High Energy (1976)

“In just a few hours, you showed me new dimensions…”

Although the 1975 album The Supremes was not a significant hit for Motown’s top female trio, the release proved there was still life in the group, particularly when it came to the burgeoning disco movement.  Songs like “He’s My Man,” “Color My World Blue,” “Early Morning Love,” and “Where Do I Go From Here” all caught the attention of club-goers; the latter two were particularly notable for being the work of brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, two-thirds of the team responsible for writing ten #1 hits for The Supremes during the previous decade.  Although Holland-Dozier-Holland had spent years in litigation with Motown, the Holland brothers (sans Dozier) were now working independently for the label; they were put in charge of the next new Supremes release, the bulk of which they wrote with Harold Beatty.  Beatty would later recall in the liner notes to the Supremes box set (released in 2002),  “I always liked the lushness of a symphony.  That’s where the concept for the High Energy album came about.”

Jet: November 24, 1966

Meanwhile, The Supremes underwent another lineup change just as it wrapped up recording High Energy.  Cindy Birdsong, who’d returned to the group after a brief break in 1972-1973, left again; in her 1990 memoir Supreme Faith, Mary Wilson details turmoil between Birdsong and the group’s then-manager Pedro Ferrer (who also happened to be Wilson’s husband).  To replace Birdsong, Ferrer and Wilson brought in singer-songwriter Susaye Greene, notable for singing backup for both Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder and co-writing the huge hit “Free” by Deniece Williams.  Greene boasted a multi-octave range quite different from any Supreme voice before her; according to Harold Beatty, “Susaye was more like a Minnie Riperton — she could do the same things” (The Supremes booklet).  Although High Energy had already been recorded by the time Greene joined the group, her voice was added to the opening pair of tracks.

High Energy was released in April of 1976, just a few weeks after its first single, “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking.”  The album and single quickly became the most successful releases by The Supremes in years; the LP peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200, the group’s second best showing since Diana Ross had left the group (only 1970’s Right On charter higher), and the single climbed to the Top 40, becoming the 33rd (and final) Top 40 pop hit for the group.  For Supremes fans, seeing the group back on the charts must have been thrilling, especially when joined by the names Brian and Eddie Holland.  That said, the album is really more a showcase for the lush production than for the featured singers; you’ll hear some absolutely stunning instrumental work on every cut, but some of the vocal work gets lost in the busy, sometimes bombastic arrangements.


New Music Express (NME): May 8, 1976

1.  High Energy:  Harold Beatty’s comment that the “lushness of a symphony” inspired High Energy certainly makes sense given this opening track, which isn’t so much a song as it is a “mood-setter” in its execution.  It’s ironic that this song is one of the lowest-energy tracks on the entire album; those expecting a dancefloor banger are instead greeted by a slow-groove, Middle Eastern-flavored number that sounds about one-step removed from the “Charlie’s Angels” theme song.  The production here is high-gloss all the way; sweeping strings and funk-lite keyboard work are layered in over a sizzling, clicking beat, the instrumental opening lasting a full two minutes before there’s a single note sung by The Supremes.  This is the kind of thing the Hollands never could have gotten away with during Motown’s heyday in the 1960s; the hook-conscious Berry Gordy, Jr. would have had a fit over such an extended intro.  But times had changed; it speaks volumes that we don’t hear any vocals for so long, making clear that the intended stars here are the production and the beat.  When The Supremes do finally come in, it’s Mary Wilson we hear first, offering a spoken passage in which she proclaims, “I will never share my man!”  It’s a silly little section, but at least Wilson seems to be having fun with it, exaggerating her already famously sexy voice for maximum effect.  She’s followed by Susaye Greene, in her formal introduction as a Supreme; again, although “High Energy” had already been recorded with Mary, Cindy, and Scherrie, Greene’s lead vocal was dubbed in before the release of the album.  It’s immediately clear that Susaye Greene will bring a new, exciting sound to the group; her high, lilting voice bears a much closer resemblance to that of Deniece Williams than Birdsong, Lynda Laurence, or any other Supreme.  Greene’s voice flutters up and down the scale here, notably hitting some glass-shattering high notes; although Greene had already been performing for most of her life, it’s still hard to believe this is her debut given the technical proficiency she displays.  According to Mary Wilson’s 1990 memoir Supreme Faith, Greene garnered a five-minute standing ovation during a stop on the group’s European tour promoting this album; Wilson would also write that Greene was a “catalyst” in making the other Supremes more free in their own vocal performances.  She certainly sounds amazing here, and her performance is ultimately better than the material; “High Energy” is a beautifully-produced piece of music, but its glossy sheen hides a lack of substance and throwaway lyric.   Still, disco fans loved it; according to the liner notes in The 70s Anthology, the song hit #1 on Billboard‘s Dance Chart/Club Play, listed alongside “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking.

