From pillowy pop to foot-stomping beats: The Supremes’ 20 best songs – ranked!

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20. Let Yourself Go (1977)

The last Supremes album, Mary, Scherrie and Susaye, flopped connected merchandise and has been overlooked ever since. This is simply a mistake, arsenic underlined by nan impossibly euphoric, warp-speed disco of Let Yourself Go. For much of nan same, cheque retired nan album’s arsenic fabulous person Love, I Never Knew You Could Feel So Good.

19. Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone (1967)

Motown’s producers were ever sharply attuned to broader philharmonic developments. Here, nan beingness of a harpsichord suggests nan power of nan Left Banke’s baroque popular extended further than nan Four Tops’ screen of Walk Away Renée. Meanwhile, nan sheer melodic loveliness contrasts beautifully pinch Diana Ross’s bitter spoken-word sections.

18. Someday We’ll Be Together (1969)

A screen of a flop 1961 azygous intended arsenic Ross’s first solo merchandise – nan different Supremes aren’t moreover connected it, though nan sound of nan co-writer Johnny Bristol is – Someday We’ll Be Together’s saccharine sadness useful perfectly arsenic a farewell to her bandmates aliases a melancholy waning-of-the-60s eulogy.

17. High Energy (1976)

The Supremes’ inability to get a break successful nan mid-70s feels baffling erstwhile you perceive really bully their euphony often was. Released nan aforesaid twelvemonth arsenic their erstwhile leader’s Love Hangover, High Energy is likewise sumptuous and slow unfolding disco: atmospheric, lush pinch strings and nan startling sound of Scherrie Payne’s whistle-note vocals.

16. Automatically Sunshine (1972)

One suspects Smokey Robinson had been listening to nan Turtles’ Happy Together earlier he wrote Automatically Sunshine and that its sunshine popular melody sounded a small dated successful 1972, hence its muted reception successful nan US. But nary matter: nan opus itself is simply a full joy.

15. Love Is Like an Itching successful My Heart (1966)

The Supremes’ early hits were each distinctly pop-facing, but Love Is Like an Itching successful My Heart shifted – thrillingly but temporarily – successful nan guidance of reliable dancefloor soul. It’s person to nan output of nan Four Tops than Baby Love, a stripped backmost sound driven by pounding drums and a slayer bassline.

Melodic loveliness … The Supremes astatine Wembley Studios, London, successful 1965.
Melodic loveliness … The Supremes astatine Wembley Studios, London, successful 1965. Photograph: Icon and Image/Getty Images

14. My World Is Empty Without You (1965)

Setting romanticist misery to upbeat euphony was a Supremes speciality, but My World Is Empty Without You really amps up nan lyrical gloom: “Inside this acold and quiet location I dwell, pinch memories I cognize truthful well.” The operation of acheronian and stomping hit apparently influenced nan Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black.

13. Bad Weather (1973)

It says thing astir really dramatically nan Supremes’ prima fell that moreover a azygous written to bid by Stevie Wonder astatine nan highest of his powers couldn’t get them a large hit. But Bad Weather is fantastic: a weaving, smile-inducing, very Stevie Wonder melody group against bleak end-of-the-affair lyrics.

12. Up nan Ladder to nan Roof (1970)

The Supremes came retired swinging aft Ross’s departure successful 1970. Up nan Ladder to nan Roof is pillowy pop-soul spiked pinch nan shaper Frank Wilson’s rattling congas, wah-wah guitar and strings, that, arsenic Mary Wilson put it, “seemed to float from nan apical of nan universe”. The song’s stately climax is heavenly.

Glitzy image …. Ross, Wilson and Ballard execute successful London successful 1965.
Glitzy image … Ross, Wilson and Ballard execute successful London successful 1965. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

11. Love Child (1968)

They ne'er sewage nan afloat psychedelic/protest makeover afforded to nan Temptations, but nan Supremes decidedly sewage grittier arsenic nan 60s progressed. Love Child specifications nan affectional repercussions of being brought up fatherless successful a “tenement slum”. It was a world distant from their glitzy image; they moreover dressed down connected nan accompanying medium sleeve.

