The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
The Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture's Archive is a subdivision of DAARAC that digitally preserves Afro American films. On this website, you may browse our archive that consists of film posters, screenshots, and movie synopsis. All information provided here is for research and reference purposes. We do not host full-length films on this website.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Legend: Serge Gainsbourg

Not a blaxploitation artist but indeed a legend. Now myself is not too familiar with Gainsbourge work and I do not speak French at all, but his music sounds so great. Plus when I was doing my research on him I saw several pictures of him with either a cigarette or a beautiful woman. Thats cool!

Gainsbourg was born at the Hoôtel Dieu hospital in Paris, along with his twin sister Liliane, on April 2, 1928. His birth name was Lucien Ginsburg. His parents, Joseph and Olia Ginsburg, were Jewish immigrants who had fled the Ukraine around the time of the Russian Revolution. Joseph was a talented pianist in theaters and clubs in Paris, well-versed in both classical music such as Chopin and American pop composers such as Cole Porter and George Gershwin. He taught his son and daughter piano, beginning when they were four years old. Lucien became interested in painting, so his parents sent him to art school in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris.

World War II began when Gainsbourg was 11 years old, and he spent his early teens in Paris during the German occupation. A 1942 law required Jews to wear yellow stars with the word "Jew" written on them, an experience that hurt and scarred him. "It was like you were a bull, branded with a red-hot iron," he said in an interview quoted in Sylvie Simmons's biography, Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes. The racist shaming magnified his feelings of adolescent alienation. "Even at 13, 14 years old, I had already become an outsider, because the tough guy thing wasn't me." He took refuge in reading books and smoking cheap cigarettes. Soon, an 8 p.m. curfew for Jews made it impossible for Joseph Ginsburg to work in nightclubs, so he sneaked away illegally to Limoges in southern France, where he found work with an orchestra and quietly sent money home. A year and a half later the rest of the family, using false identification, traveled to Limoges to join him. Limoges was in southern France, which was not directly occupied by Germany but controlled by the French government based in Vichy, so it was slightly less dangerous for Jews, though not safe. One day the headmaster of Gainsbourg's school had the young man hide in nearby woods for a night to avoid a military documents check. When Paris was liberated in 1944, the family returned home.

In 1945 Gainsbourg enrolled in the prestigious art school École Supérieure Des Beaux Arts, to pursue painting. Two years later he also enrolled in a music school while continuing his art studies. He started dating Elisabeth Levitsky, secretary to poet Georges Hugnet and a part-time model, and she began supporting him financially. His father, wanting him to provide for himself, paid for him to take lessons from a gypsy guitar player so he could make money performing. While Gainsbourg spent a year in the military (as required of all French men), he developed a drinking habit that stuck with him the rest of his life. In 1951 he and Levitsky married.
The Astonishing Gainsbourg

Joseph Ginsburg began passing some of his piano playing gigs on to his son. As the young Gainsbourg got more work in nightclubs, he gave up painting, frustrated that he
was not a genius at it, as he explained decades later. He joined France's songwriters' society in 1954 and registered his first six songs. For his new career, he renamed himself. He had never liked his first name. "He thought it was a loser's name," his longtime girlfriend Jane Birkin said in Simmons's book. "He said it reminded him of hairdressers—they were always called Lucien. Serge, he thought, sounded more Russian. And he chose Gainsbourg because he loved the English painter Gainsborough." Performing in nightclubs, Gainsbourg attracted a lot of female attention, and his womanizing caused Elizabeth to divorce him in 1957.

