Acts and Performers
MARY WILSON of The Supremes
It was a vision of musical stardom as a Detroit teen that inspired Mary Wilson, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, to found one of the most successful female singing groups in recording history – The Supremes. Since then, Wilson has gone on to be a part of dozens of hit records, has written a best-selling autobiography, performed on stage and screen, lectured and toured the world, and continues to be looked up to as a singer who set the standard for females in the recording industry.
This past summer, Wilson performed a number of consecutive shows at Feinstein’s at the Regency, New York’s premiere supper club. In her “Mary Wilson: Up Close” show, she wowed audiences with an intimate selection of standards and easy-listening tunes that showcased her smoky voice and vocal prowess. Wilson closed the season at the prestigious nightclub, which The New York Post called “an invaluable New York institution,” and will continue another in-demand series of performances at the Empire Plush Room at the York Hotel in San Francisco from December 4th-16th.
As an original Supreme, Wilson was a much sought-after interview regarding the award-winning film DREAMGIRLS, currently on DVD. After covering the red carpet premiere for “Extra,” she endeared herself to a whole new generation of Hollywood stars and fans alike, including Golden Globe winners Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, as well as Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg! The success of DREAMGIRLS has also rekindled interest in Wilson’s best-selling autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme.
In addition to her tireless performing and trips to the studio to record her new album, Wilson, along with The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Friends Against Musical Exploitation, is lobbying state governments to pass a bill prohibiting bogus musical groups from cashing in on the names and likeness of such famous acts as The Supremes, The Platters and The Four Tops. Wilson and company have proposed an amendment to the Truth in Advertising Act (1968) that would prevent such groups from performing under such classic bands’ names unless they contained an original member or had specific licenses to do so. To date, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, the Dakotas, Illinois, Nevada, and Texas have passed the bill in landslide majorities. Wilson’s goal is to garner enough state support (10 need to adopt the bill) to lobby Congress to pass a federal law. “We have given America and the world happiness with our music; it’s time that we have a law that protects us and our legacy,” Wilson states.
Tireless in her contributions to charity and society at large, Wilson was recently named as a spokesperson for The Humpty Dumpty Institute’s initiative to raise public awareness about the worldwide scourge of landmines. As HDI’s Mine Action Spokesperson, Wilson traveled to Sri Lanka and then Laos this past fall, visiting schools impacted by unexploded ordinance left over from the Vietnam War. After helping to detonate 58 bombs and declaring safe zones, she held a charity concert in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In addition, Wilson will adress the annual conference of the US Department of Agriculture on Food Security and in May will do another concert to kick off HDI’s Farmer Markets Program. In early summer, she will travel to Vietnam and visit the mine action program.
Additionally, in 2003, Wilson was named a US Cultural Ambassador by US Secretary of State Colin Powell as part of the “Culture Connect” program, whose goal is to improve cross-cultural understanding internationally. As such, she undertook missions to Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Asia and South America on behalf of the US Department of State. Wilson was also recently awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Paine College in Augusta, GA.
While growing up in Detroit’s Brewster Projects, a young Mary Wilson had long fantasized about being a performer, her love for singing having blossomed when she befriended Florence Ballard, Betty McGlown and Diane Ross at age 13. Fueled by their mutual love of music and their ambition for stardom, the quartet formed a singing group, The Primettes, and became the sister group of The Primes, who saw two members go on to form The Tempations. When Betty left the group to get married, the girls recruited Barbara Martin. Together they auditioned for then fledgling Motown label and were eventually signed. Barbara dropped out of the group, and the remaining trio of Mary, Flo and Diane became known as The Supremes.
At first, success eluded the girls, who recorded several albums before getting their first hit. In fact, they were dubbed the “No-Hit Supremes” until Motown founder Berry Gordy put them in touch with his top writing and producing team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. Four decades and 40 albums later, what once started as a dream has exceeded beyond Wilson’s wildest imagination. With an unprecedented 12 number-one hits, including five in a row – “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Stop, In The Name Of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again” – The Supremes set the precedent for super group success.
Wilson worked hard to keep the dream alive even after Florence and Diana left the group. In 1970, Berry Gordy brought in Jean Terrell to replace Ross, with Cindy Birdsong having replaced Florence Ballard. Together, they formed The New Supremes, racking up three top 10 hits [“Up The Ladder To The Roof”, “Stoned Love”, and “River Deep, Mountain High” (with the Four Tops)].
