I've never understood how anyone was supposed to dance to it back then. It's almost disco before there was disco. I like Floy's suggestion that the song be slowed down a bit. I wonder if that would've made a difference. As is, nobody knew what to make of it. So confusing was the track, that "Somethings" was the group's first top 40 miss on the R&B chart since "Breathtaking" failed to chart. With the way the Funks were cutting up on this song, not even breaking the top 40 r&b suggests that it was ultimately a bad choice of single, even if on it's own the song is a damn good song.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    I always loved Some Things You Never Get Used To. In fact I was in a vocal group years ago and loved the song so much I made us cover the song lol. It was my featured lead. The band had a hard time playing it but we had some studio friends who figured out a way to erase Diana's lead from the track so we'd use the original backing. Luckily we were only local or I imagine we could have gotten in trouble for that!

    I just wish the song was a little bit longer and I think if it was slowed down just a tad bit it would've sounded even better. I loved the backing vocals too and wondered if it was recorded back when Flo was still in the group because it had a Mary and Flo sound. So props to Ashford and Simpson for those great vocals and I love Diana's lead too. I would love to hear a live version although I've heard that it transitioned poorly live.
    We have a singer in the audience.
    Interesting point about the song being a little to fast. I’ve played it in my head at a slower pace and agree it might have worked better. I certainly would have turned the backing vocals up a notch, much as they did on “Love Child”. I also feel the music lacks punch. It’s left to Diana to try and create all the drama.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    "Somethings" is a great song, but I don't think it had a chance of becoming any more of a big hit than it was, heavily promoted or not. Both "Forever Came Today" and "No Matter" got primetime debuts and they didn't do much better than "Somethings" on the Hot 100. IMO DRATS rarely suffered from releasing bad songs.

    "Shame" is cringeworthy to me because of it's novelty lyrics and I suspect that the novelty of it is why it was a hit. It's not a bad song, but of the Supremes hits it's clearly the one that is vastly different from the others.

    "I'll Try Something New" is great, but it lacked the instant classic feel of "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me".

    "The Weight" is an inferior cover IMO and I'll forever be confused as to why of all the cuts on the Together album, "The Weight" was the one that Motown thought was the hit.

    "Forever Came Today" is fantastic, but the indecipherable backing vocals is a head scratcher. The backing track is amazing as is, but lacks a certain something that I think would've allowed it to compete with the hits of the day.

    "The Composer" has Smokey's usual poeticism, catchy lyrics, nice backing track, beautiful lead and backing vocals. But there was really nothing there that screamed "hit". Beautiful album track, maybe even a nice B side, but not a hit. No way. Interesting that "The Composer" neither got a TV appearance nor is there yet any evidence that they ever sang the song live at all, but the song did better than "Forever", "Somethings" and "Sign" on the pop chart.

    "No Matter" was another great one that just seemed to be missing something. But it is IMO the better single choice among the DRATS singles that didn't become hits.

    "Somethings" has a great Diana lead, great backing vocals, interesting storyline, and an awesome Funk Bros track. The problem is that I've never understood how anyone was supposed to dance to it back then. It's almost disco before there was disco. I like Floy's suggestion that the song be slowed down a bit. I wonder if that would've made a difference. As is, nobody knew what to make of it. So confusing was the track, that "Somethings" was the group's first top 40 miss on the R&B chart since "Breathtaking" failed to chart. With the way the Funks were cutting up on this song, not even breaking the top 40 r&b suggests that it was ultimately a bad choice of single, even if on it's own the song is a damn good song.
    When compared to “Forever Came” and No Matter What Sign”, the song fairs better in containing far more adult orientated, less cheesy lyrics. It just needed a ‘tad more punch to take it that extra mile. All the ingredients were there.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    We have a singer in the audience.
    Interesting point about the song being a little to fast. I’ve played it in my head at a slower pace and agree it might have worked better. I certainly would have turned the backing vocals up a notch, much as they did on “Love Child”. I also feel the music lacks punch. It’s left to Diana to try and create all the drama.
    Uh better make that former singer. Years of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and a drinking problem left me sounding like Sylvia Brown.

    It's funny you say the music lacks punch when there's so much going on back there but I think you're right. I think a prominent guitar during the verses and toning down the horns a bit and building up as we get to the chorus could have been the way to go. And then during the last part of the song just let them all go stark crazy like how Diana is sounding by that point of the song.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Uh better make that former singer. Years of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and a drinking problem left me sounding like Sylvia Brown.

