Last night I flashed back to The Supremes with their million selling 1971 hit Stoned Love. It was very popular and several people wrote in asking me to flash back today on their first post-Diana hit, Up The Ladder To The Roof. So I found this clip on You Tube of The "New" Supremes performing it. Taken from The Ed Sullivan Show, it's a classic of its own accord. Ross' replacement, Jean Terrell, had been performing with her brother Ernie's band for a while before Motown founder Berry Gordy spotted her in Miami. Her sensational vocal abilities and earthy persona won him over instantly and he originally signed her to a solo contract with the company before deciding to tap her as the newest Supreme. Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong were as impressed with Jean as was Gordy. While Mary would later write that Gordy wanted to replace Jean with Syreeta Wright, at the last minute, she stayed in the group nonetheless (due in part to Wilson and Birdsong's insistence) and the rest is history.
The new trio's first single was indeed Up The Ladder and it was a hit right out of the box. Audience reaction was strong and critical reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The song soared into the top ten, eclipsing Ross' inauguaral solo release. Originally selling close to a million copies, it has now become a perenial favorite among Supremes fans and remains one of the group's most recognizable performances.
So, for everyone who asked for it, and for everyone else as well, here they are, The Supremes, from Spring 1970, singing Up The Ladder To The Roof.