Barbara Martin (L)
Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns
Barbara Martin, Original Singer For The Supremes, Dies At 76
Barbara Martin, best known for her work as one of the original singers in the legendary Motown group The Supremes, has died. She was 76.
According to NME, Martin died earlier this week (March 4). While details surrounding the cause of her death have yet to be released, the group confirmed her passing yesterday (March 5) in a post shared on The Supremes' official Facebook page, writing, "Our hearts go out to Barbara's family and friends. Once a Supreme, always a Supreme." Founding Supremes member Mary Wilson also confirmed Martin's death on Twitter.
Born in Detroit, Martin joined The Supremes in 1960, replacing founding member Betty McGlown, when the group was still known as the Primettes. One year later, the group, featuring the original lineup of Martin, Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, changed its name to The Supremes when they signed to the iconic Motown Records, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.
While only an official member of the group for two years, Martin sang on multiple early Supremes singles. She shared lead vocal duties with Diana Ross on "(He's) Seventeen," featured on the band's 1962 debut album, Meet The Supremes. Although she contributed lead and background vocals on the album, Martin is not featured on the cover art.
In 1962, Martin left The Supremes after she got pregnant. The group continued as a trio, filtering through numerous lineup changes throughout the years, and did not replace Martin.