Gainsbourg began performing at the Milord L'Arsouille nightclub on Paris's Left Bank, he where he gained two important supporters: popular singer Michèle Arnaud, who worked two of Gainsbourg's songs into her act, and Boris Vian, a novelist and composer of songs full of biting humor. Word spread about Gainsbourg's talent. He was signed to the Philips record label and recorded the 1958 album "Du Chant à la une!" (Songs on Page One). A mix of jazz and ballads in the French chanson style, the album was filled with lyrics that were cynical and bitter, especially toward women. It did not sell well, but Boris Vian wrote an article praising it, and it won the grand prize of L'Académie Charles Cros, a songwriting award. One song from the album, "Le Poinçonneur des Lilas" (The Ticket-Puncher), about a lonely subway ticket-taker who becomes suicidal, eventually became a classic of French songwriting. The next year, the acclaimed French singer Juliette Gréco released a four-song album of his songs, including one of his first compositions, "Les Amours Perdues" (The Lost Loves). His 1961 album, "L'Étonnant Serge Gainsbourg" (The Astonishing Serge Gainsbourg), made his literary influences clear; one song, "La Chanson De Prévert," paid tribute to French poet Jacques Prévert.

For a few years, it seemed that Gainsbourg would never attract more than a cult following of jazz intellectuals and bohemians. Several French singers recorded his songs, but French chanson fell out of vogue starting around 1962, as French youth embraced American and British rock 'n' roll and French imitations known as yé-yé. Gainsbourg recorded a few songs mocking yé-yé fans and defied the trends by recording the experimental Gainsbourg Percussions, influenced by African and Caribbean percussion styles. Later, determined to write a hit song, he began writing material for 16-year-old yé-yé star France Gall, including the hit "Les Sucettes" (Lollipops) and "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" (Wax Doll, Singing Doll), which won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965. Soon, Gainsbourg's songs were more popular than ever among female French singers, and he spent the next two years focusing on his songwriting.

Gainsbourg married his second wife, Béatrice, whose given name was Françoise-Antoinette Pancrazzi, in early 1964. They soon had a daughter, Natacha. The marriage was doomed from the start, since she was extremely possessive, jealous of his singer friends and his fans. They divorced two years later, reuniting temporarily in 1967 and conceiving another child, Paul, born in 1968. But by then Gainsbourg had left Beatrice permanently. He had fallen in love with one of France's most beautiful and most famous actresses, Brigitte Bardot.
Bardot and Birkin

Gainsbourg was not a conventionally attractive man. In fact, he was often described as ugly; one French fanzine said he resembled a drowsy turtle. Yet one famous sex symbol after another became either his friend or his lover. "He attributed his appeal to women to a charmed sense of vulnerability, as well as his baggy eyes, three-day stubble and perpetual halo of smoke from five daily packs of Gitanes," William Drozdiak wrote in the Washington Post. Accordng to Drozdiak, Gainsbourg often said that "ugliness is superior to beauty because it lasts longer."

Bardot, a singer as well as an actress, had already recorded a few of Gainsbourg's songs before they appeared together on a prime time TV show together in late 1967. Bardot's second marriage was in trouble, and she and Gainsbourg discovered a mutual attraction. She invited him to appear on her own TV show, and he began writing new songs for her. Soon they became lovers, meeting discreetly at first, then going out to trendy nightclubs. They sang Gainsbourg's new songs, playful and full of abandon, on her show amid sets wild with pop psychedelia. "Comic Strip" was pop art as song, with Gainsbourg singing lead and Bardot intoning cartoon sound effects: "Shebam! Pow! Blop! Wizz!" To perform "Bonnie and Clyde," they styled themselves as flashy crooks. Next, they recorded "Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus" (I Love You … Me Neither), a clever duet punctuated by erotic groans and sighs. According to Simmons's biography, rumor spread that Gainsbourg and Bardot had been engaged in "heavy petting" while recording it. Enraged, Bardot's husband demanded that the record company cancel the single. Worried he would hurt Bardot's image, Gainsbourg complied, and the Bardot recording was not released until 1986.

Bardot returned to her husband, and Gainsbourg found a new lover, Jane Birkin, a beautiful 22-year-old British actress whose looks evoked the Swinging London fashion scene of the time. They met while acting in the film Slogan, and Gainsbourg swept her off her feet with a passionate, all-night trip through the nightclubs of Paris. Gainsbourg rerecorded "Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus" with Birkin and released the new recording as a single. The lyrics were a clever interplay of cynicism and sentiment, but the suggestive vocal effects caught more listeners' attention. The Vatican called the song obscene and the BBC banned it, but it hit the top of the British singles charts anyway, Gainsbourg's only hit outside France. It sold 6 million copies worldwide.

