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Showing posts with label Christmas Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Music. Show all posts

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Legend:Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis

Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. (born May 27, 1935) is an American jazz composer, pianist and radio personality. He has been referred to as "the great performer",a title reflectin g his performance style and musical selections which display his early gospel playing and classical training (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) along with his love of jazz and other musical forms. Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received five gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.

Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Ramsey Lewis, Sr. and Pauline Lewis. Lewis began taking piano lessons at the age of four. At 15 he joined his first jazz band, The Cleffs. The seven-piece group provided Lewis his first involvement with jazz; he would later join Cleffs drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt and bassist Eldee Young to form the Ramsey Lewis Trio. He has a grandson, named Ramsey Lewis who lives in California, but used to attend your local high school in Chicago's Northside.

The trio started as primarily a jazz unit and released their first album, Ramsey Lewis And The Gentlemen of Swing, in 1956. Following their 1965 hit The In Crowd (the single reached #5 on the pop charts, and the album #2) they concentrated more on pop material. Young and Holt left in 1966 to form the Young-Holt Trio and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White. White was replaced by Maurice Jennings in 1970. Later, Franky Donaldson and Billy "The Bhudda" Dickens replaced Jennings and Eaton; Felton Crews also appeared on many 1980's releases.

By 1966, Lewis was one of the nation’s most successful jazz pianists, topping the charts with The In Crowd, Hang On Sloopy, and Wade in the Water. Many of his recordings attracted a large non-jazz audience. In the '70s, Lewis often played electric piano, although by later in the decade he was sticking to acoustic and using an additional keyboardist in his groups.

In addition to recording and performing, Lewis hosted a morning show on Chicago "smooth jazz" radio station WNUA (95.5 FM) until May 22, 2009. His weekly syndicated radio program Legends of Jazz, created in 1990, features recordings from artists such as David Sanborn, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Miles Davis. The show can be heard in 60 U.S. cities and overseas. On December 4, 2006, the Ramsey Lewis Morning Show became part of Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network, simulcasting on other Smooth Jazz stations across the country for the first time. However, the show was still based in Chicago until it was cancelled when WNUA switched over to a Spanish format.

In 2006, a well-received 13-episode Legends of Jazz television series hosted by Lewis was broadcast on public TV nationwide and featured live performances by a variety of jazz artists including Larry Gray, Lonnie Smith, Joey Defrancesco, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Pat Metheny and Tony Bennett.

Lewis is artistic director of Jazz at Ravinia (an annual feature at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois) and helped organize Ravinia's Jazz Mentor Program. Ramsey also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Merit School of Music, a Chicago inner-city music program and The Chicago High School for the Arts, the new public arts high school in Chicago. Early in 2005, the Ramsey Lewis Foundation was created to help connect at-risk children to the world of music. As an offshoot of that foundation, Lewis plans to form a Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra. In January 2007, the Dave Brubeck Institute invited Lewis to join its Honorary Board of Friends at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Lewis is an Honorary Board member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. Lewis is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. In May 2008, Lewis received an honorary doctorate from Loyola University Chicago upon delivering the keynote address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

Lewis still lives in Chicago, Illinois, the city of his musical roots. He has seven children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


As A Sideman:

Max Roach – Art Blakey – Percussion Discussion (Appr. 1957) (Chess)
Max Roach - Max (1958)


Legends of Jazz: Showcase (with Ramsey Lewis).(2006)

Thanks to: Avaxhome,, ,, Bubu Hans,,Camillo,,,,, My Jazz World,
Mr.Moo,,,Nemo,,,,, Vel_Kam,, Zand...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Legend: Al Green

