This collection of late-era hits by Diana Ross and The Supremes was released in December of 1969, likely in an effort to benefit from the busy holiday shopping season. The group’s previous collection Greatest Hits (considered Volumes 1 and 2, as it spanned two albums) had hit store shelves in August, 1967 and eventually topped the Billboard 200 for five straight weeks late that year; on the R&B album chart, it remained at the top for an astonishing twelve weeks, dominating sales over October, November, and December. Although Volume 3 didn’t come close to equalling that success, only peaking at #31 on the Billboard 200, it contained some huge hits, including the #1 singles “Love Child” and “Someday We’ll Be Together” and the #2 “Reflections.” The fact that a single group could fill three albums with its successes (and some fan favorite b-sides) remains a remarkable achievement nearly fifty years later.
Looking back, what’s really interesting about Greatest Hits Volume 3 is what isn’t included. Unlike 1967’s Greatest Hits, this is not a glossy package; there are no rapturous liner notes here, nor are the graphics given any real attention. There are also some holes in the tracklist; although Motown decided to include “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” and “The Happening” — both of which had already appeared on the previous double-LP collection — a pair of hits with The Temptations was left off. A few lackluster singles were also given spots here, even though there are far superior b-sides which are more favorably looked upon by critics and fans. Clearly, everyone involved with Diana Ross and The Supremes was far more focused on the future, which included launching Ross as a solo star and smoothly transitioning Jean Terrell into the group’s lead role; still, had Motown been a little more creative when assembling this disc, it could have ended up a far more exciting collection and worthier successor to the previous blockbuster Greatest Hits release.
Here’s a single-disc tracklist that I’d consider a better choice for Greatest Hits Volume 3, made up of hits and b-sides which I think represent a better sampling of the work released by Diana Ross and The Supremes (and includes more actual vocals by all three Supremes):
1. Reflections (#2 pop)
2. Going Down For The Third Time (b-side to “Reflections”)
3. In And Out Of Love (#9 pop)
4. Then (from Reflections)
5. Love Child (#1 pop)
6. He’s My Sunny Boy (b-side to “Someday We’ll Be Together”)
7. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (with The Temptations, #2 pop)
8. I’m Livin’ In Shame (#10 pop)
9. I’ll Try Something New (with The Temptations, #8 R&B)
10. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Mary lead, from “The Hollywood Palace”)
11. The Beginning Of The End (b-side to “The Composer”)
12. Someday We’ll Be Together (#1 pop)
Now, it’s your turn. Please leave your own Greatest Hits Volume 3 choices (if you feel it could be improved) in the comments section!