In 1977, Mary knew it was time for her to pursue her own dream; Motown released Mary’s first solo album, “Mary Wilson,” which yielded the dance hit, “Red Hot,” in 1979. In 1992, Wilson released her first album in thirteen years, “Walk the Line,” which produced the single “One Night With You.” To this day Wilson continues to tour under the moniker of Mary Wilson of The Original Supremes, and has performed for handfuls of celebrities and politicians all over the world, including The Clintons at The White House.
Fans of Wilson can hear her smoky voice in the latest Supremes collection, Diana Ross & The Supremes: The No.1s, re-mastered original recordings of their chart-topping hits. With 24 tracks spanning 18 years of The Supremes sound, the album includes hits from the many reincarnations of the group including the original Supremes, Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Supremes post-Ross.
Throughout the late 70s and 80s, Mary hit the lecture circuit to tell her amazing story. She still lectures to this day, her “Dare To Dream” circuit including such organizations at American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, UNICEF and many more. Wilson eventually put her story to print, becoming a best-selling author with her autobiography, Dreamgirl…My Life As A Supreme. Dreamgirl went on to sell over 250,000 copies in hardback, becoming one of the most successful rock and roll autobiographies of all time.
The overwhelming success of that first book prompted Wilson to pen its sequel, Supreme Faith…Someday We’ll Be Together. Currently, The Complete Works by Mary Wilson combines the first two books with additional chapters added.
Throughout her career, Mary has enjoyed spreading her creative wings in other areas, although music remains her primary focus. Mary is the only original Supreme to undertake the challenge of legitimate theatre, making her stage debut in 1988 with “Beehive,” a musical tribute to the female groups of the 60s. Most recently, Wilson starred in a national tour of “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies,” the celebrated tribute to the music of the legendary jazz great. Her other theatre credits include “Leader of the Pack,” about the life of the songwriter Elly Greenwich, and numerous off-Broadway shows including “Mother’s Hubbard,” “Idealla’s Soul Shack,” “The Vagina Monologues” at the Detroit Opera House and “Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral,” where respected columnist Liz Smith proclaimed: “Mary Wilson, the sexiest and most attractive of the three original Supremes, a true survivor, makes her off-Broadway debut!” Wilson’s film credits include Disney’s TIGERTOWN, the documentaries BROWN SUGAR and THE GIRL GROUPS, and Lifetime Networks’ made for television movie, JACKIE’S BACK.
In addition to a stint as a guest judge on the FOX hit “American Juniors” and performing for ABC’s “Motown 45th Anniversary Special,” Wilson was last seen in Miramax’s ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE, a documentary that catches up with the soul music stars of the 60s and 70s. Of Wilson in ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE, the Los Angeles Times said “Mary Wilson remains strikingly attractive and a vibrant singer of much style and authority; Wilson may have been a backup singer with the Supremes but is in truth a lead singer with a star quality never fully recognized.”
Throughout her career, Mary Wilson has had the privilege and pleasure of performing all over the world. Many of her performances with The Supremes were requested by royalty, such as for Britain’s Queen Mother as well as for the King of Sweden. In 2000, Wilson had the prestigious honor of performing at the White House for the Millennium Celebration as well as two inaugural dinners held in President Bush’s honor.
A tireless humanitarian, Mary was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the National Foundation of Women Legislators and asked to join the Delegation of Woman Legislators. Wilson also participated in a Trade and Civil Life Conference in Bahrain with many of the kingdom’s highest officials, hosted by the Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain. The Free Trade Bill between the US and Bahrain remains a project that Wilson is very proud to have been a part of. Wilson has also visited the African nations of Mozambique and Botswana, where she spoke with thousands of children on the dangers of HIV and AIDS.
In 1988, The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, receiving the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, which Wilson personally accepted. Seven years later, the Hall launched an exhibit of the “Supremes” gowns for the museum’s opening in Cleveland, Ohio called The Supremes Reflections: The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection. Wilson had been personally archiving the gowns for years before the exhibit, and was the natural choice for curator. The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection, including the Butterfly dresses worn on their 1968 television special, is currently on tour, opening at the following museums: the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan (Nov 4th, 2007) and The Theatre Museum in London (May 12th, 2008). The collection has appeared at the New York State Museum in Albany, The LBJ Museum in Austin, The Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York, and The Detroit Historical Museum to name a few.
