After watching Stage 19 of the tour this morning I booted into St. Catharines for my physio appointment and ended up being tipped off that a whole wack of “new” vinyl was presently being unloaded at the Goodwill store in Niagara Falls, so guess where I went afterwards? Yup. That’s right. And this album was only the first of a few records I found on this particular Goodwill Hunting quest, the Supremes ‘At the Copa‘.
‘The Supremes at the Copa’ is a live recording by the popular Motown princesses, recorded during their debut engagement at the prestigious Copacabana nightclub in New York City.
Released in the late fall of 1965, ‘At the Copa’ was actually the first live album issued by The Supremes, and the only live album issued by the group’s best-known lineup of Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.
Are you impressed I knew all their names?
Well you should be.
‘The Supremes at the Copa‘ was a commercial success – only missing the Billboard LP Top 10 by a notch (#11) – remaining on the album chart for 54 weeks and managing to sell over 1,000,000 copies according to Motown data.
Kind of cool is that the back cover liner notes are written by Sammy Davis, Jr.. He mentions here that though The Supremes had already performed internationally, and would go on to conquer the world’s best venues, the group’s opening night at the Copa (July 29th, 1965) was more than just another engagement. This would become the defining moment for The Supremes, and arguably the defining moment for Motown Records; it was a culmination of a plan to establish Berry Gordy, Jr.’s stable of stars as more than just rock n’ roll singers, to elevate them to a league of highly-paid supper club singers who could win over upper-class audiences around the world.
Interestingly, according to writer J. Randy Taraborrelli in ‘Diana Ross: A Biography’:
“Diana overdubbed all of her lead vocals because of inferior sound quality on the original recordings made at the Copa”.
In other words, Ross re-sung the entire show in the studio; which is remarkable, considering everything sounds live on the recording, aside from a few instances in which Diana’s voice is audibly echoed.
Not a bad purchase for ¢0.50, eh?