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Barbara Martin, Original Member of The Supremes, Dies at 76

The Supremes
GAB Archive/Redferns

Clockwise, from top: Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Barbara Martin, the first lineup of The Supremes circa 1961.

Barbara Martin, an original member of the 1960s Motown girl group The Supremes, died this week, as fellow Supremes member Mary Wilson confirmed. Martin was 76.

Wilson posted the news of Martin's death on social media Thursday with broken-heart and teary-eyed emojis. NME reported the soul singer died Wednesday, according to her reps.

The Supremes' official Facebook page reposted Wilson's message, writing, "Our hearts go out to Barbara's family and friends. Once a Supreme, always a Supreme."

The Detroit-born singer replaced Betty McGlown in 1960 when the founding quartet -- consisting of Wilson, McGlown, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard -- used to be called The Primettes. The reconstructed girl group went on to sign a record deal with Motown's Berry Gordy as The Supremes in 1961.

Martin shared vocals with Ross on the group's early single "(He's) Seventeen." She left the pop girl group in 1962, and the remaining women took off as a trio until 1967, when the group renamed itself again as Diana Ross & The Supremes and Cindy Birdsong replaced Ballard.

The Supremes went through numerous trio combinations until dissolving in 1977.

Read The Supremes' official statement as well as the Supremes Archive post below.

Our hearts go out to Barbara's family and friends. Once a Supreme, always a Supreme

Posted by Supremes on Thursday, March 5, 2020

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