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Florence Ballard

Florence Ballard (June 30, 1943 - February 22, 1976), an American singer from Detroit, was the original singer in the Primettes and then became the lead singer in the Supremes before Diana Ross took the lead.

Ballard had a voice resembling that of Aretha Franklin, however, it was Ross' voice that stormed the Supremes into the charts, and the group ended up achieving nine number one hits. In the early days of the Supremes, Florence Ballard took lead on songs like 'People', 'Buttered Popcorn' and 'Heavenly Father\'. Diana Ross certainly appealed to a white audience, but there is speculation as to whether her voice was 'accepted' by the black community at the time.

On February 22, 1976, Florence Ballard died of cardiac arrest. She was deeply depressed and was a chronic alcoholic. Her heart finally gave out after years of heavy drinking.