(February 10, 2021). In honor of the legendary Mary Wilson and her extraordinary, yet unsung career as a member of the iconic Motown group The Supremes, djrobblog has created the ultimate tribute – a collection of songs on which the longest-serving member sang lead or co-lead.
As everyone knows, the late Mary Wilson, who died unexpectedly on Monday, February 8, often sang backup on the Supremes biggest hits (and in a few cases, she was even replaced by non-Supremes), performing behind such lead singers as Diana Ross, Jean Terrell and Scherrie Payne.
But no one could have survived as long as Wilson did in the competition-heavy and talent-rich 1960s and ‘70s without some skills, especially if you were among Motown’s legendary stable of artists. So it goes without saying that Wilson clearly could sing. The only issue was that Ross and the others were considered more commercially appealing by the label’s brass and so they were often given the lead mic while Wilson stood in the shadows.
So the blog dug through the Supremes’ vast catalogue of more than two dozen albums and came up with a compilation of the songs on which Mary Wilson sang lead.
Sadly, the list isn’t long. Officially, the Supremes had 29 studio albums plus two soundtracks, for a total of 31 non-live or non-compilation albums. I only found 21 songs where Wilson’s vocals were credited either solo or as a co-leader. That’s an average of less than one song per album over the group’s 15-year professional recording career.
More tributes: Mary Wilson was a Super Supreme from beginning to end.
From a Billboard chart perspective, the biggest among these songs is “Floy Joy,” which peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972. She shared lead vocals with Jean Terrell on that hit. “Nathan Jones” also peaked at No. 16 in 1971. All three members shared lead vocals throughout the song’s verses and choruses on that one.
The most interesting among these may be the remake of Franki Valli’s “Cant Take My Eyes Off You” from the Supremes and Temptations joint album in 1969. She was billed as sharing vocals with the late Eddie Kendricks on that iconic song.
Also included here is the glorious regional No. 1 disco hit “He’s My Man,” from 1975’s self-titled The Supremes album.
The must-see performances are the Supremes’ “Soul Train” appearances for “Floy Joy” (1972) and “He’s My Man” (1975), plus several others (all provided below).
And the ladies even entered the early promotional video days with a beautiful 1976 nugget from their last album.
There are some real gems on here, so peruse through and enjoy the unsung vocals of the late legend Mary Wilson in the group she represented for nearly two decades, and beyond.
I’ve provided a Spotify playlist followed by links to YouTube clips for each song.
One. “The Tears” (1962)
Two. “Baby Don’t Go” (1962)
Three. “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)” (1965, with Diana Ross)
Four. “Come And Get These Memories” (1966)
Five. “Falling in Love With Love” (1967, with Diana Ross)
Six. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (1969, with Eddie Kendricks)
Seven. “What Do You Have to Do (To Stay on the Right Side of Love)” (1971, with Jean Terrell and the Four Tops)
Eight. “Nathan Jones” (1971, with Jean Terrell and Cindy Birdsong)
Nine. “Touch” (1971, with Jean Terrell)
Ten. “Floy Joy” (1972, with Jean Terrell)
Eleven. “Automatically Sunshine” (1972, with Jean Terrell)
Twelve. “I Keep It Hid” (1972)
Thirteen. “He’s My Man” (1975, with Scherrie Payne)
Fourteen. “Early Morning Love” (1975)
Fifteen. “Where Is It I Belong” (1975)
Sixteen. “This Is Why I Believe In You” (1975, with Scherrie Payne)
Seventeen. “You Turn Me Around” (1975)
Eighteen. “Don’t Let My Teardrops Both You” (1976)
Nineteen. “Till the Boat Sails Away” (1976)
Twenty. “I Don’t Want to Lose You” (1976)
Twenty-one. “You’re What’s Missing In My Life” (1976)
DJRob is a freelance music blogger from somewhere on the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff! You can follow him on Twitter at @djrobblog.
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