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|Born||February 20, 1949|
|Origin||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Genres||R&B, pop Jazz|
|Associated acts||Stevie Wonder, The Supremes|
Laurence is best known for being a part of two Motown acts: Stevie Wonder's backup group The Third Generation, and one of the post-Diana Ross 1970s line-ups of The Supremes from April 1972 through October 1973, performing alongside lead singer Jean Terrell and founding member Mary Wilson, replacing Cindy Birdsong after her departure from the group.
Laurence began her career singing with a group named the Pendelles. Her sister, Sundray Tucker, was also in this group. She eventually made her way to Stevie Wonder's group Third Generation a predecessor to Wonderlove in 1969.
At this time, her sister was going by the name Cindy Scott, and rejoined Laurence in the group. Laurence, Scott and a third member, cousin Terri Hendricks, were billed as "The Third Generation" toured with Wonder to promote his single "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours", which featured Laurence on back-up vocals.
The Supremes (1972-1973)
- Main entry: The Supremes
In 1972, Mary Wilson, who chose to continue the legacy of The Supremes after the departure of Florence Ballard in 1967 and lead singer Diana Ross in 1970, was about to lose another member of the group, Cindy Birdsong, who was expecting a baby.
Birdsong originally replaced Tucker in the group The Ordettes, later to be named Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, so it was ironic that Tucker's sister, Laurence took Birdsong's place as a backing vocalist. At this time, Jean Terrell was the lead singer of The Supremes. Laurence joined the group around the time the group issued their Floy Joy album, and appeared on the cover with Terrell and Wilson, though Birdsong had sung on the album before her departure. Among the songs she recorded with the group included the Wonder produced single, "Bad Weather", and The Supremes Produced and Arranged by Jimmy Webb album plus The Supremes Live! In Japan album recorded in 1973.
While with The Supremes at Motown, Laurence was never given the opportunity to record a lead vocal, however she did sing lead in concert on two occasions, the first being her debut with the Supremes in May 1972 at Hawaii's H.I.C Arena, when she replaced a sick Jean Terrell to perform alongside Wilson and Birdsong, and later at the Copacabana in New York. She also contributed the occasional lead in concert, singing a lead verse to the group's 1972 live version of "Love The One Your With".
In 1975, Laurence, along with Tucker and soon-to-be-Supreme Susaye Greene, together with others added backing vocals to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, which was released in 1976. The same year, Laurence teamed up again with Tucker, this time under the name The Wilton Place Street Band. Under the leadership of Laurence's then-husband, the record producer and musician Trevor Lawrence, they recorded "Disco Lucy", which was a re-working of the theme tune to the I Love Lucy show.
Laurence has provided studio backing vocals for:
- Stevie Wonder for his Signed, Sealed, and Delivered album in 1970
- Stevie Wonder for his Songs in the Key of Life album in 1976
- Aretha Franklin for her Love All The Hurt Away album in 1981
- Moacir Santos
- Jean Terrell for her I Had To Fall in Love album in 1978
- Joe Cocker
- Brian Setzer
- Harry Nilsson
- Brandy Norwood
- Ringo Starr
- Martha Reeves
As a solo artist, Laurence recorded the songs "Give Me Back Just A Little Piece Of My Heart", "Life Is The Reason" and "Make Your Own Kind Of Music", among others, which were released under the name of Norma Lewis in the late 1980s. (Laurence was one of several session singers to provide vocals for the “Norma Lewis” project.) In 1990 and 1991 Laurence also recorded several solo tracks for the UK based Motorcity Records label, including the single "Living With A Married Man". The label folded before Laurence released a full album, however these songs have previously been released on subsequent Motorcity releases. Lynda Laurence was notably the first singer to record the song "I Still Believe", later made famous by Brenda K Starr and Mariah Carey.
Former Ladies of the Supremes/FLOS/Scherrie and Lynda, Formerly of the Supremes
Laurence (once again replacing Cindy Birdsong) joined Jean Terrell and Scherrie Payne to form The Former Ladies of the Supremes in 1986. The FLOS have recorded many songs, mostly remakes of Supremes tunes but have built up a catalog that includes many non-Motown and some original songs. The FLOS have maintained a solid fan base and in 2011 celebrated their 25th anniversary together.
Group Changes: Jean left in 1992 and was replaced by Lynda's sister, Sundray Tucker. (Sundray herself was once eyed as a potential Supreme, in 1972, but the position was offered to Lynda instead.) Sundray left in 1996 and was replaced by Freddi Poole, who left in 2009, with Joyce Vincent Wilson (formerly of Tony Orlando and Dawn) stepping in as the newest member. The group, still popular and touring, remained in this formation until mid 2017.
Further Changes: On June 21, 2017, shortly after a soundcheck, Joyce became ill and was sent to the hospital. Scherrie and Lynda performed the show as a duo; this was the first time in over twenty years the group performed with just two members. Notably, this would also be their last performance with Laurence. On October 6, 2017, it was reported via Facebook that Laurence had departed the group to move into other areas of the music business. She was replaced by 1970s Supreme Susaye Greene, and the group (now consisting of Greene, Payne, and Vincent) was renamed "Scherrie & Susaye, Formerly of The Supremes".
Over the years Laurence recorded many tracks, only a few of which have been released as solo projects. Her first Video was filmed in Los Angeles California at the well known "At My Place" venue.
As Norma Lewis
- "Give Me Back Just A Little Piece Of My Heart"
- "Life Is The Reason"
- "When Loving You"
- "You’ve Got Something"
- "Make Your Own Kind Of Music"
- "Forever Came Today"
- "I'm Not Taking A Chance"
- "Right Around Midnight"
- "If This World We're Mine"
- "Outside Looking In"
- "The Man In My Life"
- "Living With A Married Man"
- "Fresh Out Of Tears"
- "It's A Crying Shame"
with Harry Nilsson
- "Just One Look"/"Baby I'm Yours"
- "Don't Cross The Street"
- "Feed The Hunger"
- "It Finally Happened To Be"
- "Someone Wonderful"
Live At The Courthouse Although never officially released, Laurence recorded a solo set of jazz material at Lps Angeles's Courthouse venue, with resident band, Night Court.
- "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever"
- "I Wish You Love"
- "Green Dolphin Street"
- "Ill Wind"
- "Give Me The Simple Life"
- "Love Dance"
- "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"
- "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You"