Billboard: 1976

2.  I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking:  Released as the album’s first single on March 16, 1976 (backed with “Early Morning Love” from The Supremes), this song leapt up the Billboard Hot 100 to #40, then stalled there; it climbed to #25 on the R&B side and topped the Club Play chart, but it remains a mystery why it didn’t do any better on the pop charts.  Supremes fans could at least take solace that it added to the group’s run of Top 40 hits, becoming the first since 1972’s “Automatically Sunshine” to peak so high.  Led by thumping congas courtesy Eddie “Bongo” Brown and a stratospheric vocal by Scherrie Payne, “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking” is a terrific dance cut, easily one of the best recorded by The Supremes and probably one of the best ever released by Motown.   Much of the credit for the song’s success must go to the bright, snappy production and the crisp, singable melody; unlike some other disco cuts recorded by The Supremes (and many other artists, to be fair), this song doesn’t rely on a beat to cover a lack of musicality.  The lyrics here can be seen as a forerunner to the 1978 monster hit “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor; both songs share an assertive message of independence and moving on from a failed relationship, although in this case the narrator is the one doing the leaving (incidentally, Dino Fekaris, one of the writers of “I Will Survive,” had previously worked at Motown and provided The Supremes and Four Tops with several songs the their 1971 joint LP The Return of the Magnificent Seven).  Scherrie Payne is absolutely the right singer to deliver the message here; her vocal is confident, powerful, and masterfully efficient.  Better yet, the Hollands again dubbed Susaye Greene into the mix here, her fluttering soprano adding colorful vocal flourishes; her sustained high notes during the climax at 2:30 are spine-tingling.  Again, although the song should have climbed even higher than #40 on the pop chart, it was a huge hit in the clubs; in its year-end issue, Billboard listed this song at #24 on a chart of disco tunes with the biggest audience response in 1976.  “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking” remains irresistible to this day.

3.  Only You (Can Love Me Like You Love Me):  Blaring horns announce the entrance of the next song, a sexy cut that’s sparked by a superb lead vocal from Scherrie Payne.  Aside from boasting powerful pipes and an impressive range, Payne is also clearly capable of producing some really interesting tones, as demonstrated by her opening lines here; her breathy delivery is unlike anything we’ve heard from her before on a Supremes recording.  The beat charges forward with an urban edge, as if the electricity of New York is pulsing through the track; in a way, it foreshadows the 1979 Crusaders hit “Street Life” in the way it seems to musically interpret the swagger of a city (by the way, musician Joe Sample, who plays keyboards on High Energy, was a founding member of The Crusaders and co-wrote “Street Life”).  Payne’s elastic vocal gets better and better as the number unfolds and she pleads, “Come on, love me now!” — there are times when the singer sounds a bit like Stephanie Mills in the way her voice bursts forth and skyrockets over the track.  Meanwhile, the singer is supported by perfectly delivered background vocals, with every Supreme offering up an engaging, energetic performance.  This cut also features really nice guitar solo at 2:00; it doesn’t last long, but it’s a great addition to the song, adding a little complexity to the repetitive disco arrangement.  I’m not sure who the featured guitarist is, but Ray Parker, Jr. (of future “Ghostbusters” fame) is one of the credited players on the LP; given his superb work on so many albums of the era, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that’s him on the solo.  While “Only You (Can Love Me Like You Love Me)” may not be a particularly original disco tune, it’s a really good one; it’s certainly only of the best inclusions on High Energy, and would have made a solid follow-up single to “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking” had one been issued.

