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  1. #1

    David Nathan's 1974 Interview with Mary Wilson on Changes Within the Supremes

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    By David Nathan
    Copyright (c) 2010 by David Nathan/Soul Music.com
    Home > SOUL MUSIC INTERVIEWS & FEATURES > Classic Interviews & Features > CLASSIC FEATURE: The Supremes 1974 Interview



    PERHAPS MORE than any other female group around today, The Supremes have undergone what seem like almost regular personnel changes and to my mind, it's quite amazing that the institution as such, still exists. Kicking off, with the departure of Florence Ballard, then, of course Diana Ross, the group has tried to retain the success formula that once put them way above all their competitors.

    But what with these internal changes, the departure of the Holland/Dozier/Holland team and what appears to be some confusion as to which direction the group should head, their success or at least chart success has been severly restricted of late. Now comes the news of yet more changes and David Nathan got the chance to check out with Mary Wilson, the only remaining original Supreme, exactly what's been happening...


    "Well, let me explain. Cindy Birdsong has come back into the group, having had a baby and she's now back permanently. Linda (Laurence) was only brought in on a temporary basis anyway, just to take over from Cindy. Jean Terrell just resigned from the group I really can't tell you why because I don't know she just left. Anyway, we now have Sherrie Payne (Freda's sister) to replace Jean.

    "How did we manage to find her? Well, Lamont Dozier heard that we were looking for a new Supreme a few months back and he knew that Sherrie was unhappy being with The Glasshouse so he suggested we might like to get together. She's now been with us for some three months and everything seems to be working out well."

    With all these constant changes, I asked Mary if she ever got tired and considered just giving it all up. "No, never!" was her swift and indignant reply. She qualified it further.

    "Sure I get tired with all the comings and goings but I'd never consider going solo. The Supremes mean too much to me and to so many people that I wouldn't even dream about just quitting altogether. No, I've never even thought about making it on my own!"

    Mary did admit that the group have been going through a pretty rough patch chartwise and she explained: "We were all very disappointed that 'Bad Weather' didn't make it and we really don't know why. I personally thought it had all the right ingredients for a hit but we've been told that one of the problems these days is that unless you're on the charts consistently, a lot of radio stations just won't give you a chance."

    "The fact is that we haven't had a big chart record for a long time now so that may have been one of the reasons why no one really got onto that single. But, you know, it's a totally concentrated effort and it really is a matter of coming up with right material at the right time. A lot of hard work goes into coming up with the right record and finding the right producer. Since 'Bad Weather' we haven't recorded anything with anyone but we expect to be starting back into the studios very shortly."

    Any suggestion that possibly the girls might be behind the times is almost totally rejected since Mary feels that the public expects certain things from The Supremes and it's very hard for the group to move off into a totally different direction. She concedes that not having had a big hit record may have lost the group some of its followers and she does feel that a big hit would bring a whole new audience to the girls.

    "However, we are well aware that there are still many people who have been with us from the beginning and are still with us and we really appreciate them."

    Mary revealed that she doesn't expect The Supremes to undergo many major changes as far as their act is concerned and she says that with the return of Cindy and the arrival of Sherrie, there will be more sharing of the lead singer's task. "Both Sherrie and I will be sharing lead and Cindy will gradually be doing that too. In fact all of us will be doing a little of our own thing in the future on stage."

    On a completely personal level, Miss Wilson is no longer Miss Wilson since she was married several weeks back to a young gentleman she met in Puerto Rico, Mr. Pedro Ferrez. What happened? "We just met and fell in love!" was the straight answer I got to a pretty dumb question! Mary said that she digs being married since "all my friends have got married now Diana, Cindy and so on. I guess it's about time for me." She intends to start up a family in due course and the girls' future schedule is being planned to ensure that they have sufficient time at home with their families.

    On the subject of coming over to this country, Mary said that there had been plans for the girls to make it during April but the energy crisis had put paid to that. "We do expect to get back around September. In the meantime, please say 'hi' to everyone from me, won't you?" No doubt, by the time we see The Supremes again, the new line-up will have established itself and hopefully they'll be returning with a hit record under their collective belts. It's surely only a matter of time before The Supremes are back on the hit track.


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    CLASSIC FEATURE: The Supremes 1974 Interview
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  2. #2
    First Cindy last year and now Mary 36 years ago stating that Linda was only in the group as a temp sub.

  3. #3
    Yes, Marv... that's because she WAS a temp sub. That's what i've been barking about for years. Nice to see another bit of proof. But words form the mouth of Cindy Birdsong I hope were enough to seal it for everybody.

  4. #4
    Jill, you would think huh? I had a video clip on Youtube a while back of Mary and Jean doing "Stoned Love" live on the Mike Douglas Show, Lynda was with them. I described her as a temp. sub and a couple of people wanted to dispute that fact. Even Diane tried to " up " Lynda's significance by saying that she had been a Supreme for something like 29 years during an interveiw with Oprah. LOL!

