The Supremacy of the Supremes

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The Supremacy of the Supremes

I wrote about the Supremes recently [Why The Supremes Deserve To Be Held In The Same Regard As The Beatles] and while the headline -- which I did not write, but didn't disagree with -- is click-bait-y, I still fundamentally agree with every word in the piece. I know why women's voices are not valued as highly as men's are. I know why the Beatles became the platonic ideal of Serious Musicianship. I am just going to be like the entitled goose who is always honking to try to offer alternate theories.

When I was writing about Diana Ross for WOMEN WHO ROCK, her essay was the one that I struggled the most with in terms of distilling her career into a 1,500 word essay. (Aretha's was the essay that I was the most terrified of, which is a whole different thing.)

I recently found this notepad entry on my phone that I must have written on the train or out somewhere -- it's the kind of thing I often need to do, write it all out onto the page so I can then take a 30,000 foot view to help me decide where to start and what point I'm trying to make, or sometimes it's a mental version of cleaning off my desk to help me focus.

So this is kind of a notebook dump, but I still thought it was interesting. Based on the date, it was the day before I had to get revisions back to my editor, which makes all the sense in the world. I also can never remember dates and without the reference in front of me I would literally place albums in the wrong years, which is likely another reason this exists.


  1. Gordy would just keep TRYING. “ The Supremes Sing Country Western & Pop,”
  2. “Where did our love go,” the song no one at Motown wanted - H-D-H figuring out how to write for Diana’s voice. on the tour for $600 a week
  3. their songs were HDH at their ultimate - figured out the formula - as much of a hit shop as the brill building
  4. five #1 singles in a row. “the most successful american performers of the 1960’s”? Where / baby love / stop (choreography) / come see about me / back in my arms
  5. she was not originally the lead singer
  6. Supremes: 12 #1 hits, last one was “someday we’ll be together,” oct 1969
  7. Solo career: Ashford & Simpson - 4 top 40 hits, inc “Ain’t no mountain high enough” in July 1970
  8. ACTING: Lady Sings The Blues (1972), soundtrack went to #1 - she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar
  9. Touch Me In The Morning (june 1973)
  10. Diana & Marvin duet album (1973)
  11. Mahogany / Oct 1975 / “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” - she also designed some of the costumes (she studied fashion in high school) - Smokey giving her money to go to cosmetology school
  12. Love Hangover - solo record, march 1976 - #1
  13. The Wiz! Oct 1978.
  14. The Boss May 1979
  15. Diana (May 1980) - Upside Down (#1) “I’m Coming Out” (top 10, nile rogers) ALSO in 1980, title theme from “It’s My Turn”
  16. “Endless Love” with Lionel Richie, June 1981 - LAST MOTOWN ALBUM
  17. RCA. cover of “Why do fools fall in love” - million seller
  18. the rest of the 80s were not productive for her
  19. returned to Motown in 1989
  20. 1993: pop standards - motown releases retrospective in 1993 & she published her autobiography in 1994.
  21. 2000: “the Supremes” but it was only Diana with two backup singers who had never actually been in the supremes
  22. 2007: BET gave her a lifetime achievement award
  23. 2012: Lifetime achievement award from NARAS, because she never won a fucking grammy. TWELVE FUCKING NOMINATIONS She was nominated for Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Upside Down, Touch Me In The Morning, but this some bullshit
  24. Live in central park!! why was i not there