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Tolerating band members

For as long as I can remember, few bands can stay together for an extended period of time without killing each other. Mainly band members just can’t tolerate each other once they make it big with a huge hit. I’m going to use two examples of bands that couldn’t stay together, and then two that are anomalies and are still playing to this day.

The Beatles– For seven years, the Liverpool product dominated popular music all over the world, but then in 1970, it was all over. Why? Was it Lennon versus McCartney? Did Yoko Ono have something to do with it? Did George or Ringo do anything to cause it? It’s a combination of the three. John and Paul hated each other near the end, and the other three took offense to Yoko always tagging along in their recording sessions. And by not taking a side, George and Ringo also facilitated the breakup.

The Supremes– The greatest all-female group of all-time, the Supremes, also met a sticky end. Throughout the 1960s, the trio of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard dominated R&B. When Cindy Birdsong replaced the fired Ballard, things started to deteriorate. Mary Wilson in particular was upset over her friend’s dismissal. That coupled with the emergence of Diana Ross as a superstar, led to factions and ultimately, the group’s collapse.

Now for the two success stories of music:

Chicago– Ever since the mid 1960s, the Windy City’s favorite group has sold records and performed for just about anyone. With the original members Robert Lamm, Walt Parazaider, Lee Loughnane and Jim Pankow, Chicago has stuck true to its roots and has been a group of great relationships and friendship. The only blemish was when drummer Danny Seraphine, who was dismissed for sloppiness and bad technique in 1990. Even when others left, they left graciously and without a fuss.

Rush– Since 1968 these Canadian imports have been making abstract, but amazingly talented music, and they have not had a single change in their history. Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee have been friends for most of their lives, and you can see it in their live shows. They are a group that has formed the bond that isn’t seen in many bands.

We can see a difference between all these groups. Now, I believe that groups can be friends and can stay together, but they have to be careful and control their egos. If they can’t do that, then they won’t get along, and their group and careers will suffer. None of the Beatles or the Supremes approached their success since their breakup, but groups like Chicago, Rush, The Bee Gees and others continue to have worldwide success because of their ability to share their lives with each other.

Wendlandt is a sophomore broadcast major and can be contacted at michael.wendlandt@drake.edu


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  1. Mic December 9, 2010

    Diana Ross and the Supremes dominated pop music including R&B. Twelve number ones does not regulate you to a “R&B” act. Get real.

  2. Straus December 10, 2010

    Stop In The Name of Love…..Get your facts right, before writing man. The Supremes…AKA…Diana Ross, and The Supremes, were tops in Pop Music…12 Number 1’s….and Diana herself, 6 more…a total of 18 Billboard Number 1s.

  3. C.J. December 10, 2010

    As well, I concur with Mic. Dominating Popular Music PERIOD! The Supremes covered the GAMUT, and tho’ they had HITS in particular genres, it doesn’t RELEGATE them to ‘R&B’ ALONE! AND the factions mentioned did ‘NOT’ lead to the group’s collapse! EsPECially Diana’s emergeance as a ‘star’. The SUPREMES WERE BIGGER than HER at the onset! And they were carrying that “ON”! It was Other hands in the ‘pot’ that caused them to ‘de-merge’ as far as the public was concerned….. and Diana to ‘E’-merge! But the equation doesn’t add up! If they both were being successful, WHAT in the world could CAUSE that to ‘change’ suddenly…..? There HAS to be an underlying reason OTHER than the fact that they had changed. They were SUPREME STILL, and hitting strong! It was ‘other’ things that stopped ‘that’, but didn’t stop the ‘group’ until ‘they’ decided on it! The Supremes ConTINued to Be one of THE MAJOR forces in music for a long time after Diana Ross. So much so that there is a frenzy brewing even ‘now’ over more music from them to this day!

  4. DERRICK December 11, 2010


  5. Les December 12, 2010

    Over and over we have to hear people who put their own interpretation on the history of Diana Ross and the Supremes. I grew up while the Supremes were at their peak. They had the right sound at the right time. Their management at Motown made what were clearly excellent decisions as to the presentation and sound of the group. This was demonstrated overwhelmingly by the success they had.The record buying public bought, as they do today, what they liked. Not what they were told to buy. Diana Ross took a risk in stepping away from the rest of the group, so that she could try new things (such as acting). She did this and had a very successful carreer (not without its ups and downs). The Supremes also went on to be successful, re inventing themselves in the 70’s and we loved them. Unfortunately the golden era of the girl groups was over, and inspite of being more successful than all of their 60’s contemperies they became less relevant to a younger audience.If Motown or any other record company been able to continue to milk the cash from the Supremes, they would have done. The world changes and thats what happened. Motown and Berry Gordy were products of that time and did what they thought was best at that time.

  6. REYnoldo December 13, 2010

    Mike, please check your car for slashed tires. You have upset the messes …. uh masses of crack pot Supremes/Ross fans.

    They are crazy. They are much like the zombies in “Night of the Living Dead”.

  7. charles c. December 13, 2010

    OMG! The comments from the Supremes fans are hilarious–I hope you learn never to question the popularity of the Supremes–they have some crazy fans whose entire self esteem is based on the group’s (and later Ross’) chart popularity in the 60’s and 70’s.

    To change subjects, a couple of other groups that have managed to stay together (more or less) over the long term that could have been mentioned in your blog:

    The Rolling Stones (even if it’s been revealed by Keith Richards that he’s had nothing to do with Mick Jagger off stage since the 80’s)

    The Four Tops (the original line up stayed together for 40 years and didn’t have line up changes until illness and death took its unfortunate toll.

    U2-all 4 members have stayed in the band for 30 years now.

  8. MotownManiac December 14, 2010

    Mary Wilson SAYS she was upset by Flo’s dismissal, but didn’t try to stop it. Check her out on Youtube before and after. Does Mary look upset? LOL. The minute she got Flo out she began her campaign to upstage Cindy AND Diana. Look at the videos like Reflections and Fats Waller – all exagggggggerated movements. I haven’t seen that much ham since IHOP on Easter morning! Nice that a young dude is into The Supremes, but they had more success on the pop chart than R&B, although they dominated both. Also, at the time Flo left, so did the group’s writing and producing team that were responsible for every one of their hits and the majority of Motown’s other hits at the time. Girl groups were dying and The new Supremes died with them as did all the other 1-3 hit groups like Honey Cone, Love Unlimited, Three Degrees and Labell. It was the genre, and The 70’s Supremes were no better or worse than the others that died with them.

  9. MotownManiac December 15, 2010

    Diana was the star of the 60s Supremes and sang the lead on every hit and probably every album and in every concert. The group’s success had to be squarely resting on her shoulders. What “other hands” are you talking about?

  10. Rush fan December 29, 2010

    Rush’s original drummer was not Neil. He was John Rutsey. So it is somewhat incorrect to state that they have not had a single change in their history. Rush the band has, but the current lineup has not.

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