By the time Les Suprêmes A ‘Go-Go released on August 25, 1966, the fabulous girl group had already won six No. 1 pop singles in the United States – well seven, in fact, since the album “You Can’t Hurry Love”, which preceded the one month’s LP release, also hit high. Rather early, The Supremes also had their debut album topped the charts, as well as Alot became the band’s first (and only) # 1 studio album on October 22 of the same year. (The trio would be the first girl group to top the U.S. sales rankings.)
Thinking back to that supreme decade for the band, Motown released 22 amazing albums credited to the Supremes or Diana Ross & the Supremes, which they eventually rebranded.
Alot featured the trio of Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, tackling an array of blockbuster covers, mostly from their Motown comrades the Four Tops (“Baby I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself [Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch]), the Temptations (“Get Ready”), Martha and the Vandellas, Barrett Strong and the Isley Brothers, but also the contemporary hits of Nancy Sinatra (Lee Hazlewood’s “These Boots are Made for Walkin ‘”) and the McCoys (Bert Berns and “Hang on Sloopy” by Wes Farrell).
Listen to the original album on Spotify…
Luckily, UMe released a deluxe and extended 2-CD edition in 2017 that included all 12 original tracks, in rare stereo and mono album mixes, as well as alternative vocal versions and mixes, and plenty of bonus tracks. The production represented the pinnacle of the legendary Motown team, led by producers Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, the Funk Brothers and the excellent Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Related: Interview with the authors of Motown: The Sound of Young America
The collection’s generous 53 tracks include many songs recorded during the Alot sessions that were omitted from the original 12-song, 32-minute version. These include covers of some of the great hits of the time: “It’s Not Unusual”, the hit by Tom Jones; the first American issue of the Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”; and “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, each released in 1965.
It only scratches the surface. There are more covers of Motown material, including Jimmy Ruffin’s hit “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”; Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “Can I Get a Witness” (the Supremes sang back-up to Marvin Gaye’s original); and “Love is Like a Heat Wave”, yet another HDH hit (for Martha and the Vandellas).
Related: The best radio hits of 1966
There’s just a touch of Miss Ross’s studio joke; the collection lets the music do the talking. And it reminds the listener how wonderful a singer she is. The highlight is “Love is like an itch in my heart,” the album’s intro track. The recording was that rare Holland-Dozier-Holland song for the Supremes that did not become a No. 1 hit, peaking at “only” No. 9 on the pop singles charts. And maybe because of that, it’s a welcome treat for the ears, a revelation, really. “Woo, get up in the morning,” Ross purrs, “And I’m filled with desire. “
To concern a television performance of the song in 1966
Besides the stereo and mono mixes, there are two versions of “Itching” at the end of “More A ‘Go-Go” on disc 2. “Isn’t that enough? Ross asks, laughing at the end of what’s called “the SupreMix” of the song. Bis!
Related: Mary Wilson died in 2021