Wikia

The Supremes Wiki

The Primettes

Talk0
136pages on
this wiki

Primettes

Betty McGlown, Mary Wilson, Diane Ross, Florence Ballard

Edit

Betty McGlown {1959-1960}


"The Supremes" originally came together as a quartet known as The Primette in 1959. Then, four young teenage girls Betty McGlown, Mary Wilson, Diane (Diana) Ross, and Florence Ballard grouped at the behest of Milton Jenkins, a manager then for a group known as "The Primes" (then featuring future Temptations Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.) After winning a talent contest in Canada, (for a whopping $15.00 prize that Mary somehow misplaced) The Primettes' sights were set on making a record. In hopes of getting the group signed to their local upstart label, "Motown" in 1960 Ross asked an old neighbor, "Miracles" lead singer William "Smokey" Robinson, to help the group land an audition for Motown executive Berry Gordy. Robinson liked the girls and agreed to help, however, he also liked their guitarist, Marvin Tarplin. With the quartet's permission he hired Tarplin, who became the guitarist for The Miracles. Robinson arranged for The Primettes to audition a cappella for Gordy. Gordy however, claimed that he felt the girls too young and inexperienced to be recording artists, and told them to come back once they had graduated high school. Undaunted, later that year "The Primettes" recorded their only single for another local label, "Lu Pine Records." The Diane-led single, "Tears of Sorrow", backed with Mary and Florence's lead on "Pretty Baby" failed to find an audience. Shortly thereafter, McGlown became engaged and left the group. Local youth Barbara Martin was McGlown's quick replacement. Barbara Martin {1960-1962}


1

The Primettes: (clockwise) Diane Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Barbara Martin

With Barbara Diane Martin as their new fourth, "The Primettes" returned to Motown on a regular basis, constantly waiting for their chance at fame. They would catch the bus every day and hang around the offices admiring their more-established future label-mates recording and walking through the lobby. On several occasions they were lucky enough to be permitted to perform hand-claps, foot-stomps, and even background vocals for other artists such as Mabel John, and Mary Wells. Berry Gordy finally signed the group to Motown in 1961, however not as "The Primettes." He requested that they find a new name for themselves as no one even knew what a "Primette" was. Florence Ballard was given a list of names to choose from that included such monikers as "The Sweet P's," "The Jewelettes," "The Darleens," and "The Supremes" among others. She chose the name "Supremes" because it was different, and didn't have an "ettes" at the end of it. Initially her group-mates were keen on the idea of being called "The Supremes" as they thought it sounded too masculine (a male group from the 50's had been named "The Supremes" and Ruby & The Romantics (featuring three male vocalists) had been called "The Supremes" as well.) However, despite their disappointment, the girls began recording a variety of songs by producers such as Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. A handful of these tracks would eventually make up The Supremes' first album, 1962's "Meet The Supremes." However, The Supremes that appeared on the cover of the LP was a trio as Martin left in the spring of 1962.

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki