Our Top 10 Supremes songs list looks back at the most successful Motown group of all time. While some may mention The Temptations, The Miracles, The Four Tops, or even The Jackson Five, it was the Supremes who had more number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 than any other Motown group. In fact, The Supremes had more number one singles than any other American group in history. There have been American solo artists who have had more number ones such as Mariah Carey, Elvis Presley, and Madonna, but no American group could make the claim to have had as many number one singles as the Supremes. The Beatles hold the world wide record with twenty number one singles. What’s even more incredible about the Supremes record of number one singles is that the group managed to record all their twelve number ones within just a five year period.
Putting aside their success on the pop charts, The Supremes stand as one of the most important groups in music history for various reasons. Along with The Temptations, The Four Tops and The Miracles, The Supremes helped make Motown Records one of the most successful record labels in history. Motown became more than just a record label, it became a sound. The Supremes stood out among the other female vocals groups that came before them as they took on the status of stardom with a glamourous look that was unique among previous female singing groups. Berry Gordy Jr. loved the group and spent a great deal of time promoting them. The Supremes were not just a popular American group, they were a sensation on a world wide basis. During the 1960s, the Supremes became ingrained in pop culture almost on a Beatles type scale.
The Supremes went through many lineup changes during their career. The original lineup in 1959 when they were called The Primettes featured Florence Ballard, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Betty McGlown. Barbara Martin replaced Betty McGlown in 1960 when McGlown got engaged. Barbra Martin left the group early on. The classic lineup of Florence Ballard, Diana Ross and Mary Wilson lasted from 1962 to 1967. Florence Ballard was fired from the group in 1967 and replaced by Cindy Birdsong. At the same time, the group changed its name to Diana Ross & The Supremes in similar fashion as to when The Miracles changed their name to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Name changes like that, usually lead the way to lead singers leaving the groups for solo careers, which is exactly what happened with both groups. It was inevitable that the voice and star appeal of Diana Ross would fuel her departure from The Supremes for a solo career. In 1970, Diana Ross left the Supremes and embarked on a solo career that proved to be very successful. The Supremes continued on to 1977 with more lineup changes. Only Mary Wilson remained the one consistent member.
Our Top 10 Supremes songs list focuses on the decade of the 196os and the years when Diana Ross and Mary Wilson made up two thirds of he group consistently. There are so many great Supremes songs, but we chose to focus on the big hits for this one.
# 10 – Stoned Love
We open up our Top 10 Supremes songs list with the only Supremes song on this list that was not a number one record. We have never composed a top 10 list of just number one records from one artist. We thought we were finally going to do that with this one, but “Stoned Love,” stopped us in the name of…….well a great song. “Stoned Love,” is a very interesting song in the Supremes catalog. Its the group’s last top 10 single of their career.
The Supremes song “Stoned Love,” was released as single by Motown in 1970. Many people believed that the song’s title was a reference to drug use. The concern over that reference caused many stations to not play the song. It’s pretty easy to assume that if there was not the significant protest against the song because of the supposed drug reference, “Stoned Love,” would have been the group’s thirteenth number one single. The song still did extremely well as it broke the Billboard Top 10 peaking at number seven.
# 9 – Someday We’ll Be Together
From this point on, the rest of the Supremes songs on this list all went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The Supremes song “Someday We’ll be Together,” has an interesting opening in which the strings and a very tasty guitar lick precedes the Supremes vocals. Like many of the great Supremes songs the group opens the song with the chorus before hitting the verse. A songwriting and arranging technique that is very effective. “Someday We’ll be Together,” was released in 1969.
This one is sort of an outlier in Supremes history. The song’s lead vocals were performed by Diana Ross. However, neither Mary Wilson or Cint Birdsong sang on the record. The song was released on the Supremes album Cream of the Crop. It would become the last number one single of the Supremes career. Dian Ross left the group the following year. The song “Someday We’ll be Together,” was written by Johnny Bristol, Jackey Beavers, and Harvey Fuqua
# 8 – Love Child
“Love Child,” opens with a great guitar riff and those bells that stop you in your tracks. It just a very short quirk verse before Diana Ross and the girls grab your heart and burn it down. But you love it. The great Supremes song “Love Child,” was released in 1968. Despite the controversy over the songs lyrics, the Supremes had their eleventh number one single with “Love Child.”
