Undoubtedly, The Supremes (and/or Diana Ross and The Supremes) will go down in history for all their top ten songs and other big hits during the 1960s and early 70s. Not only did The Supremes have oodles of top ten songs (including 12 number ones – that’s right, 12) in their various combinations (the most famous being Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence BallardÃ¢Â?Â¦) – but they were an integral part of the groundbreaking, hitting making Motown machine created by Berry Gordy, Jr. in his quest to conquer the white and black music fans. Here’s a look at ten top Supremes songs, in no particular order, of many. These are just ten I happen to like or at least think of as “classic Supremes”. In their careers, they also did numerous covers of other Motown songs, other pop songs, and standards. But it was the original work that made the indelible imprint they left behind them in the music world.
Come See About Me. Probably my personal favorite Supremes song because it’s very “early Supremes” but has a little more punch than their more repetitive songs of the same year (1964): ‘Baby Love’ or ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ which, to me, often seem interchangeable.
Nathan Jones. Part of the later Supremes list of hits (1971) this song doesn’t have the same ‘trying to be psychedelic’ elements other songs like “Love Child” and “Stoned Love” or display. I like it better for that reason. Mainly, I just like it because all pieces considered – the driving beat, the melody, harmonies, lyrics about a woman telling a guy he’s been incommunicado just too long to win her back – combine for a great song. It’s like the women singing “Keep Me Hanging On” came back with a badder attitude.
Reflections. A mid-career hit (1967). This song about not being able to let go of lost love is filled with traditional Motown love song lyrics “all the love that I wasted/all the tears I’ve tasted” but also has some nice metaphors about how life’s a “distorted reality” without that person who’s gone. Gained additional fame with a new generation as a anthem to the turmoil and lost innocence of the 60s when it was used as a theme to the Vietnam war TV drama “China Beach” in the 1980s
I Hear A Symphony. The title song of a 1966 album, this seems always seems a little more to me than the typical Holland-Dozier-Holland song. I don’t know why, there’s just more to the music going on under the lyrics. The tempo, the repeated key changes. It just moves around a little more than some other songs and I think accordingly it’s a little prettier.
Up The Ladder To The Roof. The Supremes ushered in the 70s with this up-tempo romantic hit about getting closer to heaven. If you know what I mean. If it doesn’t sound like it’s Diana Ross singing lead, that’s because it isn’t. Miss Ross had left the group. In fact, the only original Supreme on the recording is Mary Wilson.
Someday, We’ll Be Together. Speaking of Diana Ross’ departure, this song was the last released with her in the group. She went on to have a successful solo career in the 70s-80s. And eventually, there were some tumultuous reunions where she and some of the other Supremes, including Wilson were together again. Usually, they didn’t end well.
Love Child. As the 60s turned less bubble gum and more, well, 60s, Motown also made the transition. This Supremes song has Ross singing the lyrics of a young “love child” who refuses to create a love child of her own, knowing the poverty and pain such a child is in for. Interesting tidbit: Ross is the only Supreme to sing on this song.
Baby Love. One of the “early” Supremes hits, this song is somewhat quintessential for them, wouldn’t you say? It’s all about love, young love, “why must we separate my love.” Short, with a killer hook, it has the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland written all over it.
Where Did Our Love Go? This is another just classic. Supremes song courtesy of hit makers Holland-Dozier-Holland. You got the beat in the back, the young lost love lyrics. The guy wanted her, she went with him, now he wants out. That stinks. Try to sing it without eventually segueing into Baby Love, I dare you.
Stop In The Name of Love. This song is probably the top mimicked of all Supremes tunes; who can resist doing the ‘stop’ gesture? The song’s a plea for some mercy, really, from a woman who’s given her all to a guy who’s cheating on her. I prefer the message of ‘Nathan Jones’ better, personally.