The Supremes at the Michigan State Fair

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1965

Photograph courtesy of The Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

It looks as if then Michigan Gov. George Romney is about to break into “Stop! In the Name of Love” with the Supremes, but he was likely on the band shell stage of the Michigan State Fair simply to introduce or congratulate the Motown group, who were on a hit-making streak in 1965, releasing such chart-topping singles as “Back in My Arms Again,” “Nothing but Heartaches,” and, of course, “Stop! In the Name of Love.” The State Fair attracted some of the biggest names in entertainment, and nabbing the hometown girls (Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross) to perform at the crest of their popularity was quite a coup. The group started in 1959 as a quartet called the Primettes, but they didn’t have their first No. 1 hit until 1964 with “Where Did Our Love Go?” The Michigan State Fair is the nation’s oldest; it began in 1849, and has been held at its current site, on Woodward between State Fair Avenue and Eight Mile Road, since 1905. The event has been an end-of-summer ritual for generations of Michiganians. However, state budget cuts have threatened the fair’s existence. At press time, it was unclear whether this year’s fair (Aug. 28-Sept. 7) will be the last — at least at its Detroit location.

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