b. AIbert Greene, 13th April 1946, Forrest City, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Al Green was born in Forrest City in Arkansas. He began his singing career at the age of nine in his fathers group, the Green Brothers. Al was the sixth of ten children born to Robert and Cora Greene. The Green Brothers toured throughout the South in the mid-'50s, before the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Al later left the group and formed a Rock / R & B band called Al Greene and the Creations, which then became re-titled Al Greene and The Soul Mates.
The latter incarnation released a single called 'Back Up Train', which was later to be featured on Al's solo album release. Al's father removed him from the group when he caught Al listening to Jackie Wilson. Al Greene's debut solo LP was released on the Hot Line imprint in 1967, and was called 'Back Up Train'. Around this time Al came to the attention of the legendary producer Willie Mitchell.
In 1969, Willie hired him as a vocalist for a Texas show with his band, and then asked him to sign with the label. In 1970, Al recorded the album 'Green Is Blues' with his new partner. The follow up LP, 'Al Green Gets Next to You' (released in 1970), was a success and included four gold singles. 'Let's Stay Together' (released in 1972) was an even bigger success, as was 'I'm Still In Love With You' (released in 1972). 'Call Me' continued the success, a set followed by 'Al Green Explores Your Mind' (released in 1974) containing the song 'Take Me to the River', later covered by Talking Heads, amongst others. The following year Al released '(I'm So) Tired Of Being Alone', whose success set the scene for the following 5 years, where Al recorded 9 albums, had seven top ten hits and sold 30 million records!
Disaster struck on the 18th of October 1974, when Al was left with severe burns on his back, stomach and arm after an argument with a friend and partner, Mary Woodson (whom Al had met whilst performing in the New York State Correctional Facility. Mary was visiting a friend at the establishment). She had told Al she was not attached, although she was married with children at the time. Mary burst in whillst Al was taking a bath and poured boiling grits over his back and then shot herself dead, which left the singer with second degree burns. Although she was already married, Woodson reportedly became upset when Green refused to marry her. This tragic accident led to Al re-assessing his life and he decided to turn to Gospel as a healer.
He joined the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, where he still preaches and sings to the congregation today. Al recorded two soul / gospel albums entitled 'The Belle Album ' in 1977 and 'Truth N'Time' in 1978, and, during live performances, he still sang his older, successful, secular material.
Disaster struck yet again in 1979, when Al fell onto a steel instrument case in Cincinnatti, which led to a 15 day stay in hospital. After this incident, Al stuck strictly to his Gospel singing for a while, feeling that the Lord was punishing him in some way. His first completely Gospel record arrived in 1980, entitled 'The Lord Will Make A Way' for the Myrrh imprint. This album won Al a Grammy for the Best Soul Gospel Performer.
By 1985, Al had joined A & M Records, where he worked with Willie Mitchell again on the album 'Going Away'. The following year saw the release of 'Soul Survivor', which moved Al back into a more soulful / gospel vein again. He hit the charts the same year with the Arthur Baker produced single 'The Message Is Love'. Al was also featured in the 1988 movie 'Scrooged' recording the song 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart', a duet with Annie Lennox. By 1993, Al was recording with Arthur Baker again, and released the album 'Don't Look Back'.
Al's first secular album in many years was 'Your Heart's In Good Hands' (released in 1995). The same year hewas inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003 Al released a secular album entitled 'I Can't Stop', his first collaboration with Willie Mitchell since 1985's 'He is the Light'. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Al at number 65 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
2005 saw the release of 'Everything's O.K.', which was also a collaboration with Willie Mitchell on this release. Willie returned to the studio in 2008, which saw the release of 'Lay It Down'. 'Lay It Down', includes tracks featuring John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and Anthony Hamilton. Al was, also, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 BET Awards on the 24th of June 2008. Soul fans look to his single 'Keep On Pushing Love' as one of his finest recent releases.
  • Back Up Train (1967)
  • Green Is Blues (Hi 1970)
  • Al Green Gets Next To You (Hi 1971)
  • Let's Stay Together (Hi 1972)
  • Al Green (Bell 1972)
  • I'm Still In Love With You (Hi 1972)
  • Call Me (Hi 1973)
  • Livin' For You (Hi 1973)
  • Al Green Explores Your Mind (Hi 1974)
  • Radio Special: Self Portrait (1974)
  • Al Green Is Love (Hi 1975)
  • Full Of Fire (Hi 1976)
  • Have A Good Time (Hi 1976)
  • The Belle Album (Hi 1977)
  • Truth 'N' Time (Hi 1978)
  • Love Ritual (1978)
  • The Lord Will Make A Way (Myrrh 1980)
  • Higher Plane (Myrrh 1981)
  • Tokyo Live (Hi 1981)
  • Precious Lord (Myrhh 1982)
  • I'll Rise Again (Myrrh 1983)
  • The Christmas Album (1983)
  • Trust In God (Myrrh 1984)
  • He Is The Light (A&M 1985)
  • Going Away (A&M 1986)
  • White Christmas (Hi 1986)
  • Soul Survivor (A&M 1987)
  • I Get Joy (A&M 1989)
  • Love Is Reality (1992)
  • Gospel Soul (1993)
  • Don't Look Back (RCA 1994)
  • In Good Hands (MCA 1995)
  • On Fire In Tokyo (Xenon 1998)
  • Feels Like Christmas (2001)
  • I Can't Stop (Blue Note 2003)
  • Everything's O.K. (Blue Note 2005)
  • Lay It Down (Blue Note 2008)

  • 1973 - Live at WNET Studios
  • 1974-10-04 - los angeles, ca
  • 1987-06-21 - Chicago Blues Festival - low bitrate, need better!
  • 2008-06-20 - Rochester Jazz Festival, NY
  • 2009-06-12 - Bonnaroo, Manchester TN 

  • The Immortal Soul Of Al Green (4 CD set) (2001)
  • Collector's Edition (3 CD, 2007)
  • Al Green Sings the Gospel (1975)
  • A Deep Shade of Green (1996)
  • The Love Songs Collection
  • The Definitive Greatest Hits (1975)



Thanks to: Fresh Sly, Zand, Blak's Lair, Noise Junkie, Nathan's Rock Moat

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Legendary Group: The Temptations

The Temptations were formed in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., by former members of two local R & B groups. Eddie Kendricks (b. Edward James Kendrick, 17th December 1939, Union Springs, Alabama, U.S.A., d. 5th October 1992, Baptist Medical Center-Princeton, Ensley, Alabama, U.S.A.) and Paul Williams (b. 2nd July 1939, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A., d. 17th August 1973, Detroit Michigan, U.S.A.), both sang with 'The Primes'.

