Los Angeles • Someday they’ll be together — well, maybe.
Mary Wilson, the longest-reigning member of the original Supremes, is open to a reunion tour with the legendary pop trio’s best-known member, Diana Ross.
Ross, Wilson and Florence Ballard made up the first successful configuration of the group. Cindy Birdsong replaced Ballard in 1967. With 12 No. 1 singles from 1964-70, The Supremes (later, Diana Ross & The Supremes) became the biggest female vocal group in chart history.
"People always ask if we will ever reunite," Wilson said in an interview in a Hollywood recording studio. "But that’s very difficult, because Florence passed away (in 1976). And, unfortunately, Cindy is having a few illness problems. And I think Diane is into her own stardom. She is a diva, a superstar. Sometimes it’s hard to go back."
But reflections were no problem for the 70-year-old Wilson, who reminisced on a major milestone — the 50th anniversary of the Supremes first No. 1, million-selling song, "Where Did Our Love Go," released June 17, 1964.
The Associated Press: What did you think when you first heard the song?
Wilson: I don’t think we liked it at all. ... So, I remember Eddie (Holland, the song’s co-writer) saying, "Trust me. This is going to be a smash."
AP: You were touring during that period. When did you realize The Supremes finally had a smash?
Wilson: I remember that instead of going home on the bus, we flew. That was our first plane ride. We flew home. We had really hit big.
AP: It would be the first of five consecutive No. 1s — still the most in a row for a female vocal group.
Wilson: After we did that, the music became more sophisticated. It wasn’t a bubblegum as "Where Did Our Love Go" or "Baby Love."
AP: You ended up becoming the longest-reigning original Supreme, staying with the group until it was officially disbanded by Motown in 1977.
Wilson: I recall when we first got together, when I met Diane, Flo, Betty (McGlown) — the fourth member, when we were The Primettes — I absolutely felt complete. I absolutely never had another thought of doing anything else in my life.
AP: Still, it wasn’t always easy being a Supreme.
Wilson: It’s not easy for girls to stay together. We’re different than guys. Guys can be on a team, fighting, and then they go out and have a beer together. Girls cannot do that. We hold on to it for a long time.
AP: When last did you see Diana?
Wilson: At the Broadway musical ("Motown: The Musical," which premiered April 2013), which was beautiful. ... Everyone was there and we all embraced: Berry (Gordy, Motown’s founder), me, Diane.
AP: Has the musical has revived interest in The Supremes?
Wilson: Just like when the movie and the Broadway play "Dreamgirls" was out. I tell everyone, "It’s not about The Supremes," because I know, because I didn’t get paid. (Laughs.) But, still, it did bring a different demographic to that era.
AP: Girls groups have been in and out since the record business began. Right now, there aren’t so many.
Wilson: (The music business) is a male world. It’s women who listen to and love male singers. That’s why males are more constant in the arena. Whereas women, we kind of come and go.Next Page >
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.