4.  You Keep Me Moving On:  Not to be confused with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” a #1 hit for The Supremes back in 1966, this track was written by the Holland brothers along with Richard Davis and Hugh Wyche.  Think of this a “trial run” for the later Supremes single “You’re My Driving Wheel” (which would lead off the group’s next album, Mary, Scherrie & Susaye); both are frenzied, unruly disco cuts which depend on the sheer force of the group’s vocal performances to hold them together.  “You Keep Me Moving On” makes strange use of brief, racing musical vamps leading into each verse, which seem to be the musical equivalent of an accelerating car (listen at :21 to hear the first one); unfortunately, these little snippets sound quite cartoonish when listened to today.  The rest of the production is standard disco, with the typical chunky beat and slicing strings; the melody is also fairly limited, although it’s elevated by the dependable Miss Payne, who attacks the lyrics in one of her gutsiest readings yet.  The song’s greatest strength is in its refrain, which prominently features all three Supremes repeating “Moving, moving, moving, moving/Moving on!”  It’s not the most poetic thing the Hollands ever wrote, but it is catchy; it’s also nice to hear Mary, Scherrie, and Cindy really belt out the words, each unique vocal tone clearly audible.  Aside from the vocal performances, however, this just isn’t a particularly interesting cut to listen to; it probably got people dancing back in the day (which was it’s purpose, after all), but it doesn’t stand up against the preceding two  tracks, which both boast a clearer musical identity.

Billboard: December 25, 1976
The Supremes come in at #17 on Billboard’s list of the year’s top disco artists (and former lead singer Diana Ross charts at #4)

5.  Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You:  The album’s seconds side shifts focus away from disco and the raging vocals of Scherrie Payne; “Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You” is the first of three Mary Wilson-fronted ballads in a row, a trio of songs which drains energy from High Energy but at least provides a nice (and literal) change of pace.  This song was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland and notable musician Richard Wylie (a Motown recording artist, himself) and had been recorded by Dionne Warwick for her 1973 album Just Being Myself, which was also produced by H-D-H.  Warwick’s version of the somber ballad was already arguably overproduced (AllMusic notes the “piping trumpets and cascading strings” of the album), and the Hollands ratchet it up a notch here, surrounding Mary Wilson a swirling storm of phased keyboards, church bells, sweeping violins, and a rather clunky wind instrument section.  It’s a lot to take in at first, but once the track quiets down a bit, it becomes clear just how good this song is; it’s a really satisfying soul ballad, with memorable lyrics and a pretty melody, and it finds a good match in Miss Wilson as vocalist.  Mary’s vocal is extremely controlled here, relaxed during the verses and passionate on the refrain, and she manages to just stay out front enough to not get swallowed up in the overblown arrangement.  Wilson’s leads as a Supreme have been a bit inconsistent up to this point, but this is easily one of the strongest; she displays a lot of soul in this performance, but never seems to be pushing too hard or singing beyond her range.  There’s also some lovely texture to her voice; I love the way her voice sounds slightly frayed at 1:31, as she sings the word “find,” giving the lyric another layer of resignation and melancholy.  It should be noted that an alternate mix first surfaced on The 70s Anthology, released in 2002, and it’s light years better; the instrumental is toned down considerably, placing even more attention on Wilson’s lead and the crisp, effective background vocals.  It’s too bad that wasn’t the mix included on the original album release; as it is, this is one of the best songs on the album, but the alternate mix is one of the standouts of the entire Supremes discography.

6.  Till The Boat Sails Away/I Don’t Want To Lose You:  Although compact disc and digital download reissues of High Energy split these into two selections, the original album release listed this pair of songs as a single track on the album label, and the two are musically connected by the producers so that one seamlessly flows into the next.  “Till The Boat Sails Away” was penned by the Hollands, Harold Beatty, and Barry Payne; it’s a slow, meandering ballad that lacks the focus of the previous cut, not to mention a particularly strong melody or lyric.  The producers start the track with the sound of rolling ocean waves; it’s a nice touch, and gives way to another Middle Eastern-inspired flourish which harkens back to the album’s opening track.  The problems begin when Mary Wilson starts singing; the arrangement is so incredibly slow and bland that she sounds like she’s drowning in those ocean waves.  The song desperately needs a singer with a more buoyant voice, one to lightly bob around the melody instead of dragging it down; unfortunately, Wilson’s dusky alto just can’t get the job done, even when she’s singing with more power toward the song’s climax.  Again she’s not helped much by the material; with all due respect to the talented writers and producers, this one sounds more like a syrupy Carpenters b-side than a production meant for The Supremes.  Eventually the tracks fades into nothing but the sound of a tolling bell, which immediately bleeds into the lush “I Don’t Want To Lose You,” a song penned by Philadelphia soul legends Thom Bell and Linda Creed and recorded by The Spinners for the 1975 LP Pick Of The Litter; it was featured as the b-side of that group’s fabulous #1 R&B hit “Games People Play.”  Produced by Bell for The Spinners, “I Don’t Want To Lose You” was a stripped-down, keyboard-heavy ballad; The Hollands wrap the entire thing up in a warm, fuzzy sweater of symphonic strings.  It’s a beautiful production, but again, once Mary Wilson starts singing, things go downhill; in this case, the singer gives a performance so unadorned and low-key that it barely registers.  Aside from her spoken whispers throughout the song, there doesn’t seem to be even a glimmer of passion in Wilson’s delivery; for someone who practically defines the word “smolder,” it’s a disappointment.  It’s also a shame that with a Philly soul song like this, tailor-made for gorgeous group work, the vocal arrangement skimps on three-part harmony; the backgrounds are mainly quick, staccato echoes that don’t make use of the trio’s talent and only really come alive at the very end.  A year later, singer Phyllis Hyman would cover this song on her debut album; it’s a spectacular version and demonstrates just how good the song is.  The best thing about this version is the beautiful instrumental track and the way the producers delicately tie it together with the preceding song, but those elements aren’t enough to keep it from being a low point on High Energy.

Billboard: February 5, 1977

7.  You’re What’s Missing In My Life:  Here’s the good news — after Mary Wilson practically sleepwalks through the previous medley of ballads, she wakes up and brings tremendous grit and energy to this great disco cut, arranged as a duet with the fiery Scherrie Payne.  Written by the Hollands and Harold Beatty again, the song begins with a series of fluttering musical flourishes that work in the context of the “symphony” concept of the album, but otherwise sound unnecessary.  But once the track opens up, it becomes an upbeat, jazzy soul number irresistible both on and off the dancefloor.  The musicians are really popping here; from the funky bassline to the sparkling keyboards, there’s a real joy and sophistication in the playing that immediately elevates the track.  When Miss Wilson begins singing, she absolutely tears into the material; her “I thought the I was fulfilled” at 1:06 is so powerful it would be easy to confuse her for Scherrie.  In fact, as the ladies trade lines back and forth, it’s a bit difficult to tell them apart, which is a huge complement to both.  The melody is strong here, and paired with snappy, eloquent lyrics impossible not to sing along with; lines such as, “I had a hunger I never knew/Until we loved and you fed it” could have come straight from one of the classic H-D-H songs of the 1960s.  In the end, “You’re What’s Missing In My Life” emerges as the strongest cut on High Energy after the album’s first (and only) single; it’s incredible that Motown wouldn’t think to release this song in the wake of the Top 40 success of “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking.”  Instead, Motown singer G.C. Cameron (former lead singer of The Spinners, and the man who led that group’s 1970 hit “It’s A Shame”) got it as a single; a cover of the song would become the title track of his 1977 album produced by Brian Holland.  Cameron’s version is great; his throaty vocals recall Marvin Gaye a bit, and he really sinks his teeth into the melody.  Both versions demonstrate the overall strength of the song; it’s too bad The Supremes didn’t get the chance to take it to the charts, too.


The AllMusic review of High Energy calls it “perhaps the most vigorous (and best) album of [The Supremes’] latter-day career,” and many fans will likely agree with that assessment.  It’s a cohesive, opulent set with top-notch production and instrumental work; the way little orchestral riffs tie many of the songs together is really sophisticated.  But there are a few clunkers here, and the vocal work is uneven; it’s a solid album, but it doesn’t quite transcend the disco genre, largely because of that unevenness.  Interestingly, another song recorded during these sessions, “There’s Room At The Top,” was left in the vaults and wouldn’t find release until 2002’s The 70s Anthology; it’s a great song, and could have replaced one of the weaker cuts here.  Still, High Energy delivered a measure of success that The Supremes hadn’t experienced in quite some time, and led to an immediate return date to the studio with the Holland brothers — a move that would result in an even better album.

Final Analysis: 3.5/5 (The Hollands Deliver Much-Needed “Energy”)

Paul’s Picks: “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking,” “You’re What’s Missing In My Life,” “Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You”


About Paul

Album-by-album, track-by-track, a look at the entire Diana Ross discography...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to High Energy (1976)

  1. Kevin Henegan says:

    Excellent album review–but worth mentioning is the stunning cover art. A classic illustrative representation of the Supremes: stylish and modern, yet evoking the original trio in terms of attitude and sophistication–even getting in the famous traffic-cop “Stop” move!

