Sunday, March 10, 2019

Blind Items Revealed #5

February 25, 2019

Oscars

Fairly sure hell froze over, because these two A++ list legends who once performed together in an A++ list group were hanging out and laughing even more than they did before they had their falling out which lasted decades.

Diana Ross/Mary Wilson

21 comments:

David Howes said...

My golf buddy/retired gaming executive friend told me a story once about how much of a diva Diane Ross is.

Years ago, while he was a resort manager, the resort had Diana scheduled for some concerts.

He said her demands were so outrageous, thy never had her perform there ever again.

sandybrook said...

Diana shops for groceries and acts like a regular human being now because she has a lot of burnt down roads to repair before she peaces out.

MDAnderson said...

Her and Berry Gordy did a lot of awful things to Mary Wilson and especially to Florence Ballard

laineylizbro said...

A work friend's daughter was a nanny for Diana Ross about 20-25 yrs ago. She had nothing but very nice things to say about working for her. I didn't know her well enough to tell if she was being honest or not.

Trapped said...

It was a shame what happened to Mary and Florence, they weren’t allow to sing in public for years

Do Tell said...

And Flo, she don't know.

Angela said...

They were allowed to sing in public, they weren't invited to the recording sessions. The Andantes, a backing group, subbed for them on the singles.

Its a pity we never got the unedited version of their reunion at Motown 25. They took away all the problematic footage, which is most of their performance. Diana was rude to Mary and Cindy, and Mary tried to steal the spotlight, which resulted in some pushing.

astra worthington said...

I don’t know who Mary Wilson is. I do think Diana Ross has a lovely voice although Motown is not music that I like at all. She did some NYE thing I think, where she was dressed like a cotton ball but she sounded quite good. So idk. I’m only surprised when someone ISNT a diva or douche bag.

astra worthington said...

Shopping for groceries is the best. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it for me. I have to go and sort through the produce and judge it personally. Also I have to open every lid on every item and make sure the safety plastic is still intact. And check to make sure every bag is properly inflated and the cheese is sealed correctly, and all of my produce is US grown, and and and....

How could anyone trust someone else with this?! They could never do it correctly!

When you want something done right do it your damn self. Hmmm I suppose I can understand how divas are created 🤔

Mango said...

@ Astra - Should we address you as “Miss Worthington”? 😝

Vita said...

Wow, Angela, I didnt know that about Motown 25, what a night that must have been! Also never knew deets of just how acrimonious the Supremes had gotten.
That being said, a lot of years have passed, and perhaps both humility and forgiveness have settled in. It's nice to think people who have shared such rarified air can reunite.

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astra worthington said...

Hahaha Mango, YES!!! And never ever make eye contact with me and I’ll have my “people” shove the peasants out of the way when I come through 😂

rabbit said...

David Howes: Can you remember any details of the "diva" behavior?

Angela said...

The Supremes were originally a quartet, even if the fourth member never made it further than a few recording sessions. They were also supposed to share leads rather evenly, but at Motown, the producers considered that Diana Ross had the most striking voice and was the best looking one. Diana was also quite the social climber, sleeping her way to the top of the company (first her producers/songwriters, then Berry Gordy). That's one of the main reasons for which Mary Wilson has a grudge against her. But the truth is that when Diana left, Mary Wilson didn't turn into a big star or the main lead singer in the new line-ups of the Supremes.

Ross never had the grit or intensity of Martha Reeves or Gladys Knight, who have much more range. She doesn't even have much of a voice in her natural register, actually. But the producers, at one point, had the idea to make her sing in a lower register on "Where Did Our Love Go", and it worked wonders. They were until then labeled the "no-hits Supremes" and they became the biggest girl group and vocal group in American history. Motown later repeated the same trick on The Four Tops for Reach Out I'll Be There and on Marvin Gaye with I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

Mary and Florence would still take turns on the occasional album tracks or in concert, but they were turning expandable, while Diana kept all the focus. On Diana's behalf, I must say that she handled pressure quite elegantly, compared to what happened with the various lead singers in the Temptations, for instance. She turned out to be quite the professional.

Mary and Florence didn't enjoy being kept to the background. Wilson turned catty, while Ballard became depressed and turned to alcohol. Sure, Diana was singled out from the rest of the band, but the same thing also happened with other Motown acts (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, for instance) with fewer issues. As soon as Ballard was gone and replaced by Cindy Birdsong, and the act lost all semblance of balance, and Wilson turned bitter. The funny thing about their farewell single, "Someday We'll Be Together", is that it was recorded as Diana Ross' first solo single, without any involvement by Mary and Cindy. Berry Gordy just made the decision to label it as Diana Ross & The Supremes' final single because of the title.

Mary Wilson only grew more bitter with years, Diana Ross assumed that she was the only member of the trio who mattered, and it resulted in the catastrophic reunion at Motown 25. Which nobody cared for, actually, given that Michael Jackson had already stopped the show one hour before by debuting Billie Jean and doing for the first time the moonwalk on TV.

Another key factor in the decline of the Supremes is that they lost the team of songwriters/producers that brought them their biggest hits, Holland-Dozier-Holland. They left Motown due to a dispute over royalties, and Diana Ross & The Supremes only got two hits afterwards, "Love Child" (which took a huge number of talents to write) and "Someday We'll Be Together".
If you want to hear how the late sixties Supremes could have sounded with the same team, try a band called Honey Cone, which was produced by HDH on their own label. They even recorded with the same Detroit musicians. They have a few great singles, like "Want Ads" (very influenced by "I Want You Back"), but none of them was a Diana.

Vita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vita said...

Great info,Angela! Thanks for posting! The output of HDH and Smokey Robinson in those days is mindblowing. Add the quality of songs coming from other genres at the same time, and the sixties really were a stunning era for pop music.
I've never heard of Honey Cone and will try to check them out. Thanks again, Angela!😁

Angela said...

The great thing with the later HDH productions at Hot Wax and Invictus (they were basically the same label) is that they sound closer to the classic Motown sound, as they would still record in Detroit, than actual Motown productions of the time, where everybody started to move to Los Angeles at Gordy's request. HDH were still under contract with Motown as songwriters, which is why they would sign their new songs as Edythe Wayne, and the songs were not officially associated with them. But they have their craft all over them.

At these labels, they had a girl group with Honey Cone, a solo female singer à la Ross with Freda Payne ("Band of Gold"), and The Chairmen of the Board were basically their version of The Four Tops. If you want a little variety in your Motown playlists, these acts will work fine.

Elphin MacSkye said...

Miss Ross had the never to tell us (in June, in the Southeastern US), after her 3rd costume change into a huge fur coat, that we were "making her work." This was an outdoor amphitheater. I yelled, "that's what we pay you for." I danced in the aisle the whole show and a an usher who was a dick tried to make me sit down. Same thing at Tina Turner, someone yelled, "sit down." I yelled back "that's Tina and there's no way in Hell I'm sitting." I can do her step, now. Divas? Yes, and both have earned it.

Elphin MacSkye said...

Crud. I meant to type *nerve. I'm excited today!

Unknown said...

I read Mary Wilson's book when I was 15 in the 80's ... if half of what she said was true its amazing she didn't throttle Diana years ago

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