Mary Wilson Of The Supremes Dies At 76

On February 8th, 2021, the world lost another icon. Mary Wilson, motown legend and co-founder of The Supremes, died aged 76.

A game changer as part of The Supremes alongside Florence Ballard and Diana Ross, the trio have inspired generations of artists. Her longtime publicist Jay Schwartz, said that the singer died suddenly. A cause of death has not been confirmed.

Motown Legend And Loved Supreme

Mary Wilson was among the original members of the Supremes alongside Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Barbara Martin when they assumed the Supremes name in 1961 after forming in Detroit as The Primettes in 1959.

They were later signed to Motown Records on January 21, 1961. The Supremes went on to become one of the biggest-selling groups of all time. Some of their hits are ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Come See About Me’. Wilson remained with the group, who became a trio following Martin’s departure in 1962, until their split in 1977.

“I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supreme,” said Berry Gordy in a tribute Monday night. “The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown’.”

“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.”

Post The Supremes

Mary Wilson’s career as a solo performer was boosted in 1986 by the sales of her first autobiography, ‘Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme’, likened to that of a successful Broadway musical of 1981, ‘Dreamgirls’, which had fictionalized the story of a successful but strife-torn female vocal trio. The singer released two solo albums during her career, her self-titled 1979 debut and 1992’s ‘Walk The Line’. Her final single, ‘Time to Move On’, was released in 2015.

In 1988 The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Florence Ballard had died, penniless and a victim of spousal abuse, in 1976, two years after Mary Wilson had tried without success to persuade her to rejoin the group.

By: Anjana Sathyanarayan