Gainsbourg and Birkin quickly became one of the most famous celebrity couples in Europe. According to some accounts, they secretly married sometime in the 1970s, but other accounts say they never did. Either way, they stayed together for more than a decade. In 1971 Birkin gave birth to their daughter, Charlotte. The same year, Gainsbourg and Birkin released their next musical collaboration, Histoire de Melody Nelson (Story of Melody Nelson), a concept album about a middle-aged man in a forbidden romance with a 15-year-old girl. The music included an orchestra and a choir. Some critics considered the 1971 album to be Gainsbourg's masterpiece. "The story is silly," wrote New York Times critic Jody Rosen, but "it has real-life emotional resonance and actually holds together like a literary work: Gainsbourg's lyrics are filled with wonderful details and moments of genuine pathos."

Throughout the 1970s Gainsbourg continued writing songs, though a heart attack in 1973 slowed him down for a while. Birkin convinced him to adopt a more casual style, including an unshaven, stubbly look that became his visual trademark. Gainsbourg had enjoyed the scandal around "Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus," and his 1970s output and public appearances seemed increasingly calculated to shock. For instance, his 1975 album Rock Around the Bunker was a caustically funny song series about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany set to 1950s-style American rock. One song was named after the yellow star the Nazis had forced him to wear as a boy.

Again seeking to innovate and surprise, Gainsbourg traveled to Jamaica and recorded a reggae album in 1978, at a time when reggae was just becoming popular in Western Europe. He booked a session in a Kingston recording studio with accomplished reggae musicians Sly and Robbie. Their meeting was awkward—the musicians were in no mood to record French music—until Sly declared that the only French song he knew was "Je T'Aime … Moi Non Plus." Once Gainsbourg told them it was his song, they got along well. Their 1979 album Aux Armes et cetera (To Arms, Etc.) included the title track, Gainsbourg's reggae version of the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise." Instead of singing some of the bloodiest lines of the anthem, Gainsbourg sang, "Aux armes, et cetera," and let the lyrics trail off. The radical transformation of the anthem "was, for the French, the equivalent of the Sex Pistols' 'God Save the Queen' and Jimi Hendrix's 'Star-Spangled Banner' rolled into one," Simmons wrote in her biography. The conservative national newspaper Le Figaro called it an outrage and declared that Gainsbourg's French citizenship should be revoked. Gainsbourg embarked on a tour of France with the reggae musicians, and the shows sold out, but they were plagued by bomb threats from the extreme right. Before Gainsbourg's show in Strasbourg, a band of paratroopers warned the city's mayor that they would stop the show by force if necessary. Gainsbourg took the stage alone, though several of the paratroopers were in the audience, and sang the national anthem solo, then directed a disrespectful hand gesture at the paratroopers. His defiance made him a hero to much of the younger generation in France.

In the 1980s Gainsbourg's life began to turn tragic. Birkin left him in 1980, upset that he had begun drinking more heavily and acting outrageously. They remained friends, however, and Gainsbourg continued to write songs for her albums. A year later, Gainsbourg began a new relationship with the young singer Caroline Von Paulus, better known by her stage name, Bambou. They had a son, Lucien, in 1986.

In his own songs, Gainsbourg began to include references to an alter ego, "Gainsbarre," a character hobbled by alcohol and depression. "His excessive indulgence in booze, tobacco and women seemed to nurture his commercial success, as the French public became more fascinated by him with every outrageous piece of music or behavior," wrote Drozdiak. Once he burned a 500-franc note on live TV to protest high taxes. In 1986, also on live TV, he vulgarly propositioned the American singer Whitney Houston. He did, however, find one taboo the French did not want broken. In 1984 he recorded the song "Lemon Incest" as a duet with his daughter Charlotte, then 13. The video showed them lying near each other on a bed, and the lyrics "come close to extolling carnal relations," as Drozdiak put it. Three years later Gainsbourg directed an entire film, Charlotte Forever, as an homage to her. He also continued recording, experimenting with funk and hip-hop, and writing songs for others, including Bambou, Birkin, and the young French singer Vanessa Paradis, mostly known in the United States for later marrying American actor Johnny Depp.

Publicly indulging in too much alcohol and too many cigarettes, Gainsbourg spent 10 years committing suicide, as one friend of his put it. He endured heart problems and a liver operation before dying on March 2, 1991, of a heart attack at his apartment in Paris. Much of France mourned. French President François Mitterand declared that Gainsbourg, "through his love for the language and his musical genius, lifted the song to the level of an art" (as quoted in the Chicago Tribune). He was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris, the final resting place of many of France's greatest writers and artists. Since his death, Gainsbourg's legend has grown. Many young French, American and British singers acknowledge his influence, and fans still leave huge collections of art and gifts, including packs of Gitanes, outside his old apartment.

  • 1958 - Du chant à la une
  • 1959 - Disque N°2
  • 1961 - L'Étonnant Serge Gainsbourg
  • 1962 - Disque N°4
  • 1963 - Gainsbourg Confidentiel
  • 1963 - Theatre Des Capucines
  • 1964 - Gainsbourg Percussions
  • 1967 - Anna OST
  • 1967 - Comic Strip
  • 1967 - Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot: Bonnie & Clyde
  • 1968 - Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot: Initials B.B.
  • 1968 - Ce Sacré Grand-Père OST
  • 1969 - Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg
  • 1970 - Cannabis OST
  • 1971 - Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • 1973 - Vu de l'extérieur
  • 1975 - Rock Around the Bunker
  • 1976 - L'Homme à tête de chou
  • 1977 - Madame Claude OST
  • 1979 - Aux armes et cætera
  • 1980 - Enregistrement public au Théâtre Le Palace
  • 1981 - Mauvaises nouvelles des étoiles
  • 1984 - Love On The Beat
  • 1986 - Serge Gainsbourg live (Casino de Paris)
  • 1986 - Tenue de soirée
  • 1987 - You're Under Arrest
  • 1989 - Le Zénith de Gainsbourg
  • 1989 - De Gainsbourg à Gainsbarre (Box Set)
  • 1996 - Couleur Café
  • 1998 - En concert au théâtre Le Palace 80
  • 2001 - Le Cinema De Serge Gainsbourg
  • 2003 - Théâtre des Capucines 1963
  • 2006 - Et Caetera : Au Theatre le Palace 1979 live

Resources & Selected Biographies
Gainsbourge discography at Rateyourmusic
Gainsbourge at Notable Biographies
Gainsbourge biography at Wikipedia
Gainsbourge biography at France Vision
Gainsbourge at WFMU

Monday, April 27, 2009

Legend: Dennis Coffey

Dennis started his playing career by completing his first record date at the age of 15. While still in his early twenties, he had a choice to make that would impact his musical journey. He was offered a job to tour with jazz legend organist Groove Holmes and offered a job to play with the famous Funk Brothers as a studio musician at Motown. Dennis had a family to support so he made the decision to work at Motown.

He has worked with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, and The Four Tops in Detroit and LA. He has also worked with Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Wilson Pickett, George Clinton, Earl Klugh and Jazz Crusaders - Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder.

His career encompasses eleven solo albums and CD’s and movie theme songs for Black Belt Jones from Warner Bothers. He has had three international top ten hits himself with “Scorpio”, “Taurus”, and “Wings of Fire” and has two gold singles and one gold album. His CD, “Under the Moonlight,” was number four in the country on the New Adult Contemporary Chart in Radio and Records. He has won numerous awards from Billboard Magazine and BMI and has played on over 100 million selling recordings.

Dennis has performed in the UK supporting his book that reached number four in London, England called, “Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars”. His book is also available in the US and Canada from The University of Michigan Press. He is also in the documentary, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”, the PBS Special “Rhythm, Love, and Soul”, and the TV Special, “The Four Tops 50th Anniversary Show”.

Dennis has appeared at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin and the House of Blues in New Orleans with Buckwheat Zydeco on B3 organ and Lil’ Buck Senegal’s band. Dennis recently has performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with guitarists Larry Carlton and John Pizzarelli. He also received a Pioneer Award as a Motown Funk Brother from the R&B Foundation in Philadelphia. Dennis has presented at the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona, Spain and will be appearing again at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with guitar legend Les Paul and others in November.


  • 1970 - Hair and Thangs
  • 1971 - Evolution
  • 1972 - Goin' For Myself
  • 1973 - Electric Coffey
  • 1974 - Black Belt Jones Soundtrack
  • 1974 - Dance Party
  • 1974 - Instant Coffey
  • 1975 - Finger Lickin' Good
  • 1977 - Back Home
  • 1978 - A Sweet Taste of Sin
  • 1989 - Under The Moonlight
  • 1990 - Motor City Magic
  • 2006 - Rise of the Phoenix


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Legendary Group: Diana Ross and the Supremes

The Supremes comprised of:

* Diana Ross (b. 26th March 1944, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
* Florence Ballard (b. 30th June 1943, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., d. 22 February 1976)
* Mary Wilson (b. 6th March 1944, Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.A.)
* Betty McGlown (b. 1943, Detroit Michigan, U.S.A.)

other members at various times included:

* Barbara Martin (between the years 1960 - 1962)
* Cindy Birdsong (between the years 1967 – 1972 and 1973 – 1976)
* Jean Terrell (between the years 1970 – 1973)
* Lynda Laurence (between the years 1972 – 1973)
* Scherrie Payne (b 14th November 1944, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.)
* Susaye Greene (between the years 1976 – 1977)

The Supremes were, probably, the first Black female group to take the art of merging popular music and fashion to another level, whilst still retaining their own R & B heritage without any artistical surrender. Their first incarnation emerged under the group name of Primettes. Betty McGlown was dating Paul Williams of The Primes at the time, and was the first Primette. Florence Ballard met Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams of the Primes, the mangager of the male group, Milton Jenkins, created the Primettes. The Primes were later to become The Temptations. The founding members of the Primettes were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, (the then) Diane Ross and Betty McGlown, whom all lived at the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit. Florence Ballard had recruited Mary Wilson, who in turn recruited Diana Ross.

The Primettes issued a single on a small local label, for Lupine Records (a label created just for them) entitled 'Tears of Sorrow' b/w 'Pretty Baby'. Barbara Martin was to replace Betty McGlown in 1960. In 1960, Diana Ross asked an old neighbour, the Miracles lead singer Smokey Robinson, to help the group land an audition for Motown executive Berry Gordy. Smokey organised the audition, however, he was keen to recruit to his own groups ranks, the Primette's guitarist, Marv Tarplin. After concerns regarding the Primette's ages, the group signed with Motown the following year as The Supremes. Barbara Martin then left the group in early 1962, and Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson became the Supreme line-up familiar to many. The Supreme's name was only decided upon following the suggestions of 'The Darleens', 'The Sweet Ps', 'The Melodees', 'The Royaltones' and 'The Jewelettes'. Diana Ross was aginst the name 'the Supremes', initially, as she felt the name had a male influence.

The Supremes early releases saw only minor success, leaving the group with a regular reputation for missing out on chart success. Diana Ross then took the place of Florence Ballard as the group's regular lead vocalist, at Berry Gordy's suggestion, which did bring chart success at last. 'When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes', was the group's first hit in December 1963 (the song made number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100).

In the spring of 1964, The Supremes recorded the single 'Where Did Our Love Go?', (a song originally destined for The Marvelettes, who turned it down). 'Where Did Our Love Go' went on to reach number one on the U.S. pop charts,and was the first song to appear on the U.K. pop charts, where it reached number three. The follow-up releases, 'Baby Love' (which was was nominated for the 1965 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording), 'Come See About Me', 'Stop! In The Name Of Love' and 'Back In My Arms Again', all topped the U.S. singles charts, whilst 'Baby Love' became the only record by an American group to reach number 1 in Britain in 1964.