10. You Can’t Hurry Love (1966)

The Supremes had nary gospel roots, but You Can’t Hurry Love does: nan lyrics of nan chorus are based connected Dorothy Love Coates’ 1950s way (You Can’t Hurry God) He’s Right connected Time, though nan tune is infinitely breezier, buoyed on by Florence Ballard and Wilson’s awesome backing vocals.

9. Baby Love (1964)

A flat-out transcript of a winning look – it mimicked nan arrangement, foot-stomping hit and backing vocals of Where Did Our Love Go – that someway equalled nan original: that is songwriting brilliant for you. Its ad-libs were nan past clip either Ballard aliases Wilson would beryllium heard singing solo connected a Ross-era Supremes single.

8. I Hear a Symphony (1965)

The nonaccomplishment of 1965’s Nothing But Heartaches to make nan US Top 10 rattled nan songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland into altering their hit-making look for nan Supremes. I Hear a Symphony was nan result. The hit and “baby baby” backing vocals sounded familiar, but it was much lush and complex, possessed of an wholly divine melody.

7. Where Did Our Love Go (1964)

Their breakthrough deed had a tumultuous gestation. The Supremes hated nan song: Ross fled nan signaling convention successful tears; Holland-Dozier-Holland simply believed her affectional guidance gave her vocal an edge. But its irresistible bounce soundtracked a infinitesimal of optimism: it topped nan charts aft nan passing of nan Civil Rights Act.

6. Forever Came Today (1967)

Holland-Dozier-Holland’s astir lavish accumulation connected a Supremes azygous to day whitethorn person been influenced by nan Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations – that surely sounds for illustration a theremin astatine 1:56. Perhaps they wanted Berry Gordy to cognize what he was astir to suffer – they were connected nan verge of quitting Motown – but what a measurement to front out.

5. Nathan Jones (1971)

Initially, it looked for illustration nan Supremes mightiness commercially eclipse Ross’s solo career. With songs arsenic bully arsenic this, you tin spot why: sung successful unison, dressed up pinch phasing effects, Nathan Jones’s ticking-off of an errant fellow is sassier than thing nan Supremes v1.0 recorded: if he does travel back, well, she has changed nan locks.

4. Stoned Love (1970)

Controversial connected merchandise – nan title led broadcasters to misread its plea for cosmopolitan brotherhood arsenic a paean to narcotics – Stoned Love mildly updates nan classical Supremes sound for a caller decade: heavy successful nan mix, a distorted guitar weaves astir nan arrangement. More importantly, arsenic a song, it’s nan adjacent of their 60s hits.

Wilson, Ross and Ballard successful 1964.
Wilson, Ross and Ballard successful 1964. Photograph: Gilles Petard/Redferns

3. Reflections (1967)

The modular statement is that Motown followed Sly Stone’s lead erstwhile it came to psychedelic soul, but, pinch its freaked-out intro, echoing oscillator and “through-the-mirror-of-my-mind” lyric, Reflections shows Holland-Dozier-Holland beating Sly to nan punch, updating nan Motown blueprint for nan Summer of Love pinch stunning results.

2. Stop! In nan Name of Love (1965)

A communicative of infidelity that packed 1 of nan 60s’ astir indelible choruses and provoked a awesome Ross capacity – perceive to nan icy distaste pinch which she describes her emotion rival, spitting retired nan words “her saccharine expression”. There is nan merest hint of experimentation, too, successful nan mini bust of discordant organ astatine nan start.

1. You Keep Me Hangin’ On (1966)

Like nan Four Tops’ Reach Out I’ll Be There, You Keep Me Hangin’ On offers nan sound of Holland-Dozier Holland astatine their awe-inspiring zenith, matching hooks pinch earthy intensity. From its morse-code guitar intro to its unexpected chord changes and abrupt dropouts to nan desperation successful Ross’s multitracked vocal, peculiarly during its fade-out, nan song’s acheronian power ne'er relents. The consequence is simply a masterclass successful popular that packs an affectional punch. The wide proposal is that nevertheless overmuch nan protagonist pleads, she won’t flight from her toxic narration – and, arsenic she admits, location ain’t nothin’ she tin do astir it.

Source theguardian