    • Paul says:

      To be honest, Kevin, I’ve always been a little torn on the cover. I alternate between loving the stylized design — and feeling like it sends a message that, by this point, The Supremes were a nameless, faceless trio of singers. Personally, I like that the next album (MARY, SCHERRIE & SUSAYE) gave each member a nice full-face shot and her name right on the cover.

      • Kevin Henegan says:

        Paul–from that standpoint, I understand your take on the cover ( though with the reality of yet another personnel change with this album, going the illustration route could have been a marketing decision to lessen confusion for the record-buying public). As a design director who regularly works with illustrators, I appreciate the cover more on the aesthetic level –expressing the iconic glamour of the trio.

      • pnyc1969 says:

        It also looks like the Charlie’s Angels silhouette, which is very interesting considering the title track sounds like the Angels theme, as you and others have noticed. Could Motown have seen the pilot, which aired in March 1976 and quickly taken inspiration for the High Energy cover? Nope! The pilot did not feature the famous side-by-side silhouette, only individual silhouettes drawn in prayer pose at the end of the episode. I’d guess Motown was just looking for an inexpensive cover. But it is an attractive piece of artwork.

      • Paul says:

        I always figured with Cindy leaving and Susaye coming in and BOTH of them featured on the album…it was just easier to do the silhouette on the cover (although Susaye is pictured on the back). I will say the cover artwork is FAR, FAR better than the photos placed on the rear cover!

      • david wilson says:

        The High Energy cover which features a stylised art deco fashion drawing of the trio is an update of the famous iconic 1965 poster image for the Supremes gig at the opening of the Lincoln Center in New York

  2. ernie alderete says:

    I agree with you completely, “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking,” “You’re What’s Missing in My Life,” and “Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You,” are magnificent. But I liked the title cut and opening number, “High Energy,” more than you did. It inspired a new Motown trio to take that name with a minor spelling variation, “High Inergy.” It reminded me of the way Barry White presented Love Unlimited, bringing in the vocals later, making you anticipate the sound of their voices even more. Sometimes a little bit of Mary Wilson is better than too much. You could even say that about Barbra Streisand.

    • Paul says:

      “Sometimes a little bit of Mary Wilson is better than too much” — I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a big fan of Mary Wilson and her voice — but I just don’t think she had the pop appeal to carry the group. I like that she got more chances to showcase her voice during the 70s, but Scherrie Payne was the right person to be “the voice” of The Supremes.

      • pnyc1969 says:

        For all the talk of Berry losing all interest in the group after Diana left it does seem that the company continued to take care in maintaining the best lineup possible. In retrospect, it looks like they repeatedly made “Right On!” decisions. Jean Terrell was the perfect replacement for Diana. She had the smooth, girlish, wrap-around-you quality of Diana and the group’s music 1970-72 required it. Sherrie was ideal on the new and strongly embraced disco songs that had very full arrangements. Lynda was very melodic and had excellent pitch as well as lovely stage presence (I really took a shine to her during the Return to Love tour.) Susaye was a spitfire who brought needed “High Energy” to the group, as well as a never-before-heard Supremes sound. (I have also heard a Deniece Williams and Mimmie Ripperton sound in her voice.) My only critique might be that Susaye sounded much more like a lead singer than a backup singer. And she and Sherrie together seemed a bit redundant. They were both “big voice” types in a group that never valued that vocal type (Ask Florence!) Of all the Supremes it is Cindy that I understand the least. I don’t feel like I know what she sounded like. I guess she blended well and maybe that was her strength. Paul, perhaps the next leg of your Supremes journey might be an analysis of the vocal styles that each of the ladies contributed. You could describe them much better than I have!

      • Paul says:

        I agree 1000% — Jean was the right choice to replace Diana, and Scherrie was an amazing addition to the group who had the ability to lead The Supremes to new heights had she really been given the chance. As for Cindy — you hit the nail on the head. Her strength was lending a smoothness to the backgrounds. I think that’s most obvious on THE SUPREMES (’75) — there’s a lush, round sound to the background vocals that you don’t hear on the two albums which followed. Cindy was able to add a kind of supple quality to the backgrounds, never competing for attention or distracting from the lead vocal.