The Primes

Melvin Franklin (b. David Melvin English, 12th October 1942, Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.A., d. 23rd February 1995, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), Eldridge Bryant (Eldridge 'Al' Bryant, b. 28th September 1939, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 26th October 1975, Orange County, Florida, U.S.A., buried in Thomasville, Georgia, U.S.A.) and Otis Williams (b. Otis Clayborn Williams, 30th October 1941, Texarkana, Texas, U.S.A. His mother was Hazel Lee Williams) were part of 'The Distants'.

...later Temptations included...

  • David Ruffin (b. 18th January 1941, Whyknot, Mississippi, U.S.A., d. 1st June 1991, Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A.)
  • Dennis Edwards (b. Dennis Wayne Edwards Jnr, 3rd February 1943, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.)
  • G.C. Cameron (b. George Curtis Cameron, 21st September 1945, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.)
  • Louis Price (b. Louis Bernhardt Price, 29th March 1953, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.)
  • Ronald Wilson (of the group Bloodstone)
  • Raymond Davis (b. Raymond Davis, 29th March 1940, Sumter, South Carolina, U.S.A. d. 5th July 2005, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick,U.S.A.)
  • Damon Harris (b. Damon Othell Harris, 3rd July 1950, Baltimore Maryland, U.S.A.)
  • Glenn Leonard (b. Glenn Carl Leonard, 11th June 1947, Washington D.C., U.S.A.)
  • Harry McGilberry (b. Harry McGilberry Jnr, 19th January 1950, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A. d. 3rd April 2006)
  • Richard Street (b. Richard Dale Street, 5th October 1942, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
  • Ron Tyson (b. Ronald Tyson, 8th February 1948, Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A.)
  • Ali 'Ollie' Woodson (b. Ollie Creggett, 12th September 1951, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
  • Richard Owens (b. Richard Edgar 'Ricky' Owens, 24th April 1939, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. d. 6th December 1995, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.A.)
  • Dennis Williams
  • Theo Peoples (b. Theoplis Peoples III, 1961, St. Louis Missouri, U.S.A.)
  • and Cal Osborne.

Additional participants:

  • Cornelius Grant (guitarist and musical director, b 27th April 1943, Navarro County, Texas, U.S.A.)
  • Barrington Scott 'Bo Henderson (b. 10th June 1956, Washington, Pennsylvannia, U.S.A.)
  • Joseph Lucian 'Joe' Herndon (b. 5th January 1949, Washington D.C., U.S.A.)
  • Terry Wayne Weeks ( b. 23rd December 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.)

The Temptations were formed out of two groups, the Primes (whose line up included Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and Kell Osborne) and the Distants (who in 1959 recorded the single 'Come On' for the Northern imprint). The Primes manager had even put together a girl version of the group, the Primettes (three of the Primettes, namely, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were later to form the Supremes). After the Primes and the Distants had merged, they became the Elgins, a name that was later to change to the Temptations in 1961, at the request of Berry Gordy, who took the group to his Motown Records imprint. Under the new mantle, they recorded three sides for the Miracle label (a Motown subsidiary), one of which was under the name of the Pirates. They later moved to the Gordy imprint where they made the charts in 1962 with the song 'Dream Come True'. Gordy then teamed up the Temptations with Smokey Robinson, a liaison that was to prove highly fruitful.

In 1963, Eldridge Bryant left the group (or was fired after physically attacking Paul Williams) and David Ruffin was recruited to the ranks, bringing to the music scene, what is considered by many to be, the 'classic' Temptations line-up. David's coarser delivery proved to be the perfect foil for Eddie Kendricks' softer falsetto style of singing. Between 1963 and 1965 the group recorded several chart hits, kicking off proceedings with 'The Way You Do The Things You Do'. 1965 saw the group hitting the number one spot with the song 'My Girl', with David Ruffin taking the lead. 'It's Growing', 'Since I Lost My Baby', 'My Girl' and 'Get Ready' followed on with varying levels of success into the following year.