In 1966, 'You Keep Me Hangin' On" was awarded the 1966 Grammy for Best Pop single. Unlike many of her R & B contemporaries, Diana Ross sang the songs, note for note, with little elaboration, allowing her fragile delivery to carry the song into a radio friendly environment. Along with the Motown hit machine behind the group, the women had also become fashion role models for many young Black Americans. Much of this was accomplished under the instruction of Motown chief Berry Gordy and Maxine Powell, who ran Motown's in-house finishing school and Artist Development department. The Supremes had, by now become household names, as well as international stars. By the end of 1966, the group had scored further success on the national charts with the singles, 'I Hear a Symphony', 'You Can't Hurry Love' and 'You Keep Me Hangin' On'.

An album entitled 'The Supremes A' Go-Go', became the first album by an all-female group to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. The Supremes recorded albums of Broadway standards, played residencies at expensive nightclubs, and were groomed by Motown staff as all-round entertainers. A 1967 single, 'The Happening', saw the group attempt to become part of the psychedelic movement. All was not well within the group, as Florence Ballard had grown increasingly unhappy in the supporting role into which Berry Gordy had repositioned her into. Floence began to drink heavily, she put on weight, and at times could no longer comfortably wear many of her stage outfits. Resentful of the attention given to Diana Ross, Florence Ballard relied heavily upon the advice of fellow Supreme Mary Wilson, imparting her belief that Diana and Berry Gordy were intent upon her dismissal from the group. That belief saw fruition in 1967, with Florence becoming replaced by Cindy Birdsong (a former member of the Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles group) Florence Ballard was, eventually, removed in February 1968, when she received a one off payment of $139,804.94 in royalties and earnings.

Florence pursued a short lived solo career with ABC Records. She eventually sank into poverty and died abruptly on 22nd of February 1976 from coronary thrombosis at the age of 32. The Supremes name became changed to Diana Ross and the Supremes, seemingly validating Ballard's concerns. Several other Motown acts followed suit regarding the name changes, with The Vandella's becoming Martha Reeves and the Vandella's being one example. 'Reflections' was released, moving the Supremes into a new musical area, incorporating social commentary.

Examples of this manifested themselves in the songs 'Love Child' and 'I'm Livin' In Shame' (the first of which was another U.S. number 1). The Supremes also formed a successful resurrected partnership / recording partnership with the Temptations, highlighted by the hit single 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me'. During 1969, there were persistent rumours that Berry Gordy was about to launch Diana Ross on a solo career (the pair were rumoured at the time to have become an item). These fears were confirmed at the end of the year, when the Supremes staged a farewell performance. Diana Ross said her goodbyes to the Supremes with the song 'Someday We'll Be Together', a U.S. chart hit on which, ironically, she was the only member of the Supremes to appear. Diana Ross & The Supremes gave their final performance on the 14th of January 1970 at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

This trio recorded the self titled 'Mary, Scherrie and Susaye' in 1976, also releasing 'Hi Energy' the same year, before disbanding the following year. The Supremes then released 'I'm Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking', their final Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and their third number-one single on the disco singles chart. On the 12th of June 1977, The Supremes performed their farewell concert at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. Mary Wilson attempted to assemble a new set of Supremes for recording purposes, and toured Britain in 1978 with Karen Rowland and Karen Jackson in the line-up. This did not come to fruition as the name 'the Supremes' had become the legal ownership of Motown Records. Jean Terrell, Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence won the rights, however, to use the Supremes' name in the UK. Scherrie began recording disco material with producer Ian Levine in 1989, for the Nightmare and Motor City labels. Levine also signed Laurence, Wilson and ex Supreme Susaye Greene to solo contracts and recorded Terrell, Lawrence and Greene for a remake of 'Stoned Love'. In 1988 the Supremes were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

The career of Mary Wilson has also continued with a starring role in the Toronto, Canada production of the stage musical 'The Beehive' in 1989 and the publication of the second volume of her autobiography in 1990. In 2006, the Dreamworks movie vehicle 'Dreamgirls', saw Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson taking on the female lead parts in a movie, allegedly (and loosely), based upon the Supremes recorcding career.

