‘Farewell’ Album: Diana Ross Says Goodbye To The Supremes
On January 14, 1970 in Las Vegas, Diana Ross appeared in concert as a member of the Supremes for the final time.
Their fans had known it was coming for some time, but the night of January 14, 1970 was an emotional one for lovers of the Supremes.
Late in 1969, Motown Records had let it be known that Diana Ross would soon be leaving the superstar trio to forge a solo career. The group ended the year where they had been so many times throughout the 1960s: at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, with Ross’ final single as a Supreme, “Someday We’ll Be Together.” Unbeknown to the public, and with heavy irony, her bandmates Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong didn’t actually appear on the song.
By the new year, not only was Ross preparing her first solo material, but the group, with new member Jean Terrell, had started recording their first album without her. That set, Right On, was released in April 1970, by which time the retooled trio were already in the charts with its lead single “Up The Ladder To The Roof.” Diana would soon join them there with her first solo 45, Ashford & Simpson’s “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand).”
But amid such busy forward planning, there was still time for a tumultuous public goodbye. On January 14, at the New Frontier Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, Ross, Wilson, and Birdsong (herself the successor to Florence Ballard, from 1967 onwards) gave their last concert together.
Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye were among the Motown colleagues in the audience to see the performance, which was released on the album Farewell, surprisingly only a No.46 success in the US charts. It was reissued as Captured Live On Stage! in 1992. The show included a medley of early Supremes classics as well as full versions of later hits such as “Reflections,” “Love Child,” and of course, a closing “Someday We’ll Be Together.”
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“I’d like to thank the Frontier Hotel and of course all of our fans and everyone that’s been with us over the last ten years,” said Diana, before introducing Terrell to the audience. Precisely six days later, Ross was in the studio recording “Reach Out And Touch,” and for Supremes fans, the 1960s were officially over.
Buy or stream Diana Ross’ final performance with the Supremes on the Farewell album, reissued as Captured Live On Stage!
April 18, 2019 at 3:30 am
Correction: This live set’s “Captured Live On Stage” 1992 reissue may have been in its CD format; but the album version came out on Motown in the summer of 1982, I believe. In fact, ironically, Motown seemed to time that with and capitalize on the ongoing success of the new musical play “Dreamgirls,” when “Captured” came out with the cellophane wrapping bearing a round stick-on decal that asked “The Real Dreamgirls?”
January 14, 2020 at 3:45 pm
To Diezo: When you stated that the album version came out in 1982, you were referring to the “Captured Live on Stage” issue, right? Just to clarify, the album version of the “Farewell” album came out in 1970. It was packaged in a nice little box with a booklet of some of the photos from the last performances at the New Frontier Hotel & Casino.