A parent album was released entitled 'Temptations Sing Smokey', an album considered by many pundits to be the finest album of that decade. By the end of 1966, Smokey took a back seat as the groups Producer, with Norman Whitfield taking the helm. Norman was to be employed in this role for the following decade, teaming up with the singer / songwriter Barrett Strong. 'Ain't To Proud To Beg' was the initial release under the new tutelage. 'Beauty Is Only Skin Deep' made the Top Three, followed by 'I'm Losing You' and 'You're My Everything'.
The group also charted at the top spot with the classic song 'I Wish It Would Rain', the groups sixth number one tune. By this time, David Ruffin had taken on the role of singing lead, which led to requests that he had an individual credit for his efforts. This was refused and, after failing to appear at a 1968 live performance, the other four Temptations fired him and David left the line-up. The lead singer in the group the Contours, Dennis Edwards, was then drafted into the ranks.

Norman Whitfield, following a need to take the group in a new direction, moved the groups sound into an area that reflected the burgeoning psychedelic scene of the late Sixties. 'Cloud Nine' reflected this political shift with it's obvious drug connotations. The Civil Rights movement of the time also became reflected in Norman and Barrett Strongs writings, typified in the song 'Ball Of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)'. The issues effecting teenagers were addressed by the song 'Runaway Child, Running Wild'. Personal issues were also addressed in the form of 'I Can't Get Next To You', a song that hit the number one spot. Even the Vietnam War came under Norman's scrutiny in the guise of 'Stop The War Now'.

Norman Whitfield set a musical styling that was way ahead of it's time and still influences the songwriters of today. The groups new direction left Eddie Kendricks feeling uncomfortable with his vocal stylings being suited more to a ballad format. He recorded some sides with the Supremes during the latter part of that decade. Eddie did receive the lead role on the number one hit 'Just My Imagination', a beautiful song, however, he was to leave the group in 1971 to pursue a solo career.

Richard Owens was then drafted in to replace Eddie, who was in turn substituted for Damon Harris the same year. Paul Williams then departed the group, replaced by another member of the Distants, Richard Street. In 1971, the group had a hit with 'Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)'. The following year, the group scored another number one hit with the song 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone', a song that perfectly embodies the production techniques of Norman Whitfield. The song was later to win a Grammy Award.

Paul Williams, tragically, commited suicide in 1973 by shooting himself, following years of depression and drug abuse. Norman and Barrett's liaison ended the same year. The groups fortunes waned somewhat, although there were some excellent releases, including 'Masterpiece', The Plastic Man' and 'Let Your Hair Down' in 1973, followed by 'Happy People' two years later. In 1975, Norman Whitfield left Motown, Damon Harris had left the line-up, replaced by Glenn Leonard. 1976, saw Dennis Edwards leaving, Louis Price replacing him, and the group leaving Motown for the Atlantic imprint after the group recorded 1976's 'The Temptations Do the Temptations', their final album for Motown.

At Atlantic the group had a dabble with the disco market, releasing the LP's 'Bare Back' and 'Hear to Tempt You'. This change of labels brought the group little chart success resulting in a return to the Motown stable. Dennis Edwards rejoined the ranks and in 1980 the group released the album 'Power'.

In 1982, they teamed up with Rick James, recording the album 'Reunion', featuring the dancer 'Standing On The Top'. This album also saw a return to the fold for Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin, however, this arrangement was to be shortlived. After the departure of the pair, Ron Tyson replaced Glenn Leonard, and Ali 'Ollie' Woodson took over the role of lead vocalist from Dennis Edwards. In 1984, the group charted again with the song 'Treat Her Like A Lady', their most successful song in a decade. The parent album produced several singles including the title song 'Truly For You'.

Tragedy struck in 1991 when David Ruffin died on the 1st of June 1991, after overdosing on cocaine. On the 5th of October 1992, Eddie Kendricks died at the age of 52 of lung cancer. In 1995, Melvin Franklin died after suffering a brain seizure, leaving Otis Williams (who published his autobiography in 1988) as the sole surviving founder member from the original line-up.

The Temptations continued to record and perform, achieving success in 1998 with their excellent outing 'Phoenix Rising' (featuring the band utilising a sample from 'My Girl'), on the excellent song 'Stay'. A new, Grammy winning, album arrived in the year 2000, entitled 'Ear-resistable' (on Motown), which was well received. The line-up was by now, Otis Williams, Harry McGilberry Jr. (later replaced by Joe Herndon, former bass singer for Pookie Hudson & The Spaniels), Terry Wayne Weeks, Barrington Scott Henderson and Ron Tyson.

In 2001, the Temptations returned to the recording studio recording the album 'Awesome'. In 2003, G.C. Cameron joined the groups ranks, and in 2004 the group released the album 'Legacy'. Harry McGilberry passed away on the 3rd of April 2006. The Temptations are, probably, the most enduring, hardworking and successful group in Soul Music.


