Mary Wilson, founder member of the Supremes, has died aged 76.
Along with her childhood friends, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross, The Supremes became the first, biggest and best of the pop cult of girl groups, the biggest vocal group of all time.
I don’t think there’s a person whose heart is not lifted when the opening bars of a Supremes song comes on the radio. 'Stop!' 'Come See About Me', 'Back In My Arms Again' and later things became more epic than pure pop, take a listen to 'Love Child'.
The hits for Tamla Motown were mostly written for the group by the best pop songwriters in the world, Holland-Dozier-Holland. 'Stoned Love', The Supremes’ anti-war number one single, recorded late into their career with Jean Terrell on lead vocals, is maybe my favourite pop song of all time. In all The Supremes had an incredible 12 number-one singles and for a time in the 60s were the most popular vocal group on the face of the earth.
Millions of more people will know The Supremes story from the Dreamgirls movie, which was based on Mary Wilson’s New York Times best selling history of the group.
In 2009, our Reviews Editor, Jason Lewis worked with Mary Wilson at the launch of The Story of The Supremes costume exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, “She was remarkable, such brilliance. Mary Wilson sparkled,” he says.
A social activist, a fighter, and a great entertainer, the music Mary Wilson made were some of the most joyous the western world has known.
Where Did Our Love Go
You Can’t Hurry Love
(the song Phil Collins attempted to ruin for the world) - blink and you’ll miss Diana Ross catching her earring around 2mins in. Svelte...
Michael Row the Boat Ashore on Tarzan
Mary Wilson interview
in 2020 touching on amongst other things Black Lives Matter and the history of racial injustice in the US. - Great interview.
Mary Wilson website