The Supremes and The Beatles are two of the most iconic groups to come out of the 1960s. Each group topped the charts and toured the world. This raises an interesting question – did The Supremes and The Beatles ever meet? And if they did, what happened?
The Rise to the top
Firstly, a little background. AllMusic describes the rise of The Supremes from their start as a quartet in Detroit’s housing projects to a later trio under Berry Gordy’s Motown label. Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard began to turn out No.1 hit after hit beginning with “Where Did Our Love Go” in 1964.
Likewise, The Beatles rose from humble beginnings in Liverpool, England. Biography.com details John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison meeting and playing together as part of The Quarreyman. Pete Best joined the group as drummer until he was fired by Brian Epstein who had become The Beatles manager. Ringo Starr was then hired and the band was in place. They began a successful run in the UK that eventually led them to The Ed Sullivan Show – the rest is history.
When The Supremes first met The Beatles
ABC News Radio tells us Mary Wilson of The Supremes recollects her group first met The Beatles in a New York hotel room. Wilson said, “ I guess there [was] a lot of grass being [smoked] and so we went into their hotel room and it was dark and it was smelly … And we went in there with our little gloves, all dressed up, with our little pillbox hats and … It wasn’t a kind of thing we thought we were walking into. So we were very disappointed and we asked our publicist to please get us out of there.”
The Beatles’ impression of the trio was not much better. The Daily News quotes Harrison later explaining to Wilson,“We expected soulful, hip girls like the Ronettes…. We couldn’t believe that three black girls from Detroit could be so square!” Apparently, the two group were on very different wavelengths.
Who topped the charts – The Supremes or The Beatles?
According to Billboard, The Supremes began their chart dominance with their release of “Where Did Our Love Go” in the summer of 1964. This No.1 hit was followed by 11 others including “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” and “Stop! In The Name of Love.” In addition to 12 No. 1 songs, The Supremes also had 20 top 10 hits.
How does this compare to The Beatles? According to Billboard, the Fab Four had their first No. 1 hit with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in1964. They went on to score 19 more No. 1 hits including “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Hey Jude.”
That seems to give The Beatles the edge when comparing the two groups. Although they didn’t have a great first meeting, both groups certainly rank supreme as having some of the best beats in music history.