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  1. #1
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    How did the other Motown vocalists see Jean Terrell?

    When Jean Terrell joined the Supremes, how was she treated by the other Motown acts? Was she considered a friend, a sister, a rival? Did Martha Reeves and Wanda Rogers see her as competition for producers and songs? Which producers loved working with her? Who didn't? I have often wondered about the dynamic of having a new lead Supreme in town. Any insights?

  2. #2
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    Good questions/topic! I am not sure whether any of those other artists/producers would have expressed an opinion to date [if ever]. Still, I think these are great questions to ask and would love to know the answers, too! Anyone? Anyone...?

  3. #3
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    My three cents:

    By the time Jean joined the Supremes in 1970, the Marvelettes and the Vandellas were almost out the door. The Marvelettes released their last album that year, and I would assume that Wanda and Kat were still Detriot based.

    The Vandellas released their last album two years later, but again, I assume Martha was also still Detriot based. Didn't Martha once say she didn't even know Motown moved?

    And isn't it also said that Mary, Cindy, and I'd guess Jean, were all in LA by that time? I can't imagine there being many, if any instances [[maybe the Motown picnic?) where Jean would cross paths with any of those ladies.

  4. #4
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    interesting topic!!

    I'll venture some opinions. I don't have any documentation or insider info on this.

    Martha - 69/70 was a challenging time for Martha. She had her son, had been in the hospital with her drug issues and breakdown. IMO once a singer fell off into the deep end like this, where they weren't 110% committed to their career, Berry pretty much wrote them off. MRATV released Natural Resources in 70 and were trying to get things sorted out again. I doubt she had a lot of interaction with Jean or the other Sups. they were all recording wherever they happened to be and wherever they could. the Sups were super busy and touring everywhere.

    Wanda - even more of the same i just wrote about Martha. Wanda had some real problems and this helped contribute to the collapse of the Marvelettes. she was based in detroit still and i don't think doing much. the In Full Bloom album was in 69 and that's really when everything fell apart. the Return of the M album was to be a solo effort. Smokey was working with Wanda [[i'm assuming they were both in Detroit). MJC were mostly in LA

    marvin - after the huge Grapevine, he had some other hits in 69. and he was producing the Originals in 69 too. but Tammi was rapidly deteriorating and this was really an upheaval for him. he pretty much went into seclusion after her death. so he probably had little to no interaction with Jean. i think he was also based in Detroit

    Gladys Knight and the Pips - this might be one where there was a little competition . I don't know if it was felt between the singers. But If I Was Your Woman was produced by Clay McMurray who was doing a lot with the Jean-led Supremes too. Johnny Bristol also worked with both groups.

    other artists were sort of in the Norman Whitfield camp and therefore their productions were pretty separate from the Sups and they were on other labels - Edwin Starr, Temps,

  5. #5
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    The marvelettes really didn’t exist by the time Jean came along. Martha and company probably crossed paths seeing they still was recording and touring at that time. Plus the girls still recorded occasionally in Detroit. Gladys Knight or Thelma may have had an opinion about but who knows.

    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    My three cents:

    By the time Jean joined the Supremes in 1970, the Marvelettes and the Vandellas were almost out the door. The Marvelettes released their last album that year, and I would assume that Wanda and Kat were still Detriot based.

    The Vandellas released their last album two years later, but again, I ase Martha was also still Detriot based. Didn't Martha once say she didn't even know Motown moved?

    And isn't it also said that Mary, Cindy, and I'd guess Jean, were all in LA by that time? I can't imagine the being many, if any instances [[maybe the Motown picnic?) where Jean would cross paths with any of those ladies.

  6. #6
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    A fascinating topic [for a change ...) regarding Jean. I admit I have no answers; will be interest to see what comes up.

  7. #7
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    Very interesting thread. Naturally, we have read Mary's books and it included Jean but not other Motown Artists. Jean worked with the Temptations on tour and on the Smokey Robinson special, she also worked with Smokey and the Miracles on that show. Plus they recorded with the Four Tops, so there was definitely interaction with those artists plus Smokey produced the Floy Joy LP. I have never seen anything said about Jean by any of them. It would be interesting, especially since they had all had interactions with the previous 2 groups with Diana, Mary, Florence and Cindy.

  8. #8
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    Regarding producers, we only know of Frank Wilson wanting Jean’s vocals less soulful and a little more pop sounding. If she was difficult in the recording studio, surely we would have heard something by now.
    As the Jean led Supremes were a continuation, as opposed to a new group on the block, i would be surprised if there was much in the way of rivalry from the other women at Motown.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Levi once say that Jean had the best voice he'd ever heard? There definitely was magic between those two. I wonder if they kept in touch after she left Motown.

  10. #10
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    I wonder what Miss Ross thought of Jean Terrell, especially after taking time out of her busy schedule to teach Jean the "charming and effervescent style" of the Supremes?

  11. #11
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    Well, we know for certain that Diana Ross thought well enough of the remaining Supremes to be concerned about their lack of chart success - the interview in which Ross stated such has been referred to and quoted almost as frequently as the gop's Big Lie about the election of 2020. I don't recall if Diana mentioned Jean specifically in that interview.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    I wonder what Miss Ross thought of Jean Terrell, especially after taking time out of her busy schedule to teach Jean the "charming and effervescent style" of the Supremes?
    I was unaware that Diana taught Jean anything or even felt the need to do so.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    I was unaware that Diana taught Jean anything or even felt the need to do so.
    Diana did that in a few minutes one lazy afternoon. Earlier that day, she had discovered the Jackson 5.

  14. #14
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    By the time Jean came on board, the close nit atmosphere of Motown was almost gone. I doubt any of the other artists mistreated her when they did encounter her, and I'm sure paths did cross. Everyone at Motown appears to have been competitive. They all wanted to be on top; wanted to outdo the others. I think Diana's behavior at times allowed friendly rivalries to become a bit hostile. By the time Jean joined the group, I don't think most of the other artists had time to be concerned with Jean or the Supremes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    Diana did that in a few minutes one lazy afternoon. Earlier that day, she had discovered the Jackson 5.
    Could this also be the day that Flo told Diana she was going into the antique business?

  16. #16
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    the same day Mary and Cindy recorded their parts on SOMEDAY?

  17. #17
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    I think Abdul mentioned a few bits and pieces in the booklet for the complete duet album.

  18. #18
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    Ido know Diana liked both Ladder and Stoned Love.
    She thought both songs were good and a relief the group would go on without her

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    Ido know Diana liked both Ladder and Stoned Love.
    She thought both songs were good and a relief the group would go on without her
    I have read that as well, Daviddh.

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