Monday, June 18, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Supremes

Artist:The Supremes
Song:Floy Joy

The Supremes are the most successful vocal group in history. We're all familiar with their hits of the 60s featuring lead singer Diana Ross. The 1972 top twenty hit Floy Joy came after Diana left The Supremes for a solo career. It was as early as 1966 that Supremes Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson complained to Motown owner Berry Gordy that they deserved the star treatment Diana was getting. Martha Reeves complained about this even louder. Mary remained professional but Florence started drinking and gaining weight. But Gordy was reluctant to fire her because he thought their onstage banter was a big part of their live shows and he didn't want to upset the venues. But when Florence became unreliable in 1967 and missed shows and recording sessions, Gordy had no choice but to replace Florence with Cindy Birdsong of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. She officially replaced Florence on July 1, 1967. Florence Ballard attempted a solo career unsuccessfully and died in 1976. The Supremes continued to have hits like Love Child. But by late 1969, it became clear that Diana Ross was leaving for a solo career. Gordy auditioned several singers to replace her including Syreeta Wright but settled on a 24 year old singer he discovered in Miami. Her name was Jean Terrell and she was the sister of heavyweight boxer Ernie Terrell. After Jean was officially introduced in Jan. 1970, Gordy wanted to replace Jean with Syreeta. Mary Wilson said no and Gordy said he wouldn't work with The Supremes anymore. This version of The Supremes had some hits including Up The Ladder To The Roof and Stoned Love in 1970. Floy Joy was their final top twenty hit in 1972. It was written and produced by Smokey Robinson. Cindy Birdsong left soon after and was replaced by Lynda Laurence. She didn't last long and Cindy returned. But Motown moved to Los Angeles and The Supremes were one of several acts who were left behind. Jean Terrell left in 1973 and was replaced by Scherrie Payne (Freda Payne's sister). Jean went on to a significant solo career in the late 70s. After more personnel changes with no success, The Supremes disbanded in 1977. You can get Floy Joy on this 2CD comp from Hip-O. Here's The Supremes featuring lead vocals by Mary Wilson and Jean Terrell performing Floy Joy on Soul Train 1972.

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