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Musical Memories of Mary Wilson: Tribute to Supremes Cofounder Dies at 76

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Cofounding member of the Supremes, Mary Wilson, has died at 76, let’s look at her incredible music legacy as part of the best US-charting female group in music and one of the all-time best-selling girl groups in history.

Mary Wilson, legendary singer and cofounder of the Supremes, died on on February 8, 2021 at her home in Henderson, Nevada. Her death was announced by her publicist Jay Schwartz, who did not confirm Wilson’s cause of death, only saying that she “passed away suddenly this evening.”

The incredible music career of Mary Wilson

Mary Wilson was born in Greenville, Mississippi on March 6, 1944. While in elementary school in Detroit, she met Florence Ballard. They sung in the school’s talent show and became friends. But Mary’s music career took shape in earnest in 1959, at the age of 15, when Ballard asked Wilson to join her in auditioning for Milton Jenkins, who was forming a sister group to his male vocal trio, the Primes. Wilson was accepted and joined the group known as the Primettes, which also featured Diana Ross and Betty McGlown. In 1962, Wilson graduated from Northeastern high school in Detroit. Despite her mother pressuring her to pursue college, Wilson opted to seek out a career in music.

Check out this rare video of Mary Wilson singing solo as she performs “Can’t Take my Eyes off of You” as well as a special rendition of “Love Child.”

Signing to Motown records: The birth of the Supremes

In 1961, The Primettes signed to Motown Records. The group’s name was changed to the Supremes. McGlown got married and left the group. She was replaced by Barbara Martin.

The Supremes first hit in 1963.

The Supremes scored their first big hit in 1963, with the song, “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes.” The song reached #2 on the Billboard US R&B chart and #2 on the cashbox US R&B chart.

In 1964, the Supremes went all the way to the #1 slot on six different major music charts in the US alone with the classic “Where Did Our Love Go.”