Formed in Detroit as The Primettes in 1959, Wilson and The Supremes were just teenagers when they caught the attention of Motown founder Gordy, who promptly signed the all-girl group.
Together, they made history. More than 60 years on, The Supremes still reign supreme. They were Motown’s most successful act of the 1960s, scoring 12 No. 1 singles, including five in a row from 1964-1965.
With Wilson at its heart, the act shaped popular culture and they remain the leading female recording group in history.
Gordy was “always proud of Mary,” he recounts in a message written Monday (Feb. 8), following her death at age 76. “She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes.”
Wilson was “extremely special to me,” he continues. “She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.”
The Hall of Famer was working on new projects for 2021, including an album she recently teased on her YouTube channel. A celebration of her life will take place later this year
Read Berry Gordy’s tribute in full below.
The Supremes were always known as the “sweethearts of Motown.” Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to
Motown in the early 1960’s. After an unprecedented string of number one hits, television and nightclub bookings, they opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others.
I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes.
Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.
February 8, 2021