Florence Ballard, one of Pop Music's very saddest stories. The original Supremes member, she recruited Mary Wilson who in turn brought in Diana Ross. Ballard also chose the group's name and sung lead on early singles. Gradually began suffering from alcohol dependence, itself perhaps brought on by the fact that she had been raped by a local high-school basketball player in 1960. She lost her hold within the group and was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967. Much has been made of her rivalry within the group with Ross, including dark hints that she was effectively ousted by her after a long-term struggle for the spotlight with Berry Gordy's full collusion. Here her own take on her dismissal below.
Ballard's decline from this point on is too sad to relate in detail. She died in 1976, aged just 32 after a cardiac arrest. The song posted below is one side of her debut solo single, released on ABC Records in 1968.