At The Copa

The Supremes at the Copa is a live album by The Supremes which was recorded during their debut engagement at the prestigious Copacabana nightclub in New York City.

It was released in the late fall of 1965 by Motown Records.

It was the first live album issued by The Supremes and the only live album issued by the group's best-known lineup of Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.

Album BackgroundEdit

The Supremes were following Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole and Sam Cooke, among the first African-American entertainers to appear at the Copa and playing the club was seen by Motown CEO Berry Gordy as an in-roads into the conservative white middle-America market.

Gordy and the Motown staff, including vocal director Maurice King and choreographer Cholly Atkins invested significant amounts of time and money into preparing the Supremes for their Copa debut.

Tensions ran high at several points during the preparation stages.

Florence Ballard was angered that her only solo number "People" was now to be led by Supremes lead singer Diana Ross while Diana herself complained about the group's staging and bristled under Gordy's criticisms of their performances.

Nevertheless, the Copa engagement was a success, paving the way for several other Motown stars including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Martha & the Vandellas and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles to secure play dates at the Copa.

After the success of their initial Copa engagement, Mary Wilson noted that the Supremes were "welcome to play any club in the world."

The group had several future play dates at the Copa and eventually earned $20,000 a week for these performances.


Side One

  1. Opening Introduction
  2. "Put On A Happy Face" (Lee Adams, Charles Strouse)
  3. "I Am Woman, You Are Man" (Jule Styne, Bob Merrill)
  4. "Baby Love" (Holland–Dozier–Holland)
  5. "Stop! In the Name of Love" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  6. "The Boy from Ipanema" (Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Norman Gimbel).
  7. "Make Someone Happy" (Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green)
  8. "Come See About Me" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  9. "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" (Sam M. Lewis, Jean Schwartz, Joe Young)

Side Two

  1. "Queen of the House" (Roger Miller, Mary Taylor)
  2. Group Introduction
  3. "Somewhere" (Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim)
  4. "Back in My Arms Again" (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
  5. Sam Cooke Medley ("You Send Me," "Cupid," "Chain Gang," "Bring It On Home To Me," "Shake" and "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons") (Sam Cooke)
  6. "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You" (James Cavanaugh, Russ Morgan, Larry Stock)

Expanded Album ReleaseEdit

On May 12, 2012, Universal Music Group released "At the Copa: Expanded Edition," a two-disc limited edition re-release.

Disc one contains the digitally remastered original stereo album (an album that, owing to then-insurmountable technical problems) used lead vocals overdubbed by Diana Ross in the studio.

Also on disc one are 10 specially selected, previously unreleased original mono reference mixes, with Diana Ross’s original live vocals.

Disc two features the full Copa show as only the audience would have experienced it in 1965 in a brand-new mix that compiles the best performances from six recorded shows.

Technology allowed the producers to overcome issues that vexed their 1960s counterparts, resulting not only in the use of the original lead vocals but the inclusion of songs cut from the original release: the opening number “From This Moment On,” their hits “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Nothing But Heartaches,” and classic show tunes including “Tonight/The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”

Chart PerformanceEdit

Name Chart (1965 - 1966) Peak
The Supremes at the Copa U.S. Billboard 200 11
U.S. Billboard R&B Albums Chart 6

Album PersonnelEdit

  • Diana Ross: lead vocals
  • Florence Ballard: Co-lead harmony in "Queen of The House" and background vocals
  • Mary Wilson: background vocals and co-lead vocals in “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”
  • Berry Gordy and Lawrence Horn: producers
  • Gil Askey: bandleader, arranger, conductor