The Lost Supreme
The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard
By Peter Benjaminson
(Lawrence Hill Books, Hardcover, 9781556527050, 240pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
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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.
Peter Benjaminson is the author of Death in the Afternoon: America’s Newspaper Giants Struggle for Survival, Secret Police: Inside the New York City Department of Investigation, and The Story of Motown, and is the coathor of Investigative Reporting. He is a former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Detroit Free Press. The Lost Supreme's website can be found at <a href="www.thelostsupreme.com">www.thelostsupreme.com</a>