With a successful solo career – and new CD out later this year – an equally successful literary career and her tireless humanitarian efforts, Mary’s future couldn’t look brighter. She is living proof that dreams really do come true!
Vocalist extraordinaire Eddie Holman is among the most listened-to artists in the field of popular and classic R&B music. His unforgettable falsetto voice and the tune that he popularized is perhaps the most recognizable urban love-song in much of the English speaking world. “Hey There Lonely Girl” is the beautiful tune that’s seems to touch every ones soul as it emanates from airwaves or churns from the turntables of fans. It is the composition that distinctly defines now it feels when the young gent helplessly yearns for his lady, the object of his affection, who has been spurned by her ex! The song concludes: “Don’t you know this lonely boy loves you!” No other classic love song in modern recorded history has had as much an impact on the lovelorn, or said it better than this 1970 mega hit.
Although he started singing at the age of two, Eddie Holman’s venture into show business began after his family relocated to New York City for Norfolk, Virginia in 1954, when he was eight years of age. It was there that his strikingly beautiful mother exposed her child prodigy to the piano, guitar, singing, and the performing arts in and around the bustling city. As Eddie’s musical talents blossomed, his unique gifts let him to victory on the most challenging stage in the Metropolis, The Apollo Theater Amateur Night. With a choirboy image, Little Eddie Holman – as he was the called – became so proficient as a performer that, in time, his vocal prowess as an adolescent was even showcased before crowd at the elegant Carnegie Hall and popular Off Broadway Theaters. In search of creative freedom, and in order to expand his artistic boundaries, Eddie was enrolled in Harlem’s prestigious Victoria School Of Music to study along with other gifted youngsters while he appeared regularly on NBC’s “The Children’s Hour”.
Eddie’s star shone even brighter when, during his teen years, he moved to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pa., where he attended Overbrook High School, and further advanced his secular education by joining the proud alumni of Cheney State University. While attending the university, Eddie’s ultimate dream materialized with the release of the first of a caravan of charted hit songs: “This Can’t Be True, Girl”. This musical selection signaled the beginning of a collection of prolific love ballads that would provide a rock solid foundation for the launching of the illustrious career of one of the recording industries pioneers of romance.
While on the edge of major international acclaim, Eddie Holman continued to release a number of successful albums, some under his own gospel label, Agape, and on which label he plans to record additional longed for projects in the near future. Schoochiebug Music Publishing and Agape Records (Eddie’s companies) are the exclusive sources that Eddie continues to use to glorify his maker in his own way.
Eddie’s lyrical masterpieces are so timeless that in 1998, Hollywood got in on the act by adopting “Hey There Lonely Girl” as one of its theme songs in the Martin Lawrence/Tim Robbins film titled, Nothing to Lose. Also, in 1999 Toyota featured the song in a worldwide television commercial, advertising the Camry automobile. Eddie’s repertoire has secured unending accolades over the years and his admirers include industry artist such as Isaac Hayes, Dionne Warwick, and super rapper NAS. In fact, NAS was so impressed by Eddie’s syle that he sample his song, “I Love You” – which was co-written by Eddie’s creative wife Sheila – on his platinum mega hit CD titled God’s Son. It was at Sheila’s insistence, by the way, that Eddie reluctantly committed to record his greatest R&B classic.
Eddie’s smooth flowing style is a reflection of the primary musical influences in his life: Jackie Wilson, who is arguably the greatest stage talent ever, and the velvet crooner himself, Nat King Cole. These two industry giants are the creative example for the younger Eddie by their boundless exhibition of class and style. Jackie’s undulating vocal gymnastics and Nat’s soothing voice served s the backdrop for the sensational vocal orchestrations synonymous with Eddie Holman. As a frequent touring roommate of Jackie’s, and although influenced by Jackie more than anyone else, Eddie tirelessly shaped his own unique style by molding his delivery into an electrifying display of raw vocal prowess, as witnessed by the fever pitched eruption of applause from the congregants of T.J. Lubinsky’s PBS tribute to “Doo Wop, R&B 40” which aired in the year 2002.