  3. david h says:

    i agree with your review mostly but I actually prefer the original mixes released on the box set that were more pop rock feel to them but ,as usual I will be playin this album, both versions this weekend . I love Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking and think it a tremendous return to form for the group.. should of been a huge hit but it did stay on the charts for 13 weeks!
    I totally agree, Scherrie Payne was the lady to carry the Supremes. I do think the two ballads that Mary does on side 2 should have been replaced with more upbeat tracks. for me they were lackluster and don’t fit the album .

  4. david wilson says:

    I love(d) this album. I was 15 when it was released and instantly feel in love with it. The 70s Supremes were a much more democratic group than the Diana led formation. The quality of vocals on HE was outstanding and the production was cutting edge. Unfortunately here in the UK the Supremes had long since lost their status and the Three Degrees had replaced them in terms of chart success, TV appearances and position in the public consciousness as the premier girl group. I had great hopes for the girls reigniting their careers with this album, unfortunately UK radio did not support the group in their efforts. BBC Radio 1 rarely if ever played any cuts. This ruined any chances of chart success. Listening to this album and comparing it to contemporary releases/hits by other African American artists proves it be of equal if not better quality. A great album lost in the 1976 shuffle. It still sounds great today compared to a lot of 60s Diana led album cuts that have not aged well and sound excruciating today. I would certainly see this as a creative highpoint in the Supremes career even if it was a commercial flop here in the UK

    • Paul says:

      Love the memories and perspective from that time, David, thank you. It’s unfortunate that the radio industry has never seemed to be able to make room for both new artists and seasoned professionals. Through my research it seems more and more clear that the biggest hurdle The Supremes faced in the seventies was that radio just didn’t want to jump on their releases anymore. Had this album been released under a different group name, it probably would have done better, which is sad.

  5. I am such a huge fan of this record. Owning the original Seventies Supremes greatest hits & rarities that was released in the 90s it really was these final tracks that resonated and intrigued me most of all.

    I kind of like the way the dance floor bangers are front loaded at the top of the album and the after party cool down tracks see us out, as if we’ve been out at the disco and we need a chill out session. Those first two opening tracks are just outstanding and Sussaye Greene is such a great addition to the team you just wish she’d had a couple more years with the group to really mature as a singer…imagine if this was just the beginning of her career! Her range is just out of this world…literally!

    I will say I love the smokey laid back aspect of the ‘Till The Boat Sails Away’ and adore the Dream scape aspect of Mary’s delivery that then morphs into ‘I Don’t Want To Lose You’. As noted previously I have so much time for Mary’s work through these last three records it seems so perfect for the records being produced. Especially these gorgeous lush ballads.

    I have to take a time out to acknowledge what has to be one of my absolute favourite tracks from any period of The Supremes catalogue and that’s ‘Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You’ such a glorious record, I can’t say how many times I’ve put it on repeat. It’s operatic in its scope and unlike anything Mary approached at any point in her time in the group. It starts out pretty perfunctorily then builds and builds…and then Mary’s pleading that her emotional outburst means nothing…NOTHING SHE TELLS YOU!! DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO!! Such a fabulous, fabulous track!! The trumpet…listen to that trumpet!

    ‘High Energy’ is such a short LP at only 7 tracks, but wow it’s certainly quality over quantity just a great entry that deserved the response it gained from Disco fans…this for me is much like Diana’s ‘Take Me Higher’ the perfect encapsulation of a specific sound and time that deserves to be rediscovered. A lost record that deserves all the love.


    “High Energy” is The Supremes at their best.

  7. I would have to agree. HE ranks at the top of the list as one of my all time favorite albums of the Supremes. I never feel the need to skip a track. They all have a special place in my heart. It was the year I came out the closet, the year I turned 18, the year I moved out on my own. Mary’s ballads got me through that first month when I didn’t have a television set. Sherrie’s upbeat vocals got me through many a Friday night partying with my friends!

    • Paul says:

      That’s really nice Dale — I have many albums which I feel the same way about (Diana’s TAKE ME HIGHER certainly for me through my teenaged years). So glad we have The Supremes as the soundtrack of our lives!