  • Meet The Temptations (Gordy 1964)
  • The Temptations Sing Smokey (Gordy 1965)
  • The Temptin' Temptations (Gordy 1965)
  • Gettin' Ready (Gordy 1966)
  • Temptations Live! (Gordy 1967)
  • With A Lot O'Soul (Gordy 1967)
  • The Temptations In A Mellow Mood (Gordy 1967)
  • Wish It Would Rain (Gordy 1968)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: Diana Ross And The Supremes join The Temptations (Motown 1968)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: TCB (Motown 1968)
  • Live At The Copa (Gordy 1968)
  • Cloud Nine (Gordy 1969)
  • The Temptations Show (Gordy 1969)
  • Puzzle People (Gordy 1969)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: Together (Motown 1969)
  • with Diana Ross And The Supremes: On Broadway (Motown 1969)
  • Psychedelic Shack (Gordy 1970)
  • Live At London's Talk Of The Town (Gordy 1970)
  • The Temptations Christmas Card (Gordy 1970)
  • Sky's The Limit (Gordy 1971)
  • Solid Rock (Gordy 1972)
  • All Directions (Gordy 1972)
  • Masterpiece (Gordy 1973)
  • In Japan (1973)
  • 1990 (Gordy 1973)
  • A Song For You (Gordy 1975)
  • House Party (Gordy 1975)
  • Wings Of Love (Gordy 1976)
  • The Temptations Do The Temptations (Gordy 1976)
  • Hear To Tempt You (Atlantic 1977)
  • Bare Back (Atlantic 1978)
  • Power (Gordy 1980)
  • Give Love At Christmas (Gordy 1980)
  • The Temptations (Gordy 1981)
  • with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks: Reunion (Gordy 1982)
  • Surface Thrills (Gordy 1983)
  • Back To Basics (Gordy 1984)
  • Truly For You (Gordy 1984)
  • Touch Me (Gordy 1985)
  • To Be Continued ... (Gordy 1986)
  • Together Again (Motown 1987)
  • Special (Motown 1989) 
  • Milestone (Motown 1991)
  • For Lovers Only (1995)
  • Phoenix Rising (Motown 1998)
  • Live at San Pablo (2000)
  • Ear-resistable (Motown 2000)
  • Awesome (Motown 2001)
  • Legacy (Motown 2004)
  • Reflections (Motown 2006)
  • Back to Front (2007)
  • Still Here (2010)

  • Just Let Me Know (1964)
  • It's Growing (1965)


  • "Ball Of Confusion"
  • "The Temptations" TV series soundtrack




Dennis Edwards


  • Don't Look Any Further (Gordy 1984)
  • Coolin' Out (Gordy 1985)
  • Essential Collection

  • Don't Look Any Further (Feat. Siegah Garrett) (1984)
  • Don't 'Look Any Further [12" Single] (1984)
  • Don't Look Any Further [Remix] (2008)

Special Thanks To
Bentley Funk, Never Enough Rhodes, Funk Classic Master, Boogie Palace, Baia boy, Fullundie, The Crooner's Corner, Oloraviejo, Avax, A Small Selection of Whatever Fills My Head, Love in the Ghetto, Taringa and ZAND.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Diana Ross & The Supremes Discography

The Supremes comprised of:

  • Diana Ross (b. 26th March 1944, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
  • Florence Ballard (b. 30th June 1943, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., d. 22 February 1976)
  • Mary Wilson (b. 6th March 1944, Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.A.)
  • Betty McGlown (b. 1943, Detroit Michigan, U.S.A.)

other members at various times included:

  • Barbara Martin (between the years 1960 - 1962)
  • Cindy Birdsong (between the years 1967 – 1972 and 1973 – 1976)
  • Jean Terrell (between the years 1970 – 1973)
  • Lynda Laurence (between the years 1972 – 1973)
  • Scherrie Payne (b 14th November 1944, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
  • Susaye Greene (between the years 1976 – 1977)

The Supremes were, probably, the first Black female group to take the art of merging popular music and fashion to another level, whilst still retaining their own R & B heritage without any artistical surrender. Their first incarnation emerged under the group name of Primettes. Betty McGlown was dating Paul Williams of The Primes at the time, and was the first Primette. Florence Ballard met Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams of the Primes, the mangager of the male group, Milton Jenkins, created the Primettes. The Primes were later to become The Temptations. The founding members of the Primettes were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, (the then) Diane Ross and Betty McGlown, whom all lived at the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit. Florence Ballard had recruited Mary Wilson, who in turn recruited Diana Ross.

