A charming, collectible Supremes concert poster from the Midwest during the group’s earliest phase, with Florence Ballard still in the group and before “Diana Ross” was added to their name.
1965 was the year and Tulsa, Oklahoma the unlikely location for this tour stop, which also featured The Lovin’ Spoonful on the bill.
This Supremes poster board measures 14 by 22 inches in size – the industry standard – and is not made of paper, but rather thicker card stock / cardboard, also an industry standard of the day.
The Motown divas were riding an incredible string of hits at the time, logging 10 hits at the #1 position before “Diana Ross” was added to their name in 1967 – at which point they added a few more.
So I just love the youthful innocence of this particular Supremes show poster – it’s so simple, plain and understated, yet elegant in its robin’s-egg blue color.
That innocence is underscored by the ticket prices… can you believe $2.50 and the other seats going down in price from there?
I’m actually quite pleased the way this Supremes in-person poster gives so much detail… the white venue area down below gives us lots of information.
And the big “tell” as to this exact poster’s location is right there at the bottom… in the form of radio station “KAKC.” That tells us the poster hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma… otherwise, we wouldn’t have any idea! There are a million “Civic Center Arenas” out there.
The third act given on this Supremes billboard is Earl Van Dyke & Orchestra… the backing band for the Supremes, actually, not hit-makers in themselves.
Van Dyke would eventually become part of The Funk Brothers, the legendary Motown house band that played on a million hits (using that exaggerating word once again). For example, he tickled the keys on Marvin Gaye’s megahit “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
But for fans of folk-rock, this piece serves nicely as a Lovin’ Spoonful window card. John Sebastian & the boys are shown laughing and living it up in the little picture.
They had already hit with “Do You Believe In Magic?” at this point, and were about to unleash six straight national Top 10 records following this tour. Whew!
Notice how this Supremes concert placard says, “A Ka-Lee Production.” It is very safe to speculate that that name is drawn from two different sources… possibly “KA” from the radio station, and possibly “Lee” from an individual promoter.
Such a practice was typical in the first dozen years of rock ’n’ roll tours, until things got more serious (and more money was involved) in the late 1960s.
I’ve actually seen this Supremes event poster from another city besides Tulsa… in my video, I show you the exact same poster used in Raleigh, North Carolina 15 months later.
That visual is fascinating because the Raleigh promoter made entirely different use of all the free space he had, eliminating opening acts, giving lots more ticket info, etc. Check it out in the vid.
But that gives us the knowledge that this Supremes tour placard was used for at least 15 months, from Nov. 1965 to Feb. 1967. Perhaps that usage extends a couple more months in either direction?
But it couldn’t have extended very much longer into ’67, because that summer the group officially changed its name to “Diana Ross and the Supremes.”
And if it’s a Lovin’ Spoonful placard you’re after, by the summer of ’66 that group was surely getting their own posters made… they quickly turned into headliners themselves.
Everybody knows their hits… “Summer in the City,” “Daydream,” “Nashville Cats” and so forth. Between the Supes and Spoonful, there were 25 Top 10 hits produced in the 1960’s – wow!
I just love the way Diana Ross, Flo Ballard and Mary Wilson simply grace the top of this Supremes appearance poster… they look straight out of Motown’s famous ‘charm school.’
In just a couple of years, Cindy Birdsong would be appearing in place of Flo, but you can’t discredit the late-60s Supremes, either… they continued to be prolific hitmakers right thru the end of the decade.
This Supremes ticket poster was designed and printed by Murray Poster Printing Company in New York, NY, a very busy poster-manufacturer of the era.
Serious collectors recognize a few key traits of Murray here… most tellingly, the way “In Person” is depicted in the upper left-hand corner, in very Murray-like fashion.
Besides this particular Supremes street sign, Murray printed a whole array of concert posters for the Northeastern part of the U.S. during this time period, especially around New York.
Probably their closest competitor was Posters, Inc. in Philadelphia, which also made a large amount of concert window cards in this region at this time.
It’s no surprise this was a Supremes boxing-style concert poster… I’ve never seen a psychedelic poster advertising them, even though they were going strong during the 1967-69 psych era.
On the other hand, I have seen a psychedelic-styled concert poster or two for their Motown stable mates, the Temptations.
But I can’t vouch for any other form of Supremes concert advertisement… perhaps newspaper ads of the day contained some psych artwork.
But then, they never had any hits pertinent to that genre, whereas the Temps had their big hit “Psychedelic Shack” in 1970.
Along with this piece I show you today, it would be nice to have a Supremes fence poster with Cindy Birdsong’s photo on it, in place of Flo Ballard’s.
That pair of posters would cover the entire group’s line-up (four different women) for all of the 1960’s. Starting in 1970, when Diana Ross went solo, the group really started to churn personnel.
This lovely, dated piece of Supremes concert memorabilia is happily shown off today by myself, Peter Howard, of California’s central coast. (I’ve seen Diana Ross in concert, but never saw the Supremes.) I can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org, or called on 805.540.0020. And remember, I pay THE VERY BEST PRICES, PERIOD, for vintage soul and R&B concert stuff like this!
To see a few more great examples of sixties R&B tour placards, simply move over to this page: http://www.postercentral.com/rhythmnblues.htm. Thanks for stopping by!