Mary Wilson of The Supremes and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas will be coming to Portsmouth Guildhall as part of Portsmouth Festivities on 23rd June 2017.
This will be the only date of the former Motown recording artist's separate tours where they will be playing together, so it really is a special night not to be missed!
Mary Wilson - Supremes
From 1961 to 1963, the Supremes recorded many songs and released eight singles. At Motown the Supremes were jokingly referred to as the “no-hit Supremes.” But their fate changed dramatically in late 1963 when the song When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes, written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, peaked at number 23 on the Billboard pop chart. The next year, the Supremes released the single Where Did Our Love Go, which reached number one on the U.S. pop charts in August 1964 and number three in the United Kingdom. After that hit, the Supremes released four more number one hits, including: Baby Love, Come See About Me, Stop In the Name of Love, and Back in My Arms Again, making them the only group to have five consecutive number one hits in America. In the UK they continued with a string of hits including, I Hear A Symphony, You Cant Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hanging On, The Happening, Reflections, I’m Gonna Make You Love Me and Someday We’ll Be Together.
Their success attracted promotional opportunities. The Supremes were one of the first pop groups of the 1960’s to do commercial endorsements. They endorsed Coca-Cola, Arrid deodorant, and they had their own “Supreme” white bread and brand of wigs.
The year 1967 was pivotal for the group. Mr. Gordy renamed them Diana Ross and the Supremes, Ms. Ballard left the group and was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. January 1970 Diana Ross performed for the last time with the Supremes before pursuing a solo career. Ross’ departure left Ms. Wilson as the only original member of the Supremes. Ms. Wilson continued performing with Cindy Birdsong and Jean Terrell.
When Martha Reeves dances on to the stage – to the thumping beats of I’m Ready for Love, the rocking rhythms of Van Morrison’s Wild Night, or the fiery chords of Heat Wave – it is hard to believe that its been more than 45 years since she and the Vandellas made their musical mark with the bluesy, Come and Get These Memories. It was that recording that inspired Berry Gordy to coin the term “The Motown Sound” and that put the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland on the map. It was that recording that led to a decade of memorable music, earning Martha the title of Motown’s ultimate soul diva. With an energy that belies her age, she keeps audiences on their feet with the gospel-tinged Nowhere to Run, the pop-driven Jimmy Mack, and high-energy tributes to Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and others. And displaying the versatility that made her a favorite with Motown writers and producers, she goes jazzy with songs by Ellington and Billie Holiday.
With a background in gospel, opera and jazz, Martha Reeves came to Motown in 1962 after being discovered by the label’s A & R director, Mickey Stevenson. Arriving at Hitsville USA unannounced, she parlayed an inopportune moment into an opportunity, answering phones and becoming the label’s first A & R secretary. She jokes, “I was a singer who could type, which made me an asset.”