Barbara Martin (singer)

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Barbara Martin
Birth name Barbara Diane Martin
Also known as Barbara Martin, Barbara Richardson
Born June 1943 (age 74)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres R&B, pop
Occupation(s) singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1960–1962
Labels Motown
Associated acts The Supremes, Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson

Barbara Diane Martin Richardson (born June 1943[1] in Detroit, Michigan) is an African-American singer; better known for being one of the original members of Motown singing group The Supremes. After The Primettes dropped Betty McGlown from their lineup due to McGlown's upcoming nuptials, Martin replaced her in the group in 1960. She and her groupmates, Diana Ross (then known as Diane), Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, signed a recording contract with Motown founder Berry Gordy on January 15, 1961 as The Supremes, a name that Ballard had chosen (as she was the only group member in the studio at the time) from a list provided by Motown songwriter, Janie Bradford, and became part of the Motown stable of performers.

In between recording a handful of early singles, none of which became hits, Martin, Wilson, Ross, and Ballard worked as studio singers and hand clappers for other leading groups. In October 1961, Martin became pregnant. Her husband supported her decision to stay in the group, but she left in the early spring of 1962 - leaving Ross, Wilson and Ballard a trio.[2]

Although Martin sang on many of the group's early singles, and most of the tracks on the group's first album, Meet The Supremes, she is not pictured on the album cover, and never received any royalties from Motown after 1962.[citation needed] All of Martin's recorded vocals appear under the name of The Supremes, while McGlown's appear under The Primettes.[citation needed] Martin's only lead vocal for the group came in 1960 when the group recorded the Smokey Robinson ballad, "After All", singing the bridge to the song whereas Ross, Wilson and Ballard sang verses.[citation needed] The song was featured on the group's 2000 box set The Supremes. Martin also has a spoken interlude line during the song "(He's) Seventeen", and has brief solos, but not leads, on two other songs.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Meet the Supremes: 2010 Expanded Edition [CD liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records.
  2. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas & Kuhn , Laura Diane. "Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians". Schirmer Books, 2001. 3539. ISBN 0-02-865527-3