    It's funny you say the music lacks punch when there's so much going on back there but I think you're right. I think a prominent guitar during the verses and toning down the horns a bit and building up as we get to the chorus could have been the way to go. And then during the last part of the song just let them all go stark crazy like how Diana is sounding by that point of the song.
    great point about slowing Some Things down a bit. it is sort of like a runaway train. there appears to be a bit more storyline to the lyrics too.

    Forever has a bunch of problems IMO. the weird/indecipherable backing lyrics, the odd title and chorus "my forever came today." the word Forever isn't a noun - it's a descriptor, being both an adjective and an adverb. of course we get what they're going for here but it's more complex than Back In My Arms Again or I Hear A Symphony. plus the melody is just less "humable" IMO

  27. #27
    NMWSYA has definitely grown on me over the years, especially this performance. I love that *gasp* from the audience as they come out! Cindy and Mary look great; that "mixing bowl" move during the line "good combination" cracks me up. No real choreography to speak of; I'm sure C and M just threw something together last minute. Diana is on her own planet; bored, just popping as needed to get through a 4 minute performance.

  28. #28
    I do appreciate being able to see this whole performance. For years it was always an edited version floating around.

  29. #29
    i've always gotten a kick out of the audience's gasp too. the outfits do look pretty sensational and that's just here on tv. imagine them walking onto stage in them and seeing them perform in these live!

  30. #30
    so going through the video, they do close ups on

    Gemini [[2x)
    Pisces [[3x)
    Sagittarius [[2)
    Libra
    Aries
    Scorpio
    Virgo
    Cancer

    clearly this was a plot on Mary's part, as she was a Pisces!!! i bet she told the camera man to zoom in on HER sign the most. Cindy must have overheard and demanded they do plenty of Sagittarius shots too. meanwhile, Diana was off in her own dressing room and unable to fight for her sign, Aries lol

    and sucks to be Aquarius, Capricorn, Taurus or Leo. guess those signs just are crap lol


  31. #31
    here are two pics that do a pretty good job of close ups on these amazing outfits. when JMC did Ladder on Smokey, you could see on Jean's wrist a blue band that held the poncho in place on her arm, rather than sliding back.

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  32. #32
    They are utterly gorgeous outfits. Both color versions are superb. I wonder if Mary had any of these in her collection?

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    so going through the video, they do close ups on

    Gemini [[2x)
    Pisces [[3x)
    Sagittarius [[2)
    Libra
    Aries
    Scorpio
    Virgo
    Cancer

    clearly this was a plot on Mary's part, as she was a Pisces!!! i bet she told the camera man to zoom in on HER sign the most. Cindy must have overheard and demanded they do plenty of Sagittarius shots too. meanwhile, Diana was off in her own dressing room and unable to fight for her sign, Aries lol

    and sucks to be Aquarius, Capricorn, Taurus or Leo. guess those signs just are crap lol

    As an Aquarian I have always taken umbrage lol..

  34. #34
    Regarding Diana appearing to be disinterested and not her usual 'in your face' performance of No Matter What Sign You Are, I would attribute this to being that she is more animated and 'alive' when she is actually singing live rather than lip singing as in this performance. I love the outfits and although not a favorite, this performance causes me to like the song even better. When I hear it, I immediately think of this performance.

    Some Things You Never Get Used To: This is one of my favorite DRATS recordings. Production wise, it appears nothing was left to chance. Diana's vocal has so much intensity to it. The instrumental backing is superb. Yes, it might have helped if it were slowed down a bit; it's a bit too frantic sounding.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    When compared to “Forever Came” and No Matter What Sign”, the song fairs better in containing far more adult orientated, less cheesy lyrics. It just needed a ‘tad more punch to take it that extra mile. All the ingredients were there.
    "Somethings" was definitely a more serious song than what the Supremes usually did. I really love the track to the song. The Funks are cutting up. And Diana tears through it. I wasn't always crazy about the song, but over the years it definitely has become a fav.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    NMWSYA has definitely grown on me over the years, especially this performance. I love that *gasp* from the audience as they come out! Cindy and Mary look great; that "mixing bowl" move during the line "good combination" cracks me up. No real choreography to speak of; I'm sure C and M just threw something together last minute. Diana is on her own planet; bored, just popping as needed to get through a 4 minute performance.
    I think this is the worst choreography the group ever did. And up until shortly before the song ends, Diana looks stupid and almost rhythm-less, which is a pity because the girl could dance.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    As an Aquarian I have always taken umbrage lol..
    hahaha i was waiting to see who chimes in first hehehe

    i'm virgo, the virgin

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    They are utterly gorgeous outfits. Both color versions are superb. I wonder if Mary had any of these in her collection?
    these outfits burned in the Mexico City fire

    i agree that they look sensational here on the Sullivan stage. especially the blue ones. it's almost an electric glow with the blue, it's so intense.

    there are pics of JMC and even MSC wearing these but they're just pics and old ones at that. they don't quite capture the awesomeness or effect of the outfits.

