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Barbara Martin
Born 1944
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres R&B, pop
Occupations singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1960 - 1962
Labels Motown
Associated acts The Supremes, Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson

Barbara Diane Martin (born 1944) in Detroit, Michigan is an African-American singer; better known for being one of the original founding members of Motown singing group The Supremes. After The Primettes dropped Betty McGlown from their lineup due to McGlown's upcoming nuptials, Martin replaced her in the group in 1960. She and her groupmates Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross (then known as Diane) signed a record deal with Motown founder Berry Gordy on January 15, 1961 as The Supremes, a name that Ballard had chosen, and became part of the Motown stable of performers.

In between recording a handful of early singles, none of which became hits, Martin, Wilson, Ross, and Ballard worked as studio singers and hand clappers for other leading groups. In October 1961, Martin became pregnant. Her husband supported her decision to stay in the group, but she left in the early spring of 1962 - leaving Ballard, Ross, and Wilson a trio.[1]

Although Martin sang on many of the group's early singles, and most of the tracks on the group's first album, Meet the Supremes, she is not pictured on the album cover, and never received any royalties from Motown after 1962. All of Martin's recorded vocals appear under the name of The Supremes, while McGlown's appear under The Primettes. Martin's only lead vocal (singing wise) for the group was recorded in 1960 when the group recorded the Smokey Robinson ballad, "After All", singing the bridge to the song whereas Ballard, Wilson and Ross sung verses. The song was featured on the group's 2000 box set. Martin also has a spoken interlude line (spoken lead) during the song "(He's) Seventeen", and has brief solos (but not leads) on two other songs; she has the first note (and says the first "the") and on the song "The Tears, and does the countdown at the beginning of the song "The Boy That Got Away" (on which she also holds a few notes longer then the other group members near the end). She did sing the lead on "(He's) Seventeen" during live performances the group made in 1961 and 1962. All album and "unreleased" tracks featuring Martin's vocals have been released on various Motown and Supremes compilation albums.


  1. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas & Kuhn , Laura Diane. "Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians". Schirmer Books, 2001. 3539. ISBN 0-0286-5527-3


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