The Primettes issued a single on a small local label, for Lupine Records (a label created just for them) entitled 'Tears of Sorrow' b/w 'Pretty Baby'. Barbara Martin was to replace Betty McGlown in 1960. In 1960, Diana Ross asked an old neighbour, the Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson, to help the group land an audition for Motown executive Berry Gordy. Smokey organised the audition, however, he was keen to recruit to his own groups ranks, the Primette's guitarist, Marv Tarplin. After concerns regarding the Primette's ages, the group signed with Motown the following year as The Supremes. Barbara Martin then left the group in early 1962, and Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson became the Supreme line-up familiar to many. The Supreme's name was only decided upon following the suggestions of 'The Darleens', 'The Sweet Ps', 'The Melodees', 'The Royaltones' and 'The Jewelettes'. Diana Ross was aginst the name 'the Supremes', initially, as she felt the name had a male influence.

The Supremes early releases saw only minor success, leaving the group with a regular reputation for missing out on chart success. Diana Ross then took the place of Florence Ballard as the group's regular lead vocalist, at Berry Gordy's suggestion, which did bring chart success at last. 'When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes', was the group's first hit in December 1963 (the song made number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100).

In the spring of 1964, The Supremes recorded the single 'Where Did Our Love Go?', (a song originally destined for The Marvelettes, who turned it down). 'Where Did Our Love Go' went on to reach number one on the U.S. pop charts,and was the first song to appear on the U.K. pop charts, where it reached number three. The follow-up releases, 'Baby Love' (which was was nominated for the 1965 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording), 'Come See About Me', 'Stop! In The Name Of Love' and 'Back In My Arms Again', all topped the U.S. singles charts, whilst 'Baby Love' became the only record by an American group to reach number 1 in Britain in 1964.

In 1966, 'You Keep Me Hangin' On" was awarded the 1966 Grammy for Best Pop single. Unlike many of her R & B contemporaries, Diana Ross sang the songs, note for note, with little elaboration, allowing her fragile delivery to carry the song into a radio friendly environment. Along with the Motown hit machine behind the group, the women had also become fashion role models for many young Black Americans. Much of this was accomplished under the instruction of Motown chief Berry Gordy and Maxine Powell, who ran Motown's in-house finishing school and Artist Development department. The Supremes had, by now become household names, as well as international stars. By the end of 1966, the group had scored further success on the national charts with the singles, 'I Hear a Symphony', 'You Can't Hurry Love' and 'You Keep Me Hangin' On'.

An album entitled 'The Supremes A' Go-Go', became the first album by an all-female group to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. The Supremes recorded albums of Broadway standards, played residencies at expensive nightclubs, and were groomed by Motown staff as all-round entertainers. A 1967 single, 'The Happening', saw the group attempt to become part of the psychedelic movement. All was not well within the group, as Florence Ballard had grown increasingly unhappy in the supporting role into which Berry Gordy had repositioned her into. Floence began to drink heavily, she put on weight, and at times could no longer comfortably wear many of her stage outfits. Resentful of the attention given to Diana Ross, Florence Ballard relied heavily upon the advice of fellow Supreme Mary Wilson, imparting her belief that Diana and Berry Gordy were intent upon her dismissal from the group. That belief saw fruition in 1967, with Florence becoming replaced by Cindy Birdsong (a former member of the Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles group) Florence Ballard was, eventually, removed in February 1968, when she received a one off payment of $139,804.94 in royalties and earnings.

Florence pursued a short lived solo career with ABC Records. She eventually sank into poverty and died abruptly on 22nd of February 1976 from coronary thrombosis at the age of 32. The Supremes name became changed to Diana Ross and the Supremes, seemingly validating Ballard's concerns. Several other Motown acts followed suit regarding the name changes, with The Vandella's becoming Martha Reeves and the Vandella's being one example. 'Reflections' was released, moving the Supremes into a new musical area, incorporating social commentary.

Examples of this manifested themselves in the songs 'Love Child' and 'I'm Livin' In Shame' (the first of which was another U.S. number 1). The Supremes also formed a successful resurrected partnership / recording partnership with the Temptations, highlighted by the hit single 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me'. During 1969, there were persistent rumours that Berry Gordy was about to launch Diana Ross on a solo career (the pair were rumoured at the time to have become an item). These fears were confirmed at the end of the year, when the Supremes staged a farewell performance. Diana Ross said her goodbyes to the Supremes with the song 'Someday We'll Be Together', a U.S. chart hit on which, ironically, she was the only member of the Supremes to appear. Diana Ross & The Supremes gave their final performance on the 14th of January 1970 at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

This trio recorded the self titled 'Mary, Scherrie and Susaye' in 1976, also releasing 'Hi Energy' the same year, before disbanding the following year. The Supremes then released 'I'm Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking', their final Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and their third number-one single on the disco singles chart. On the 12th of June 1977, The Supremes performed their farewell concert at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. Mary Wilson attempted to assemble a new set of Supremes for recording purposes, and toured Britain in 1978 with Karen Rowland and Karen Jackson in the line-up. This did not come to fruition as the name 'the Supremes' had become the legal ownership of Motown Records. Jean Terrell, Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence won the rights, however, to use the Supremes' name in the UK. Scherrie began recording disco material with producer Ian Levine in 1989, for the Nightmare and Motor City labels. Levine also signed Laurence, Wilson and ex Supreme Susaye Greene to solo contracts and recorded Terrell, Lawrence and Greene for a remake of 'Stoned Love'. In 1988 the Supremes were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

The career of Mary Wilson has also continued with a starring role in the Toronto, Canada production of the stage musical 'The Beehive' in 1989 and the publication of the second volume of her autobiography in 1990. In 2006, the Dreamworks movie vehicle 'Dreamgirls', saw Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson taking on the female lead parts in a movie, allegedly (and loosely), based upon the Supremes recorcding career.


