Kicked Out of Zolar X (phyllisgabor) wrote in celebritybooks,
Kicked Out of Zolar X

Bad vibes at Motown double feature

Recently I finally read Call Her Miss Ross, which is considered to be THE book on Diana Ross. Author J. Randy Taraborrelli does an admirable job of showing Diana Ross' strong points as well as her less endearing qualities, so this isn't a total hatchet piece, but when you're done reading the book you'll be relieved you don't have to work for her or with her.

I have to knock a few points off an otherwise enjoyable read for smearing Chris Clark's name YET AGAIN. Yes, she was another one of Berry Gordy's girlfriends. Yes, I'm sure that's what got her a record deal. But she was every bit as talented as the more popular acts at Motown and I get sick of people writing her off just for the Gordy connection.

I followed Miss Ross with All That Glittered: My Life with the Supremes, by Tony Turner, who started out as a errand boy for the Supremes during their New York gigs and ended up being a stage manager for the Temptations, the Three Degress, and later on a solo Mary Wilson. Turner was especially close with Florence Ballard, and it was interesting to see her as an actual person and not just a tragic figure cast aside by the Motown machine. There's some really good dirt in this book (such as the revelation that Florence Ballard wrote an autobiography that mysteriously vanished after Motown bought the unpublished manuscript from the publisher) and a lot of details about the Supremes' stage routines and costumes that I haven't seen in any other books about the group. This sounds goofy, but I actually enjoyed reading about their wigs and dresses and make-up and their favorite hairdresser Gregg.

Everyone knows that Diana Ross was insanely ambitious, so the Supreme I ended up resenting most of all after reading these books was Mary Wilson, for being so sneaky, two-faced, and passive aggressive. Diana Ross might have gotten Florence Ballard kicked out of the group, but it was Mary who trained the replacement while convincing Flo that everything was fine. At least Miss Ross was upfront with her no-holds-barred quest for fame.

Speaking of 60s pop stars, has anyone read the new Cass Elliot book yet?
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