The Original Dreamgirls

posted by Sista on January 23rd, 2007 at 5:34 pm

With all the talk of “Dreamgirls” these days, I think some of us- especially the younger crowd- tend to forget that this film is in part based on one of the most successful Black girl groups in history: The Supremes.At one time The Supremes were actually the biggest selling group in the world, even beating out the almighty Beatles.What made this especially impressive is that this all happened in a relatively short period of time, 1964-1969.During this period, the group recorded 12 American #1 singles and their 1966 album The Supremes A’ Go-Go became the first album by a female group to peak at #1 on the US album chart.Without a doubt they paved the way for every female singing group to come after them and for that we salute the Original Dreamgirls: Diana Ross, Mary Wison & Florence Ballard.Check out a few beautiful pics I have included below and to experience some of that Supremes magic yourself, check them out performing “The Happening” on the Ed Sullivan Show.
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12 Comments

  1. Those pics are beautiful and Florence was a stunner.Who thought she wasn’t pretty enough to be lead? She was fine.Each of the ladies was beautiful.You don’t find class anymore like that.

  2. You don’t see groups like this anymore.The last great girl group we had was En Vogue and everything has been going downhill since.

  3. :dance2 they are beautiful. very classy.
    so it was true that they didn’t want florence ballard to sing lead?
    i thought that was added to the play/movie for mear entertainment purposes. wow

  4. Has anyone ever heard Florence Ballard sing? Could she actually outsing Diana, and what about Mary? I would loved to have heard them both sing solo.That clip of them singing The Happening was so cool.Diana was absolutely adorable and very charasmatic. :brownsista:

  5. They were truly a beautiful group.

  6. I thought that they were going to show the original dreamgirls from the 80s. Sheryl lee Ralph, Jennifer Hudson & Loretta Devine? Wassup with that??

  7. Thanks for that , didn’t know which was Florence Ballard. The whole Dreamgirls back story is so intriguing to me from the Supremes story to Jennifer Holliday’s story…somebody needs to put out a book.

  8. Mary Wilson put out a book called “Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme” It basically stated in so many words that Florence had a strong soulful voice, but Berry Gordy didn’t think her voice was commercial enough to crossover to white audiences. It had nothing to do with her looks. Also, if you want to hear Florence’s voice, there is an album called the Supreme Florence Ballard (or something like that) that was released around 2001. Just go to http://www.amazon.com to get it.:brownsista:

  9. Berry Gordy put Diana out front because he was screwing her. She always got special treatment in the group because of her relationship with him. She also had a relationship with smokey while he was married.

    Diana did a lot of dirt to get to the top. I do give the Supremes their props for opening the door for a lot of black girls groups, but I don’t have a whole lot of respect for Diana.

  10. The research says it all. Florence was the lead singer of “The Supremes” before Diana. She even came up with their memorable group name. She had a voice similar to Jennifer Hudson (very soulful, very church-like, if you will). Beyond what people think (and I’m the HUGEST Florence Ballard fan) Berry did NOT put her in the front because he was screwing her. He put her in the front because it was his understanding (as it was Curtis’ in the movie, Dreamgirls) that Diana had more crossover appeal. If you watch earlier footage of the Supremes, with Florence leading, she doesn’t have as much charisma and as much stage presence as Diana does. Where Diana lacked in vocal abilities (and BOY did she lack, compared to Flo) she picked up by having the best stage presence. I agree…Diana did alot of dirty stuff to get to the top…ALOT.

  11. People hate on Diana these days like they do Beyonce.Sometimes fate just steps in to take things in the direction they need to go.Diana was clearly the more talented on the Supremes just as Beyonce is the more talented of the DC members.Some people have gifts that just cannot be contained and Diana was such a woman.She proved it while she led The Supremes.She proved it in Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues and she later on proved it as a solo artist.Diana was a trendsetter before the word existed and her influence in so many wasys is still evident today.Give the woman her due.She is the Original Diva. :brownsista:

  12. I would have to agree with Sharelle. However it was my understanding that Dreamgirls the musical was not at all based on The Supremes. This is what the writers of the play said. I have to find that link and when I do, I will post it.