Diana Ross

As a solo artist, Diana Ross is one of the most successful female singers of the rock era. If you factor in her work as the lead singer of the Supremes in the 1960s, she may be the most successful. With her friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin, Ross formed the Primettes vocal quartet in 1959. In 1960, they were signed to local Motown Records, changing their name to the Supremes in 1961. Martin then left, and the group continued as a trio. Over the next eight years, the Supremes (renamed "Diana Ross and the Supremes" in 1967, when Cindy Birdsong replaced Ballard) scored 12 number one pop hits. After the last one, "Someday We'll Be Together" (October 1969), Ross launched a solo career.

Motown initially paired her with writer/producers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who gave her four Top 40 pop hits, including the number one "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (July 1970). Ross branched out into acting, starring in a film biography of Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues (November 1972). The soundtrack went to number one, and Ross was nominated for an Academy Award.

She returned to record-making with the Top Ten album Touch Me in the Morning (June 1973) and its chart-topping title song. This was followed by a duet album with Marvin Gaye, Diana & Marvin (October 1973), that produced three chart hits. Ross acted in her second movie, Mahogany (October 1975), and it brought her another chart-topping single in the theme song, "Do You Know Where You're Going To." That and her next number one, the disco-oriented "Love Hangover" (March 1976), were featured on her second album to be titled simply Diana Ross (February 1976), which rose into the Top Ten.

Ross' third film role came in The Wiz (October 1978). The Boss (May 1979) was a gold-selling album, followed by the platinum-selling Diana (May 1980) (the second of her solo albums with that name, though the other, a 1971 TV soundtrack, had an exclamation mark). It featured the number one single "Upside Down" and the Top Ten hit "I'm Coming Out."

Ross scored a third Top Ten hit in 1980 singing the title theme from the movie It's My Turn. She then scored the biggest hit of her career with another movie theme, duetting with Lionel Richie on "Endless Love" (June 1981). It was her last big hit on Motown; after more than 20 years, she decamped for RCA. She was rewarded immediately with a million-selling album, titled after her remake of the old Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers hit, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," which became her next Top Ten hit. The album also included the Top Ten hit "Mirror, Mirror."

Silk Electric (October 1982) was a gold-seller, featuring the Top Ten hit "Muscles," written and produced by Michael Jackson, and Swept Away (September 1984) was another successful album, containing the hit "Missing You," but Ross had trouble selling records in the second half of the 1980s. By 1989, she had returned to Motown, and by 1993 was turning more to pop standards, notably on the concert album Diana Ross Live: The Lady Sings...Jazz & Blues, Stolen Moments (April 1993).

Motown released a four-CD/cassette box set retrospective, Forever Diana, in October 1993, and the singer published her autobiography in 1994. Take Me Higher followed a year later, and in 1999 she returned with Every Day Is a New Day. 2000's Gift of Love was promoted by a concert tour featuring the Supremes, although neither Mary Wilson nor Cindy Birdsong appeared -- their roles were instead assumed by singers Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne, neither of whom had ever performed with Ross during the group's glory days. In 2006 Motown finally released Ross' lost album Blue, a collection of standards originally intended as the follow-up to Lady Sings the Blues. The album I Love You from 2007 featured new interpretations of familiar love songs. That same year the cable television network BET honored Ross with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Supremes
  • (1963) Meet the Supremes
  • The Supremes Sing Ballads & Blues (cancelled, 1963)
  • (1964) Where Did Our Love Go
  • (1964) A Bit of Liverpool
  • (1965) The Supremes Sing Country Western & Pop
  • Live, Live, Live (cancelled, 1965)
  • (1965) We Remember Sam Cooke
  • (1965) More Hits by the Supremes
  • There's a Place for Us (cancelled, 1965)
  • (1965) At the Copa
  • Tribute to the Girls (cancelled, 1965)
  • (1965) Merry Christmas
  • (1965) With Love
  • (1966) I Hear a Symphony
  • Pure Gold (cancelled, 1966)
  • (1966) The Supremes A' Go-Go
  • (1967) The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland
  • (1968) Live In Amsterdam
  • The Supremes and the Motown Sound (cancelled, 1967)
  • (1967) The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart
  • (1967) Sing and Perform Disney Classics
  • (1967) Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 and 2

