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  1. #1
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    When Motown Royalty The Supremes Met British Royalty in 1968

    From uDiscovermusic.com:
    The Supremes
    were the undisputed queens of Motown, and superstars around the world, when they crossed the Atlantic for a very special engagement on November 19, 1968. Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong performed in front of several members of the British Royal Family at the Royal Variety Performance in London.

    The trio had been moving in such exalted circles for some time. In February of that year, the Duke and Duchess of Bedford had given a party to honor the Supremes at the Club Dell’Aretusa in Chelsea, London, where guests included Tom Jones, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Michael Caine, and Lynn Redgrave.


    At the time, the Supremes had, rather surprisingly, not had a UK Top 10 single for over a year, and “Some Things You Never Get Used To” had peaked outside the Top 30 in the summer. Nevertheless, their double Greatest Hits LP had topped the UK chart for three weeks earlier in the year, after doing the same in the US for five.
    So the royal engagement was a memorable occasion, and Wilson, in her autobiography Dreamgirl, wrote: “The real highlight of this trip was the Royal Command Performance we gave before Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, the Queen Mother, Princess Anne and Prince Charles at the London Palladium.”


    Reflecting the social mood of the time, and the heightened racial tension that existed in the US, Ross won rapturous applause when, in between the Supremes’ songs, she performed a monologue urging tolerance between races. “There’s a place for us. A place for all of us. Black and white, Jew and gentile, Catholic and Protestant,” she said. “So was the world of Martin Luther King and his idea. If we keep this in mind, then we can carry on his work.” Dr. King had been assassinated in Memphis some seven months earlier.
    The show also featured such fellow performers as Sacha Distel, Engelbert Humperdinck, comics Frankie Howerd and Mike Yarwood, and British entertainer Petula Clark. She took to the stage in a white evening dress that weighed a daunting 40 pounds.
    Mary Wilson also recalled the Supremes’ meeting with the royals. “Princess Margaret walked up to me, extended her hand, then — so quietly that no one else could hear — she whispered in her prim, high-pitched voice, ‘Is that a wig you’re wearing, Mary?’ I did all I could to suppress a giggle.”

  2. #2
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    There never was and never will be an impression quite like that of M’s Wilson impersonating HRH Princess Margaret.
    No matter what group turmoils during that period, it must still have been a very exciting time for the three women.

  3. #3
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    Amazing of how they can't have a date right !

    The concert before the royalty was on November 18 [[not 19) and the party at the Dell'Aretusa on January 28 [[not February), pfff...

  4. #4
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    Berry, Motown and Diana were used to a much more subtle press in the U.S that didnt really rock the boat with The Supremes - The U.K press contigent was different,a healthy dose of cynicism hungover from the second world war period..at sound check and staging journalists furiously scribbled Diana's anger and comments directed at the black & white minstrels, a long standing tradition in UKs music hall & variety..the fracas made the evening papers..this put Motown on edge at this stage diana's some times temprament wasnt reported on yet...a press confrence to deal with the negativity was hastily arranged - but Diana didnt back down on her stance letting the reporters know she was black and proud and the minstrels were an affront to good and progressive taste...all this background drama made her soliloquy in "SomeWhere" all the more poignant

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomis View Post
    Berry, Motown and Diana were used to a much more subtle press in the U.S that didnt really rock the boat with The Supremes - The U.K press contigent was different,a healthy dose of cynicism hungover from the second world war period..at sound check and staging journalists furiously scribbled Diana's anger and comments directed at the black & white minstrels, a long standing tradition in UKs music hall & variety..the fracas made the evening papers..this put Motown on edge at this stage diana's some times temprament wasnt reported on yet...a press confrence to deal with the negativity was hastily arranged - but Diana didnt back down on her stance letting the reporters know she was black and proud and the minstrels were an affront to good and progressive taste...all this background drama made her soliloquy in "SomeWhere" all the more poignant
    I’d forgotten about the black and white minstrels incident. Diana was extremely brave in stating her displeasure at that point in time. The act could certainly be construed as being offensive to many, and i’m sure Mary and Cindy felt the same way.
    This was not petulant Diana, but rather her speaking out against something she believed rightly was wrong.

  6. #6
    18 November 1968

    Host

    Des O'Connor

    Guests

    Aimi MacDonald and Lionel Blair,
    Arthur Askey,
    Valente Valente,
    Frankie Howerd,
    Mike Yarwood,
    Sacha Distel,
    Czechoslovakian State Song and Dance Ensemble,
    Ted Rogers,
    Manitas de Plata and Company,
    Engelbert Humperdinck,
    Agnes O'Connell's London Irish Girl Pipers,
    Val Doonican,
    Petula Clark,
    Ron Moody,
    Andre Tahon and Company,
    Diana Ross and The Supremes

    In the presence of

    Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,
    Charles, Prince of Wales,
    Anne, Princess Royal,
    Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
    Earl of Snowdon

    https://www.royalvarietycharity.org/...ndon-palladium
    Last edited by copley; 11-23-2021 at 09:28 PM.

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