Posted by SoWhat, Mon Feb-11-13 10:03 AM
Motown 25 was a showcase for the highly anticipated reunion of the Supremes: Diana Ross, Mary Wilson (original member Florence Ballard had died in 1976), and Supremes replacement Cindy Birdsong. Four of their greatest hits were to be sung that night, including "Someday We'll Be Together", "Baby Love" and "Stop! In the Name of Love", however this reunion was cut short. Richard Pryor opened the segment with a fairy-tale story of 'three maidens from the Projects of Brewster' which was then followed with a montage of various Supremes' video clips. Diana then started down the center aisle of the auditorium with her hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
When Ross finished, she made a brief speech about 'the night that everyone came back' (although, as stated above, some artists were not invited, and some had died). After the beginning chords of "Someday We'll Be Together", the svelte Wilson strutted on stage in a dazzling fire engine red sequin gown and was greeted by a thunderous applause which quickly upstaged Miss Ross. Ross became frustrated when Wilson and Birdsong did not drop back but moved with her as she walked closer to the edge of the stage. By this time Ross was so confused and bewildered that Wilson took over the lead vocals which prompted Ross to push her. A few moments later, Motown labelmates such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and others quickly filled the stage for an impromptu finale. Although producer Suzanne de Passe had instructed Diana to introduce Berry Gordy after leading the finale, (a fact unknown to Mary) Wilson decided to do the honors, by calling Berry down herself. This led to Diana yelling at Mary "it's been taken care of". Wilson also made a brief tribute to Ballard, who Gordy had removed from the group years before. By the time the reunion aired on May 16, the Ross altercations had been excised from the special, but they were widely reported (including an article and pictures in Us Weekly), and the performance resulted in bad publicity for Ross.