The Lost Supreme
The Lost Supreme
The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard
Lawrence Hill Books, Hardcover, 9781556527050, 240pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
The Supremes were the most successful female vocal group in history. Of the three original members--Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballardtwo told their life stories in bestselling books. Only Florence Ballard, the spunky teenager who founded the group, remained silent. But, in the months before her 1976 death, Flo actually did tell her own side of the Supremes storyand the story of her entire lifeto Peter Benjaminson, who recorded her words on tape.
In this book, for the first time, is Flo Ballard’s entire heartbreaking tale, revealing: the suprising identity of the man who raped her before she entered the music business; the details of her love-hate relationship with Motown Records czar Berry Gordyand an account of their first and only date; her serious drinking problem and ignored pleas for treatment; her never-ending desire to sing lead and how she was prevented from doing so; her attempts to get her life back on track after being brutally expelled from the Supremes; and much more.
Flo Ballard traveled around the world in luxury, chatting with royalty and heads of state, applauded by millions. But when she died at the age of 32, she was a lonely mother of three just barely recovered from years of poverty and despair. Though we may mourn the extended silence of such a profound talent, at least now we can begin to understand how and why it happened.
"Readers who are familiar with the group and even those who are not will definitely enjoy this well-written biography." Library Journal
"An unmatchable snapshot of the exhilarating yet often ugly 1960s soul music scene." Kirkus Reviews
"Peter Benjaminson's sardonic, hard-nosed series of vignettes from the white-collar world of Tweed-like municipal corruption is the dramatic story of a city unraveling from the top." Village Voice
"Get to know the real Flo, from the beginning to the end. A must read." Otis Williams, The Temptations
"Benjaminson tells Flo's story masterfully, with all the drama and empathy her life deserves." Gerald Posner, author, Motown and Why America Slept
"Ballard's voice was never prominently featured in the group's hits. Yet in The Lost Supreme, we finally hear Ballard." The Boston Globe
"Benjaminson holds back nothing, sharing with the reader the thoughts and moods of the various figures who came and went during the early years." Soul Magazine
"Flo was a beautiful personloving and warm. . . . She was down-to-earth, she loved to laugh, and everyone loved her." Marvin Gaye