Ad blocker interference detected!
Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers
Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.
Following an exhausting European tour in early 1977, "The Supremes," then consisting of original member Mary Wilson, Scherrie Payne, and Susaye Greene played their final venue at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, England on Sunday June 12, 1977. The concert was intially planned only as Mary Wilson's Farewell show, with Payne and Greene planning to continue the group with a new third member in her place. Within a month however, Wilson was rehearsing two more women to tour as a new group of "Supremes."
A New BeginningEdit
According to Wilson, with her departure, Motown had let "The Supremes" go on hiatus despite the group still having several South American tour-dates to complete. At the time, Scherrie and Susaye had not yet found a replacement singer, and were unable to complete the dates themselves. They chose not to continue with Mary because they disagreed with Pedro on the handling of the group. Pedro had been acting as the group's manager since the mid-70's. At the time Mary was still signed to Motown as a member of "The Supremes," and if they did not fulfill these contracts, the venues would sue. Mary and Pedero being in charge of the group at that time, and in charge of all the bookings, either had to know these dates were on the books, or accepted them because the money was good and couldn't afford to not attend. Even after several years of limited success, the Suprems still had a draw for live performances. Therefore, at seven months pregnant, with only a couple of days to prepare, and still not having fully recovered from the European tour, Wilson took it upon herself to hire new singers, not carrying anything about Scherrie and Susaye continuing with The Supremes without her. Initially she had wanted to hire former Supreme, Lynda Laurence. But unfortunately, Laurence was unable to return. According to Lynda, she was never asked. Cindy Birdsong, whom was then still signed to Motown as a member of The Supremes as well, was happy to go along, bringing her son David along with her. Meanwhile, through Reggie Wilkins a former employee, Mary found singer Deborah "Debbie Sharpe." Debbie had sung professionally with the "Oral Roberts World Action Singers," and therefore had both concert and television experience. Despite her having left "The Supremes" previously in the spring of 1976, Birdsong was also still contractually signed to Motown as a member of "The Supremes." The three-week tour began in Caracas, Venezuela, and was composed of mostly small clubs. According to Wilson every minute was nerve-racking. Neither the gowns nor the musicians' music charts/sheets had arrived by the time they reached the venue. Shortly after they arrived, Mary received word that Motown did not approve of her taking out another group of "Supremes," even though they were not billed as "The Supremes." Prior to the tour, her husband and manager, Pedro Ferrer had warned all promoters and television executives not to announce the trio as "The Supremes" but as "Mary Wilson of The Supremes." However, despite the company's displeasure and the fact that it owned the rights/distribution rights to the name "Supremes," Motown never cancelled the tour.