    I can understand why they were kept for the MJC lineup. but i do wish they'd either 1) resized the green on for Jean or 2) invest the money for a third blue one for Jean or 3) invest the money for a 3rd color. maybe oranges/reds to compliment the other two

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    these outfits burned in the Mexico City fire

    i agree that they look sensational here on the Sullivan stage. especially the blue ones. it's almost an electric glow with the blue, it's so intense.

    there are pics of JMC and even MSC wearing these but they're just pics and old ones at that. they don't quite capture the awesomeness or effect of the outfits.

    I can understand why they were kept for the MJC lineup. but i do wish they'd either 1) resized the green on for Jean or 2) invest the money for a third blue one for Jean or 3) invest the money for a 3rd color. maybe oranges/reds to compliment the other two
    Do we know who was the designer for these? And - can you tell if the costumes have sequins, crystals, or both? The effect is like shooting stars!

  40. #40
    i believe these were Mike Travis outfits. he did many of the DRATS and MJC things, including TCB. Bob mackie did some of the things from R&H tv special and then GIT Broadway.

    as far as i know, Mike did:

    *the outfits from Tennessee Ernie Ford special - the colored halter gowns and the chandelier. I would guess he also did the breakaway outfits since the girls used these later in photo shoots and on the Irving Berlin bday episode of Sullivan. So that makes me believe they weren't studio costume shop outfits

    *TCB outfits - the green swirls, the butterfly gowns, the hideous pantsuits lol. Diana wears the Chandelier gown during the Way You Do The Things You Do. Diana also wears the pearl and rhinestone queen mother gown. finally there's the black and white 'ink blot' looking gowns. We associate these gowns with TCB but some were actually made and being worn prior. the b&w gowns were used on Sullivan for the irving berlin bday special in May 68. there are concert pics of DRATS in the green swirls and the pearls gowns in August 68. i'd guess that the gowns were designed for the tv special and immediately entered into the group's costume rotation. they're sensational so of course! lol

    *the blue gowns from Sullivan with Ethel Merman, the orange Hollywood Palace pantsuits, these NMWSYA pantsuits and then for MJC he did the pink Glen Campbell pantsuits, the purple Flip Wilson pantsuits, the red Up The Ladder pantsuits,

  41. #41
    as for the shooting star effect, it is great with these! that's part of what makes them so intense. the powerful studio lights hit these and there's that pop of flash as the light hits the various surfaces of the sequins and all.

    i'm not really well informed of the construction of these but wonder if they might use bugle beads which help make the 'tube' that we see dangling and swinging around. and each bugle bead would catch the light and refract and when applied as densely and as heavily as these are, makes that wild and amazing glittering effect

    in Mary's gown book she talks about the white bugle bead gowns from the Jean era which originally had sleeves and long strands of beads hanging from the arms. mary said when they did their choreography, the hanging strings of beads glittered all over the place and created sort of "shooting star" effects in the stage lights

    both of these are examples of designers that 1) really understood the women's bodies because all 3 supremes looked amazing. the cut and styles looked flattering on all of them and 2) using materials correctly to really create an amazing visual effect on stage

    in the scherrie years, the girls hired Pat Campano as their primary designer. IMO the outfits mostly looked good but their functionality varied. of course much of the design could have been based on input from Mary - a look she wanted which frankly may or may not have been as fashion forward or maybe was or wasn't as well functioned for disco choreography. Also i think some of the wearability of the Campano outfits was lacking a bit perhaps due to being a younger designer or new to doing performer stagewear? I don't really know his background as well so not sure

  42. #42
    I've spoken many times with someone very much in the know about Supremes gowns; someone who has actually worked with them. The original Michael Travis design for the NMWSYA pantsuits did have each lady wearing three separate colors, but then Michael decided to make M&C’s color blue and Diana’s green.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    I've spoken many times with someone very much in the know about Supremes gowns; someone who has actually worked with them. The original Michael Travis design for the NMWSYA pantsuits did have each lady wearing three separate colors, but then Michael decided to make M&C’s color blue and Diana’s green.
    interesting! what was the other color?

    just like we've received early and alt versions of the recordings, i'd love to see more of the background that went into the outfits. Mary's book included a few of the sketches which are interesting. and i remember in the Gown Exhibit showcases filled with all sorts of fascinating memorabilia. like receipts from alterations and all, accessories, sketches

    it would be neat to see what outfits were declined, which ones went through a series of pretty dramatic change until the final product was seen by public

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