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Jean Terrell

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Jean Terrell (born Velma Jean Terrell, November 26, 1944 in Belzoni, Mississippi) is an American R&B and jazz singer. She replaced Diana Ross as the lead singer of The Supremes in January 1970.[1]She is the sister of the former WBA heavyweight boxing champion, Ernie Terrell, who fought Muhammad Ali.[1]

Moving from Belzoni, Mississippi to Chicago for a better life at an early age, Jean Terrell was guided by her family to sing, and it was in the late 1960s that she and her brother formed a group called Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights. Signing a contract with A&M Records, Terrell had finished a solo recording, I Had to Fall in Love, in 1978 but supposedly due to her Jehovah’s Witness beliefs conflicting with promoting the recording in a specific way the record label wanted, she semi-retired.[3] In the early 1980s Terrell put together a one woman show and did limited touring throughout the United States. Her act consisted of several Supremes songs, songs from her solo album and cover versions of songs by Bette Midler and Lionel Richie. Friend and former Supreme Lynda Laurence would often perform background vocals for Terrell during these tours. Another who performed backing vocals for Terrell during these tours was Freddi Poole, later a member of Scherrie & Lynda’s group the F.L.O.S. (Former ladies of The Supremes).

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