  5. #5
    jonc Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    First Cindy last year and now Mary 36 years ago stating that Linda was only in the group as a temp sub.
    It's almost 40 years later!!! Who cares anymore. Move on already.

  6. #6
    What's really interesting about this article is this statement:

    "Jean Terrell just resigned from the group – I really can't tell you why because I don't know – she just left. "

    Now, when you consider what Jean said in her video biography "Through the Eyes of A Supreme" it makes complete sense to me. Jean claims she didn't quit, but the next time she looked up Mary had hired two new girls to be in the group. This is what she told Berry in recent years when he asked her.

  7. #7
    16 people cared what Lynda's status with the Supremes was in 1972. make that 2 in 2010.


    Bill

  8. #8
    Wow I will have to go and pull out my articles when Cindy left the first time and the story that was being said then. Odd that you would use a Temp/Sub on two albums by the Supremes. Very strange.

  9. #9
    Name:  jet mag.jpg
Views: 1347
Size:  65.7 KB diffrent story here!

  10. #10
    Mary's quote from her book "Supreme Faith" page 61
    "Cindy was expecting her first child in the fall and didn't plan to return to the group after that. She had always been very open about whatever was on her mind, and many times she mentioned that she might leave. Still, It was a surprise when she announced she was going."

  11. #11
    The guy, the "spokesman" that told Jet that tidbit was fired!

  12. #12
    So, was Mary lying in 1974 or 1990?

  13. #13
    Every article I have from 1972, including fan club newslewtters, introduce Lynda as "The newest Member of The Supremes." Never was it announced that she was a temporary sub for Cindy! Cindy was well loved and if Lynda was brough in to "temporarily" fill in for Cindy that would have been made well known. Every interview, TV Show, etc....Lynda was the newest member. If Lynda were only "Filling In temorarily" why record an album with her? In 1974 there was a big change in the group! Jean and Lynda were both gone, and Mary brought Cindy back and Scherrie in. It was smart for Mary to ask Cindy back. I think the audience would have questioned 2 new Supremes, but bringing back Cindy was a good move because she had a reconizeable face and name in the group. And obviously for PR the reason for the change in lineup was given as a "temporary fill in." It's show business after all!

  14. #14
    SimplySupreme, nah she wasn't lying. Cindy confirmed it in a interview just last year that Linda or Lynda was just a temporary sub replacement until after Cindy had her baby. Cindy said that she had a contract and "new girl" didn 't and that she was always suppose to come back! Linda has been the one "growing" things all these years as it turns out.

  15. #15
    Naw..... as much as so many fans like to discredit Lynda and her time in the Supremes she was not a Temp. I would surly have remembered that statement if it was put out there that way. This was a real sad time for me because I really loved Cindy ( except for that period when she replaced Florence). Asking Cindy to returned when Lynda left was a smart move but it was not by accident that Terrell and Lawrence left at the same time. I am amazed at how we try and rewrite history.

  16. #16
    A while back I asked the question "Why would anyone care exactly what position Lynda had in the Supremes?" She was on the front and back of album covers, called a member thousands of times and parlayed the gig into a 30 year career with the FLOS, becoming the most stable group of Motowners.

    So why do some people care? Call her critical member, fill in, a sub for Jean or Cindy, lead singer, member, temporary sub ~ does anyone think any of the Supremes really care? As hair splitting fans, it is an academic question but I bet you if we got into this with Diana Ross, she wouldn't even know what people were talking about. She'd look at them like they were nuts.

    You can't airbrush Betty, Barbara, Susaye, Lynda or any of the others.

  17. #17
    Your right Rob !!!
    Heck Terrell was a Temp for Diana but Diana decided not to come back so Terrell quit.

  18. #18
    The Supremes will NEVER be Just about the music...........I wrote more and deleted it.....zzzzzzz


    Bill

  19. #19
    Linda wasn't even a full member. I think she got canned before her probationary period was up.

  20. #20
    Lynda Laurence was a Supreme. And so were Diana, Mary, Florence, Barbara, Cindy, Jean, Scherrie, and Susaye. Who cares if she was a temporary or permanent member. The fact is that she was a Supreme and so were the other 8 ladies.
    Last edited by bradsupremes; 08-18-2010 at 11:45 PM.

  21. #21
    She was a Temp "Sub" as in submarine, hehehehe..... luckily the group resurfaced in 1975!

  22. #22
    jonc Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    She was a Temp "Sub" as in submarine, hehehehe..... luckily the group resurfaced in 1975!
    Your wit is on par with your comments on Diana Ross videos at youtube. Tasteless, tacky and humorless.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    SimplySupreme, nah she wasn't lying. Cindy confirmed it in a interview just last year that Linda or Lynda was just a temporary sub replacement until after Cindy had her baby. Cindy said that she had a contract and "new girl" didn 't and that she was always suppose to come back! Linda has been the one "growing" things all these years as it turns out.

    Okay, so how do you explain Mary's recollection of the events in her Supreme Faith book?