Diana Ross & The Supremes
  • (1968) Reflections
  • (1968) Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl [all Merrill/Styne]
  • (1968) Live at London's Talk of the Town
  • (1968) Love Child
  • (1968) Diana Ross and the Supremes Join the Temptations
  • (1968) T.C.B. - Takin' Care of Business (Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations)
  • (1968) Sing Motown
  • (1969) Let the Sunshine In
  • Together (Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations)
  • (1969) Cream of the Crop / alternate
  • (1969) On Broadway (Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations)
  • (1969) Greatest Hits, Vol. 3
  • (1970) Captured Live on Stage! (aka "Farewell")
  • Lost and Found (Rarities, 2 discs)
  • Previously Unreleased
  • Number Ones (2007)
  • Classic
  • 25th Anniversary Vol 2
  • Never Before Released Masters
  • B-Sides 1961-1969
  • Remixes
  • Definitive collection
  • 20 Greatest Hits
  • Love is in our hearts
  • The Silver Collection
  • Greatest Hits - quadraphonic w/ alternate takes
Motown live albums including the Supremes
  • (1963) Live at The Apollo
  • (1965) Motortown Revue In Paris
  • (1970) Motown at the Hollywood Palace
  • Coke On Motown - Supremes sing Coca-Cola commercials
  • Those Fantabulous Strings Play The Supremes Hits - good cheesy lounge!
  • VA - Motown in a Foreign Language - includes foreign language versions of Supremes songs.
  • (1966) Times are Changing - promo single for Equal Opportunities campaign.

The '70s Supremes (With Jean Terrell)
  • (1970) Right On
  • (1970) The Magnificent 7 (The Supremes and the Four Tops)
  • (1970) New Ways but Love Stays
  • (1971) The Return of the Magnificent Seven (The Supremes and the Four Tops)
  • (1971) Touch
  • (1971) Dynamite (The Supremes and the Four Tops)
  • Promises Kept (cancelled, 1972)
  • (1972) Floy Joy
  • (1972) The Supremes Arranged and Produced by Jimmy Webb
  • (1974) Anthology
  • More Unreleased
  • The 70s Anthology

The '70s Supremes (With Scherrie Payne)
  • (1975) The Supremes
  • (1976) High Energy
  • (1976) Mary, Scherrie and Susaye
Remix singles
  • High Energy (Fromage Mother edit)

Diana Ross Discography
  • (1970)Diana Ross
  • (1970)-Everything Is Everything
  • (1971) Diana!
  • (1971) Surrender
  • (1972) Lady Sings The Blues
  • (1973) Touch Me In The Morning
  • (1973) with Marvin Gaye: Diana And Marvin
  • (1973)Last Time I Saw Him(Limited Expanded Edition)
  • (1974) Diana Ross Live At Caesar's Palace
  • (1975) Mahogany
  • (1976) Diana Ross
  • (1977) An Evening With Diana Ross
  • (1977) Baby It's Me
  • (1978) Ross
  • (1979) The Boss
  • (1980) Diana deluxe edition 2 Cds
  • (1981) To Love Again
  • (1981) Why Do Fools Fall In Love
  • (1982) Silk Electric
  • (1983) Ross
  • (1984) Swept Away
  • (1985) Eaten Alive
  • (1987) Red Hot Rhythm N' Blues
  • (1989) Working Overtime
  • (1989) Greatest Hits Live
  • (1991) Force Behind The Power
  • (1993) Stolen Moments - The Lady Sings... Jazz & Blues
  • (1993) Christmas In Vienna with Placido Domingo, José Carreras
  • (1994) Making Spirits Bright (christmas)
  • (1995) Take Me Higher
  • (1998) Very Special Season (christmas)
  • (1999) Every Day Is a New Day / alternate
  • (2006) Blue / FLAC version
  • (2006) I Love You

Diana Ross - Remix albums
  • In Da Mix
  • Some Mixed Tracks
  • Rare Themes
  • Mixed Vol 1
Diana Ross - Remix singles
  • 1995 - 'Take Me Higher' (BT and T-empo mixes)
  • 2007 - 'Love Hangover' (almighty anthem mix)
Diana Ross - Compilations
  • 16 top ten singles 1970-99
  • (2002) The Best Of Diana Ross
  • (1993) The Ultimate Collection
  • (2001) Love and Life - The Very Best of
Diana Ross - miscellaneous
  • Diana Ross : sheet music for piano, guitar, lyrics
  • Diana Ross : discography

Solo releases by other members
  • (1979) Mary Wilson - Mary Wilson
  • (1979) Sherrie and Susaye
  • Florence Ballard - The Supreme Florence

  • (1972) Lady Sings the Blues

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