1970 The Supremes – Up The Ladder To The Roof
Diana Ross became the breakout star of the Supremes, and it was probably inevitable that she would leave the group for a solo career. Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were the two backup singers of the group through most of the group’s hit-making years. Motown fired Florence from the group in 1967 and replaced her with Cindy Birdsong.
By 1969, Diana and Motown were preparing for her separation from the group.
Someday We’ll Be Together was recorded as a solo record by Diana without vocals from either Mary or Cindy, but Berry Gordy wanted one last number one single by the Supremes and had it released as Diana Ross and the Supremes instead.
Diana appeared with Mary and Cindy on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 21, 1969, and they performed Someday We’ll Be Together.
Jean Terrell became the new lead singer for the Supremes. Just a few weeks after the appearance on Ed’s Show, the group recorded their first single together, Up The Ladder To The Roof. On February 15, 1970, the new lineup of the Supremes appeared on Ed’s show again without Diana and sang their new single. Neither the group nor Diana ever performed on Ed’s show again.
Up The Ladder To The Roof spent one week at #10 on the Hot 100 in April 1970 before slowly falling off the chart. Still, it performed better than Diana’s first solo record, Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand, which peaked at #20 on the Hot 100 in April. After that, Diana reached the top of the chart with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, and her career flourished.
The Supremes had a handful of top forty singles with their new lineup, but their career went downhill quickly after Jean left the group in 1972.
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