# 7 – You Can’t Hurry Love
Continuing with our Top 10 Supremes songs list we turn to a very popular recording entitled “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The song was released on the album The Supremes A’ Go-Go. The record was released in 1966. Issued as the second single from the album, the song “You Can’t Hurry Love.” eventually hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Sixteen years later, Phil Collins would have his first solo number one with his cover of the song when it hit number one in the U.K in 1982.
# 6 – Come See About Me
A little drums, some handclasp and they got you out of your seat up and dancing in a flash. Tell me this one doesn’t get you up the second you hear it. Such a classic Supremes song, “Come See About Me,” stands as one of our favorite Supremes songs of all time. The song hit number one in 1964. It also featured a cast of great musicians on the record including Joe Messina on guitar, Earl Van Dyke on keys, James Jamerson on bass, Benny Benjamin on drums and Jack Ashford on vibes.
# 5 – Where Did Our Love Go
The groove on these songs may be simple but they are so soul infused, they get you moving quickly while pushing you to fall so helplessly under the spell of those voices. The vocals are just so strong you really don’t need much of anything else. Yet those great Motown musicians know how to groove so perfectly Dig the quick sax solo at about 1.25. The Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go,” was released in 1964. “Where Did Our Love Go,” was a defining moment in the history of The Supremes as it became the group’s first number one single. It was released in 1964. The song was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.
# 4 – Back In My Arms Again
The Supremes hit single “Back in My Arms Again” was their fifth straight number one single. The song was released in 1965. The song appeared on the album More Hits By The Supremes. The song “Back in My Arms Again” was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.
# 3 – Baby Love
The song’s opening piano lick is a Motown Moment. However, it continues throughout the song and serves as a great backing track to the Supremes mesmerizing vocals on this one The horns add a nice touch in between verses. The great key change in the end is perfect. Nonetheless, it’s Diana Ross singing those words “Baby Love,” and telling you how much she needs ya that seals the deal pretty much forever on falling in love with this one.
The Supremes “Baby Love,” single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. It also hit number one in the United Kingdom, a feat not easily archived by anyone except The Beatles to have a number one hit in both the Unites States and the United Kingdom as both counties had very different taste in music as the music charts have defined over the years. The song was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.
# 2 – You Keep Me Hanging On
It was not easy picking which one of these songs should we place at number one on our top 10 Supremes songs list. They are both such classic songs. The Supremes “You Keep Me Hanging On,” has been covered by so many more artists. It is a much more covered song than the number one choice. And maybe that’s why we felt the number one was just a little more special at least in our own way of thinking.
“You Keep Me Hanging On,” was released in 1966. It hit number one on just about every American Music chart in the nation including the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by the Motown hit making machine of Holland–Dozier–Holland. This was a song with legs. The Vanilla Fudge had a huge hit with the song in a drastically different arrangement that they recorded in 1967. Rod Stewart recorded a great version of the song in the late 1970s. However, the most successful cover version of the song outside the Supremes number one success was done by Kim Wilde. In 1980, Kim Wilde released her version of the song and watched it go straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s rare that a song goes to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 twice when recorded by two different artists. Yet, it happened with this great song.
# 1 – Stop In The Name Of Love
“Stop In The Name Of Love,” was The Supremes most defining song. When one thinks of a Supremes song, “Stop In The Name Of Love,” is usually the first one that comes to mind, It’s one of those songs that defined the music of the 1969s. A decide that delivered rock and roll, psychedelia, and the sound of Motown to the masses on a daily basis. The song “Stop In The Name Of Love,” was released in 1965 and hit number one in the Spring of that year. The song was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.
Before we close out this top 10 Supremes songs list, we need to mention the musicians that played on many of these great records, These were musician that were at the top of their game by knowing exactly how to lay down a groove without getting in the way of the stars of the show. Credited on many records as The Funk Brothers, these musicians included Johnny Griffith on organ, Benny Benjamin on drums, Joe Messina on guitar, James Gitten on vibes, Mike Terry on sax and the great bassist who played grooves like no other….James Jamerson on bass guitar.