The Supremes
  • (1963) Meet the Supremes
  • The Supremes Sing Ballads & Blues (cancelled, 1963)
  • (1964) Where Did Our Love Go
  • (1964) A Bit of Liverpool
  • (1965) The Supremes Sing Country Western & Pop
  • Live, Live, Live (cancelled, 1965)
  • (1965) We Remember Sam Cooke
  • (1965) More Hits by the Supremes
  • There's a Place for Us (cancelled, 1965)
  • (1965) At the Copa
  • Tribute to the Girls (cancelled, 1965)
  • (1965) Merry Christmas
  • (1965) With Love
  • (1966) I Hear a Symphony
  • Pure Gold (cancelled, 1966)
  • (1966) The Supremes A' Go-Go
  • (1967) The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland
  • The Supremes and the Motown Sound (cancelled, 1967)
  • (1967) The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart
  • (1967) Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 and 2

Diana Ross & The Supremes
  • (1968) Reflections
  • (1968) Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl [all Merrill/Styne]
  • (1968) Live at London's Talk of the Town
  • (1968) Love Child
  • (1968) Diana Ross and the Supremes Join the Temptations
  • (1968) T.C.B. - Takin' Care of Business (Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations)
  • (1968) Sing Motown
  • (1969) Let the Sunshine In
  • (1969) Together (Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations)
  • (1969) Cream of the Crop
  • (1969) On Broadway (Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Temptations)
  • (1969) Greatest Hits, Vol. 3
  • (1970) Captured Live on Stage! (originally released as Farewell, Diana Ross's last Supremes concert)

The '70s Supremes (With Jean Terrell)
  • (1970) Right On
  • (1970) The Magnificent 7 (The Supremes and the Four Tops)
  • (1970) New Ways but Love Stays
  • (1971) The Return of the Magnificent Seven (The Supremes and the Four Tops)
  • (1971) Touch
  • (1971) Dynamite (The Supremes and the Four Tops)
  • Promises Kept (cancelled, 1972)
  • (1972) Floy Joy
  • (1972) The Supremes Arranged and Produced by Jimmy Webb
  • (1974) Anthology

The '70s Supremes (With Scherrie Payne)
  • (1975) The Supremes
  • (1976) High Energy
  • (1976) Mary, Scherrie and Susaye

Diana Ross

As a solo artist, Diana Ross is one of the most successful female singers of the rock era. If you factor in her work as the lead singer of the Supremes in the 1960s, she may be the most successful. With her friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin, Ross formed the Primettes vocal quartet in 1959. In 1960, they were signed to local Motown Records, changing their name to the Supremes in 1961. Martin then left, and the group continued as a trio. Over the next eight years, the Supremes (renamed "Diana Ross and the Supremes" in 1967, when Cindy Birdsong replaced Ballard) scored 12 number one pop hits. After the last one, "Someday We'll Be Together" (October 1969), Ross launched a solo career.

Motown initially paired her with writer/producers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who gave her four Top 40 pop hits, including the number one "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (July 1970). Ross branched out into acting, starring in a film biography of Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues (November 1972). The soundtrack went to number one, and Ross was nominated for an Academy Award.

She returned to record-making with the Top Ten album Touch Me in the Morning (June 1973) and its chart-topping title song. This was followed by a duet album with Marvin Gaye, Diana & Marvin (October 1973), that produced three chart hits. Ross acted in her second movie, Mahogany (October 1975), and it brought her another chart-topping single in the theme song, "Do You Know Where You're Going To." That and her next number one, the disco-oriented "Love Hangover" (March 1976), were featured on her second album to be titled simply Diana Ross (February 1976), which rose into the Top Ten.