Eddie Holman works year round, performing at concert halls around the country and throughout the world, mesmerizing throngs with his rich tenor voice and the original Philly sounds (which Eddie helped define). Eddie can even be located performing on some of the more popular cruise ships perusing the Atlantic, and he can also be witnessed serving up a heaping dose of pop and soul where his popularity is at an all-time high, English clubs and the pride of the UK, Wembley Stadium. Touring with the Eddie Holman Band is something that he enjoys immensely because of the fan appreciation, the spontaneous adulation, and the opportunity to share his golden classics with a new generation of fans. Daily, new music enthusiasts are turned on to the Philly sound, and prominent among the ambassadors of sould is the pride of Philadelphia, Eddie “Smooth as Silk” Holman.
A loving father of three, Eddie Holman is an ordained Baptist minister that uses his music as a tool to encourage togetherness in families. He recognizes his talent as a gift from his creator and feels an obligation and an indebtedness to use his abilities, music and otherwise, to spread good will everywhere his is blessed to perform. As for today’s music, he thinks that much of it is positive and some of it is noxious. He believes that those who are blessed with creative talent have a responsibility to encourage personal accountability and to set the best example possible because of the powerful influence that they have on the lives of so many young ones. He says: “lyrics send powerful messages that impact the listener of songs in ways that the artist will never know.” Eddie insist, “no genre of music is flawless and no music culture is completely bad.”
Eddie Holman is to this day a model Pennsylvania resident who works closely with community leaders, generously caring for the needs of those less fortunate. In line with this, Eddie plans to pen some of his noteworthy personal and public experiences by writing his autobiography. His interest in the arts extends far beyond the recording industry; it takes in the countless educational systems that prepare our children to appreciate all of the performing arts.
Once in a lifetime a talent in the mold of the fabulous Eddie Holman happens into our lives with a sound and an aura that is so incomparable that the public embraces it with heartfelt affection. Like a Nightingale in springtime in one fell swoop, Eddie Holman delivers a melodic phrase with passion, and then woos the awestruck audience with bursts of tantalizing musical gift to the world. Eddie Holman’s exemplary career has certainly stood the test of time, and his dignified musical legacy is one that will continue to flourish for as long as there is a song to sing.
Harold Winley and The Clovers
The Clovers were one of the most successful music groups of the 1950’s with a chart career that spanned the decade. Between 1950 and 1959. The Clovers had more hits than ANY OTHER SINGING GROUP, (including The Flamingos, The Drifters, The Orioles, The Coasters, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Five Royales and other groups – all of which are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, except The Clovers). They had three #1 hits on the R&B charts, four #2 hits and 11 other top ten hits. Their influential combination of vocal group styling with jump blues, gospel and swing made them one of the earliest and most important R&B singing groups, and gives them a claim to be one of the earliest rock ‘n’ roll singing groups.
The group formed in 1946 in the halls of Washington, D.C.’s Armstrong High School, a long-gone institution in the Shaw neighborhood where Duke Ellington once studied design and art. The group was formed by Harold “Hal” Lucas with Lucas on lead, tenor Thomas Woods, and bass Billy Shelton. When John “Buddy” Bailey came on board as lead, Lucas moved to baritone. Lucas, hoping for good luck, called his group the Four Clovers and they began playing the local club scene, singing songs by the Ink Spots, the Ravens, the Charioteers and local heroes the Orioles. By 1949, second tenor Matthew McQuarter had replaced Thomas Woods, and HAROLD WINLEY replaced Billy Shelton.
The Clovers were discovered while playing a club in Washington by Baltimore-based entrepreneur Lou Krefetz, who contracted them to Rainbow Records, a small label. It was there they made their debut with “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.” Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of a new label, Atlantic Records wrote his first song in 1950 which would become their first hit, “Don’t You Know I Love You.” According to Nick Tosches, that single was also the first record by an R&B quartet to incorporate a saxophone solo (by Frank Culley) into its structure. The record became a number one R&B hit during the summer of 1951 and heralded a new era in popular music, serving as the template for a decade of R&B hits. Indeed, there are those who identify that record as the very first identifiable Rock & Roll single.
Harold Winley AND The CLOVERS recently appeared on Broadway at the Beacon Theatre. The current line-up includes the last surviving, original Clover member, Harold Jerome Winley, King Raymond Green, Tyrone Burwell, Carlos Wilson and Franklen Poole.
In 2015, Mr. Harold Winley is a national treasure and at the tender young age of 80+says he “only wants to sing”.
The Clovers’ music has survived the test of time spanning over 6 decades. It has retained its relevance in the history of the Doo Wop genre. The music lives on through fans, media outlets and has been selected as an answer for Jeopardy!
