Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Song of the Day: 'The Tears' by Mary Wilson and the Supremes

Was very sad -- and honestly stunned -- to hear that Mary Wilson of the Supremes died suddenly yesterday at her home in Henderson, Nev. The co-founder of the most successful girl group in music history was 76, and thus far no cause of death has been released.

Motown founder Barry Gordy issued a statement that said it all: 

“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supreme. The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown.’ Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to Motown in the early 1960s. After an unprecedented string of No. 1 hits, television and nightclub bookings, they opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others. … I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.”

And Diana Ross tweeted:

I just woke up to this news, my condolences to you Mary's family, I am reminded that each day is a gift, I have so many wonderful memories of our time together "The Supremes " will live on, in our hearts 💓💓

Variety reported that just two days before her death, Wilson put up a video on her YouTube channel announcing that she was working with Universal Music on releasing solo material, including the unreleased album “Red Hot” she recorded in the 1970s with producer Gus Dudgeon. “Hopefully some of that will be out on my birthday, March 6,” she said in the video. She also promised upcoming interviews she had done about the Supremes’ experiences with segregation that she said were forthcoming in honor of Black History Month. The singer had been highly visible in 2019, when she appeared on the 28th season of “Dancing With the Stars” and released “Supreme Glamour,” her fourth book.

In memory of her life and career, here is my favorite Supremes song featuring Mary on lead vocals:

"The Tears" was written and produced by Smokey Robinson, but was omitted from the girls' 1962 debut album, "Meet the Supremes." (It was later added to the remastered and expanded 2010 CD.)

And here is a nice if clumsily edited medley of six of her best lead performances, including the aforementioned "The Tears." 

Rest in peace, Dream Girl. You certainly lived yours. xo

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