TheGrio.com, By Dawn Onley, Posted March 19th 2020
Group member, Mary Wilson, confirms the death in a message on social media, even as she celebrates her birthday
Barbara Martin, one of the original members of the legendary 1960s Motown girl group, The Supremes, has reportedly died. She was 76 years old.
The Detroit singer was part of the group when they signed to Motown Records in 1961 and she sang on their first album, Meet the Supremes. She contributed to their beloved Motown sound.
Supreme member Mary Wilson confirmed Martin’s death on her official Facebook and Twitter pages on Thursday by simply writing, “Barbara Martin passed” along with broken heart and teardrop emojis.
The Grio reached out to representatives for Ms. Wilson and lead Supreme singer, Ms. Diana Ross, but requests for comment were not immediately returned.
It is not clear when or how Martin passed away.
“Our hearts go out to Barbara’s family and friends. Once a Supreme, always a Supreme,” said The Supremes’ official Facebook page. In another post on Friday morning, they struck a more celebratory tone to honor Wilson on her birthday.
“It’s March 6, so you already know we’re celebrating Mary Wilson‘s birthday! With a voice that makes your heart sing, humor that knows no bounds & glamor polished by the likes of Maxine Powell, Mary still tours to this day and keeps the Supremes’ legacy alive. HBD Mary! “
Martin joined the group as a replacement for Betty McGlown in 1960 when the ladies were a quartet and first known as The Primettes. She was featured as a lead vocalist on some tracks including, “(He’s) Seventeen,” according to The BBC.
She left the group in 1962 before they achieved international success. She was never replaced and the quartet became best known as a trio with Ross, Wilson and Florence Ballard. The group would go on to record hits like “Stop in the Name of Love” and “Baby Love.”
Fans also reacted to Wilson’s tweet regarding the sad news.
“R.I.P. to one of the very first members of our beloved Supremes,” wrote one Twitter fan.
“Heavens voices are even more beautiful ! RIP !” another tweeted.
“She’ll always be a supreme. May she Rest In Peace!” another Twitter user wrote.