George Lucas selected Love Potion No. 9 to include in the soundtrack for American Graffiti in 1973 about teenagers coming of age. The movie, Love Potion #9, starring Sandra Bullock in 1992 tells the story of a biochemist unlucky with women who gets a hold of Love Potion 9.
Love Potion No. 9 became their biggest hit and was written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1959 on the United Artist label. It was covered by The Coasters in 1971 and Neil Diamond in 1963 but the British group, The Searchers had more success in 1963.
Their first hit “Don’t You Know I Love You” was released in 1951 reached #1. In 1952, the smash hit “One Mint Julep” reached the top ten and was covered by Ray Charles in 1960 and Bob James in1976. “Lovey Dovey” was released in 1953 and reached # 2; it was covered by both Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967. “Blue Velvet” was released in 1955 and reached # 14, “Devil or Angel” was released in 1956 and reached # 3 and Bobby Vee covered this hit in 1960.
The 1952 hit, “Ting-A-Ling” was covered by Buddy Holly in 1958, and by Aaron Neville in 2013.
Last, but certainly, not least, in 1957, the great Quincy Jones was the arranger who worked with the group and arranged the song, “So Young”.
Their music continues to remain in the realm of great musical contributions as Lady Ga Ga mentored American Idol contestant James Durbin in 2011 for his ‘rock-style’ rendition of “Love Potion #9”, a song choice from the Leiber and Stoller songbook of the Clovers.
The group’s new, upcoming album is titled, Harold Winley AND The CLOVERS of The New Millennium.
List of Awards
1989 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award
1991 United in Group Harmony (UGHA) Hall of Fame
2002 Vocal Group Hall of Fame
2003 Doo Wop Hall of Fame
2011 Beach Music Hall of Fame
On August 17, 2013 Harold Winley AND The CLOVERS, the world famous Doo Wop group was inducted into the inaugural class of the R&B Hall Of Fame in Cleveland Ohio. Among the industry monarchs in the entertainment universe, they were the first Doo Wop Group recognized with the likes of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and a few vocal groups inducted included The O’Jays and The Temptations and many more extremely talented artists.
The Original Tymes
There are those who say that “So Much In Love” is the greatest pop ballad of all time. Practically anyone could tell you where they were the first time they heard that immortal “As we stroll along together…” opening. This was the hit recording that The Tymes created their first time out, the classic that was the first record to replace the Beatles in the number one slot on the British charts. “So Much In Love” went to number one on Billboard in June of 1963 and is one…” Their other most requested chart toppers include “Wonderful Wonderful”, “Somewhere”, and “Trustmaker”.
This is a group whose hits spanned the most exciting period in pop music, the mid 60’s through the mid 70’s. In addition to having hit records throughout the world The Tymes first two tours of England were smashing triumphs and a third tour set attendance records. Other European tours and television appearances took them to Holland, England, France, Germany, and Italy. Most recently The Tymes just finished a tour that included Australia and Alaska, major hotels in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the 12,000 seat arena at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and many Corporate affairs and cruises.
Today The Tymes are still going strong. They have made many television appearances and they are still performing all over the world. Two of the four members of The Tymes are original members: Albert ‘Ceasar’ Berry and Norman Burnett (over 45 years of experience and friendship together!) Lafayette Gamble joined the The Tymes over 15 years ago. Jimmy Wells recently joined the group. You can add The Tymes to your list. Their memorable melodies, close been brought to fans throughout the country in countless concert appearances. The Philadelphia Kimmel Center and most recently to 120,000 fans who saw them perform at Radio City Music Hall and discovered they are still “So Much In Love” with The Tymes.
The Tymes, now called “The Original Tymes”, were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005.
It all just fell together in 1963 when the group recorded a little piece of magic called “So Much In Love” that screamed to the top of the charts to…you guessed it…”number one” and remained on the charts for 12 incredible weeks. This record is considered the absolute king of the summer love songs among experts in popular music. The group then spread it wings and continued to score memorable hits with the gorgeous “Wonderful Wonderful” in 1963 “Somewhere” in 1964 and the ‘Top Ten’ with “Trustmaker” in 1974. The beauty of their recording material is only matched by their reputation as one of the most professional and smoothest live acts in the business. There is a reason that their peers refer to them simply as “Silk”.