ALL THAT GLITTERED: My Life with the Supremes by Tony with Barbara Turner

ALL THAT GLITTERED: My Life with the Supremes

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The rise and fall of the Supremes, as seen by a fan who got close to Flo (and who's now road manager for the Temptations). The year was 1964. Turner was a 12-year-old from the Harlem projects when he spotted ""a goddess of a black woman. . .all wigs and lashes and fur"" in B. Altman's department store. He helped her get a cab, she bought him a hot dog and introduced herself as Flo Ballard of the Supremes, in New York for the group's first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. She invited him back to see the show, and from then on, whenever the Supremes were in town, Tony was hanging around, running errands and drinking in every detail, especially of the escalating competition between Flo and Diana Ross. Tony remembers a rehearsal when a song Plo was singing lead on was dropped from the lineup. Flo screamed and shouted, but days later the song reappeared in the repertoire, with Diana singing lead. As the conflict became more overt, Diana reported every tiff to Berry Gordy and always got her way. Word of more trouble filtered back to Tony in New York: Flo missed a concert because she was too drunk to go on stage; Flo had a tantrum. Then Flo was out of the group. She married, tried to make it solo, but Motown blocked her attempts. She lost her house, went on welfare, and died in 1976. A subjective take on the story--the outlines of which are well known. But Supremes fans may relish the occasionally telling detail: an image of Diana ignoring everyone in the dressing room to stare at herself in the mirror; Tony's heartbreaking story of returning with Flo to the house she'd lost and singing ""Baby Love"" by candlelight. (For another, if less vivid, Supremes memoir, see Mary Wilson's Supreme Faith, reviewed below.)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1990
Publisher: Dutton