Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Florence Ballard!!

Today would have been Florence Ballard's 69th birthday.
She was born on June 30, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan.

I'm not going to take too much time explaining who she was. If you didn't know that she was one of the original Supremes before it became Diana Ross And The, here are a few pertinent facts.

She was the leader who founded the group.

She chose the name The Supremes. They had been called The Primettes.

She sang lead on many live performances, but by the time Motown signed the group, Berry Gordy had decided that it was Diana Ross who would sing the leads.

The group was a victim of their own success. When their #1 hit "Where Did Our Love Go?" was followed immediately by another #1 song ("Baby Love") Motown decided not to tinker with their formula. Mary Wilson and Flo both petitioned strongly to sing lead on more songs (not even the singles necessarily)  but were consistently denied. For example, they strongly wanted producers Holland-Dozier-Holland to give each Supreme a verse in the song "Stop! In The Name of Love" but in the end, Diana got them all.

Florence left the group slash was expelled in the spring of 1967. She was still singing on the recordings released for some time after that, most noticeably, "Reflections."

After Florence was gone, the "group" was gone. Diana was THE star; Mary and Cindy Birdsong were slowly but surely cleared off the stage.

Florence tried to have a solo career, but was not successful. She battled her weight as well as alcohol during the last few years of her life. She died on February 22, 1976.

We miss you, Flo!

Here's The Supremes LIVE, when you could really hear Flo and Mary on back-up vocals.
That's Flo on the left, Mary on the right.

No comments:

Post a Comment