  24. #24
    All the Supremes, perhaps Mary more than most, say one thing and in another situation say another. They forget; the answer depends on the circumstances; different memories get jogged; different feelings provoke different memories; and memories are selective at times. Probably more than anything, the trouble is it all happened so long ago that sometimes they can't remember when asked on the spur of the moment.

    And in the big picture, the hair splitting doesn't matter; they sang together, some for several years; some of them had hits; many were memorable. The concerts were landmarks in the beginning. Central Park was remarkable. It was all good.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by simplysupreme View Post
    Okay, so how do you explain Mary's recollection of the events in her Supreme Faith book?
    She had a hypnotist........ in the article above it was still fresh in her mind. hehehehehe...,.
    Last edited by marv2; 08-19-2010 at 01:55 AM.

  26. #26
    Good Post Rob-There were EIGHT ladies that were Supremes and some of the fans like some more or some like less (OK, Hate) but the music lives on-and that is a good thing!


    Bill

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    A while back I asked the question "Why would anyone care exactly what position Lynda had in the Supremes?" She was on the front and back of album covers, called a member thousands of times and parlayed the gig into a 30 year career with the FLOS, becoming the most stable group of Motowners.

    So why do some people care? Call her critical member, fill in, a sub for Jean or Cindy, lead singer, member, temporary sub ~ does anyone think any of the Supremes really care? As hair splitting fans, it is an academic question but I bet you if we got into this with Diana Ross, she wouldn't even know what people were talking about. She'd look at them like they were nuts.

    You can't airbrush Betty, Barbara, Susaye, Lynda or any of the others.
    This. I agree with this 110%.

  28. #28
    smark21 Guest
    The article from Jet also says that Flo left to start a family. I seem to remember at the height of RTL hysteria 10 years ago Mary Wilson calling Lynda and Scherrie "fakes". If Lynda hadn't participated in Return to Love and been so aggressive in running the FLOS would some Supremes fans be so hot to try to strip her of official Supreme status? And after all these years, does it really matter? Neither Mary or The FLOS aren't getting that many gigs these days do to the poor economy and the oldies market switching to 80's acts.

  29. #29
    just for fyi, when Jean left the group suddenly in august of 1973?, ......Lynda was promised{ by Pedro} , if she returned after having the baby, she would be the lead singer and Cindy would be back by then as well . it didn't work out that way ,of course.

  30. #30
    Davidh, that's a good story. Jean however says she never left. Lynda was trying to build strength by buddying up to THEN Supremes manager Wayne (Wiesbart)and demanding all kinds of concessions. Pedro hadn't been given the job yet. Wayne made the deadly mistake of becoming Lynda Laurence's mouthpiece and siding with her against Mary. It was Wayne making all the empty promises in response to Lynda's demands. Wayne was subsequently fired. Lynda did not care for Pedro and he did not like her either. The only one that Pedro was pushing for to do leads was Mary Wilson.

  31. #31
    jonc Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Davidh, that's a good story. Jean however says she never left. Lynda was trying to build strength by buddying up to THEN Supremes manager Wayne (Wiesbart)and demanding all kinds of concessions. Pedro hadn't been given the job yet. Wayne made the deadly mistake of becoming Lynda Laurence's mouthpiece and siding with her against Mary. It was Wayne making all the empty promises in response to Lynda's demands. Wayne was subsequently fired. Lynda did not care for Pedro and he did not like her either. The only one that Pedro was pushing for to do leads was Mary Wilson.
    The lengths you will go and the stories you will embellish and spin to discredit Lynda Laurence is baffling, bewildering and pathetic. What has Lynda Laurence ever done to you? You'd think you were an actual former Supreme the way you get in their business.

  32. #32
    Jonc, my friend..........."in mind only" these things do happen!

    And to think it all started with a hairbrush in front of a mirror!

  33. #33
    MissLish Guest
    I am trying to determine why any of this is pertinent, and why anyone would still care after all these years. This topic is tired, the only reason I peep in is to entertain myself with they hysteria and energy fans choose to engage in on this meaningless side note to Supremes history. The fervor in which some fans work themselves into over this is highly camp and thoroughly entertaining.

  34. #34
    jonc Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Jonc, my friend..........."in mind only" these things do happen!

    And to think it all started with a hairbrush in front of a mirror!
    Maybe it was Marv's hand clutching a hairbrush in front of that mirror but Lynda Laurence stole his dream.

  35. #35
    jonc Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by MissLish View Post
    I am trying to determine why any of this is pertinent, and why anyone would still care after all these years. This topic is tired, the only reason I peep in is to entertain myself with they hysteria and energy fans choose to engage in on this meaningless side note to Supremes history. The fervor in which some fans work themselves into over this is highly camp and thoroughly entertaining.
    Wise words from my dear Miss Lish. xxx

  36. #36
    MissLish Guest
    Wasn't Marv2 at one time a Temp Supreme, Jon C? Or, is that just a rumor someone started to fuel the hysteria?

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