  8. Pingback: Mary, Scherrie & Susaye (1976) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

  9. The Avenger says:

    This maybe just another “conspiracy theory”, but I remember reading somewhere that when The Supremes’ I’m Gonna let my heart… was going up the charts, Motown rush-released Love Hangover, to squash a competing version by the 5th Dimension. They hadn’t intended to release it as a single, instead forcing listeners who had heard the album version in clubs to buy the “Diana Ross” album, which, of course, contained the full 7 min. version. The single they were pushing was “i thought it took a little time..” . But when the 5th Dimension version was released, Motown decided quickly to rush it out. This had happened before, when the original Supremes’ song “come see about me” was rush-released in 1964, to stop a competing version. With Hangover- and here’s the conspiracy bit-Motown apparently sent a note to radio DJs telling them that this was the only motown 45 they wanted played now. If this was true-and who knows if it is-it may explain why, as you mention, the Supremes’ I;m Gonna let my heart suddenly stalled in the charts. Other fans have also stated that the Supremes song just suddenly disappeared from radio play. Hangover, as we know, got heavy rotation and soon hit #1 on the charts. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was true, as Diana Ross was certainly the comapny’s-and of course Berry Gordy’s-top priority at this time.

    • Paul says:

      Actually, “I’m Gonna Let…” and “Love Hangover” were released at the exact same time, in March of ’76. The Diana cut was rush-released, as you say, specifically to squash the competing 5th Dimension version — not to kill the Supremes cut. I can’t imagine Motown wanted to kill the Supremes cut — it placed industry ads urging stations to play it, even as “Love Hangover” was climbing the chart. At the end of the day, Motown was always about making money — if “I’m Gonna Let…” was on its way to #1, I think the company would have jumped on it even harder — it would be to everyone’s benefit to make it a hit.

      • The Avenger says:

        Hmmm. Not sure i totally agree with your view. Logically, a record company would be all about making money. But Motown, by all accounts, wasn’t just any record company. I guess it all depends on what you prefer to believe…

      • Paul says:

        I’ll certainly give you that Motown, in the 1960s, was a unique operation. But it was far more corporate by the 1970s, and a major money-making machine. Gordy also wasn’t so involved with the day-to-day operations by the mid-70s (particularly coming off of directing MAHOGANY) — Mary Wilson even writes in her book that it was other label execs who gave her so much trouble with contract issues, and it was Gordy himself who eventually helped sort them out. Had Gordy been so against The Supremes and determined for the group to fail, it would have been a lot easier to let their contacts lapse — as Motown owned the name, the company wouldn’t have had to worry that the group would move to another label and score success elsewhere. Just my thoughts!

      • The Avenger says:

        Hi Paul. Yes I’m totally with you on how Motown had changed considerably by the mid-70s. The move to Los Angeles had really shown that Berry Gordy was no longer as interested in the music side and Hollywood and movies was now where his ambitions lay. I guess he had nothing more to prove music-wise, he had put Motown on top of the mountain. The challenge had been the journey to get there, not in staying there. There were new challenges to be had. I guess in my mind (and no doubt in many others) it is the 60s heyday i think of when i think of Motown, and of how much was achieved in such a short period. But of course the whole picture includes the 70s and beyond and it is quite a different story. With this album and the following ones it is, of course, the 70s period that you/we are exploring and analysing. and your comments are absolutely appropriate and accurate for this time-frame. Best wishes.

      • david wilson says:

        Paul you have nailed it. I was 15 at the time and remember it well. Diana had just scored her 3rd Billboard HOT 100 solo No1 with The Theme From Mahogany. The solo album “Diana Ross” was released in spring 76. One track- Diana’ first ever disco recording- “Love Hangover” was causing a stir and burning up discos across the world. Club DJs were pushing for a single release of what they saw as a copper bottomed smash hit. Motown had other plans and the follow up single was another rather safe ballad in a similar style to Theme from Mahogany- I Thought It Took A Little Time was doing well on the chart when The 5th Dimension released their version of Love Hangover- Motown having been initially caught flatfooted counter punched to kill the Fifth Dimension version by rush releasing Diana’s original version of the disco recording. A chart battle ensued with Diana winning decisively knocking The 5th Dimension out in the first round on her way to scoring her 4th No1. The Supremes “Heart” was scheduled for release around the same time and was their most successful chart entry for some time. IGLMHDTW was promoted on radio and television appearances by the girls. Anyone promoting crackpot conspiracy theories about the “failure” of the Supremes record need to pack up and relocate to the city on the dark side of the moon and move in with Elvis Michael Jackson and Jimmy Hoffa.

  10. Pingback: Ross (1978) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s