Ross' third film role came in The Wiz (October 1978). The Boss (May 1979) was a gold-selling album, followed by the platinum-selling Diana (May 1980) (the second of her solo albums with that name, though the other, a 1971 TV soundtrack, had an exclamation mark). It featured the number one single "Upside Down" and the Top Ten hit "I'm Coming Out."

Ross scored a third Top Ten hit in 1980 singing the title theme from the movie It's My Turn. She then scored the biggest hit of her career with another movie theme, duetting with Lionel Richie on "Endless Love" (June 1981). It was her last big hit on Motown; after more than 20 years, she decamped for RCA. She was rewarded immediately with a million-selling album, titled after her remake of the old Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers hit, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," which became her next Top Ten hit. The album also included the Top Ten hit "Mirror, Mirror."

Silk Electric (October 1982) was a gold-seller, featuring the Top Ten hit "Muscles," written and produced by Michael Jackson, and Swept Away (September 1984) was another successful album, containing the hit "Missing You," but Ross had trouble selling records in the second half of the 1980s. By 1989, she had returned to Motown, and by 1993 was turning more to pop standards, notably on the concert album Diana Ross Live: The Lady Sings...Jazz & Blues, Stolen Moments (April 1993).

Motown released a four-CD/cassette box set retrospective, Forever Diana, in October 1993, and the singer published her autobiography in 1994. Take Me Higher followed a year later, and in 1999 she returned with Every Day Is a New Day. 2000's Gift of Love was promoted by a concert tour featuring the Supremes, although neither Mary Wilson nor Cindy Birdsong appeared -- their roles were instead assumed by singers Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne, neither of whom had ever performed with Ross during the group's glory days. In 2006 Motown finally released Ross' lost album Blue, a collection of standards originally intended as the follow-up to Lady Sings the Blues. The album I Love You from 2007 featured new interpretations of familiar love songs. That same year the cable television network BET honored Ross with their Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • (1970) Diana Ross
  • (1970) Everything Is Everything
  • (1971) Diana!
  • (1971) Surrender
  • (1972) Lady Sings The Blues
  • (1973) Touch Me In The Morning
  • (1973) with Marvin Gaye: Diana And Marvin
  • (1973) Last Time I Saw Him
  • (1974) Diana Ross Live At Caesar's Palace
  • (1975) Mahogany
  • (1976) Diana Ross
  • (1977) An Evening With Diana Ross
  • (1977) Baby It's Me
  • (1978) Ross
  • (1979) The Boss
  • (1980) Diana
  • (1981) To Love Again
  • (1981) Why Do Fools Fall In Love
  • (1982) Silk Electric
  • (1983) Ross
  • (1984) Swept Away
  • (1985) Eaten Alive
  • (1987) Red Hot Rhythm N' Blues
  • (1989) Working Overtime
  • (1989) Greatest Hits Live
  • (1991) Force Behind The Power
  • (1993) Stolen Moments - The Lady Sings... Jazz & Blues
  • (1993) with Placido Domingo, José Carreras: Christmas In Vienna
  • (1995) Take Me Higher
  • (1998) Very Special Christmas
  • (1999) Every Day Is a New Day
  • (2006) Blue
  • (2006) I Love You

Discography at Soully Oldies
The Supremes at Wikipedia
The Supremes at Soulwalking

Monday, April 6, 2009

Good Times [Fourth Season] (1977)


  • Esther Rolle
  • John Amos
  • Ja'net DuBois
  • Jimmie Walker
  • Bern Nadetta Stanis
  • Ralph Carter

Episode Guide
The Good Times (Season 4) DVD features a number of hilarious episodes including the two-part season premiere "The Big Move" in which the entire Evans family is prepared to move to Mississippi where James has landed a high-paying job. Together with Willona, they plan an elaborate going away party. But the party is interrupted by the news of James' death in a tragic car accident. As the funeral proceeds, the grief stricken children wonder why Florida has yet cry… Other notable episodes from Season 4 include "Michael's Great Romance" in which Michael falls in love with a girl who has the hots for J.J., and "Florida's Night Out" in which the family is worried about Florida spending so much time alone, that is until Willona takes her out on the town for a night at an exciting night club…