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Record sales pick up as fans remember The Supremes founder Mary Wilson

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 7:22 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The music industry is mourning the loss of one of the ‘sweethearts of Motown.’

Mary Wilson, one of the founders and longest-reigning members of The Supremes, passed suddenly on Monday.

The group tops the Billboard Charts as one of the top-selling groups of all time. But many in the music industry say their impact extends further than record sales.

“The Supremes were one of the gateway groups that paved the way for Motown,” said Patti Smith.

Smith is one of the owners of Apollo Records, the store recently moving from Thomasville to Monticello.

She says they’ve already received several calls and messages from people searching for The Supremes albums.

For many, that interest is no surprise.

Sharod Bines, the owner of Retrofit Records, says The Supremes, as well as other soul and R&B artists, always top the list.

But these women were pioneers for more than their sound.

“They were essentially like the most popular artist of that time, and I think you had a lot of other artists and musicians come along trying to emulate that,” Bines said. “Opening the doors for a lot of artists of color, at a time probably where the music industry was pretty separated and segregated.”

Half a century later and that underrepresentation still exists.

“There aren’t really a lot of people of color in ownership position. I believe here in the US there’s less than 30 black-owned record stores, I think I’m one of two here in Florida,” Bines said.

Now, Bines says he strives to have a store that serves a diverse community, and bringing life back to an industry in which pioneers of the past still reign Supreme.

“Her sound was so classic it will be carried on,” Smith said. “When tragedies like this happen they want to grab a piece of that nostalgia.”

Wilson was 76-years-old.

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