About the song
Someday We’ll Be Together is a song that marked the end of an era for one of the most successful and influential groups in pop history: Diana Ross & The Supremes. The song was released in November 1969 as the final single featuring Diana Ross, who left the group in January 1970 to pursue a solo career. However, the song was not originally intended for the Supremes, nor did it feature the other two members of the group, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong.
The song was written by Johnny Bristol, Jackey Beavers, and Harvey Fuqua in 1961, and recorded by Bristol and Beavers as a duo called Johnny & Jackey for the Tri-Phi label. The song was a moderate hit in the Midwest, but did not gain much attention elsewhere. Tri-Phi was later acquired by Motown, and Bristol, Beavers, and Fuqua joined Berry Gordy’s record company as songwriters and producers.
In 1969, Bristol was working on a new version of Someday We’ll Be Together for another Motown act, Jr. Walker & The All-Stars. He had already recorded the instrumental track and the background vocals when Gordy heard them and decided that the song would be a perfect solo debut for Diana Ross. He asked Bristol to record Ross’ vocal over the existing track, without involving Wilson and Birdsong. Bristol agreed, but had some difficulty getting the vocal performance he wanted from Ross. He decided to harmonize with her and encourage her during the recording, hoping to get her in the right mood. The engineer accidentally recorded both Ross’ and Bristol’s vocals, but Bristol and arranger Wade Marcus liked the result and kept it for the final version. Bristol’s ad-libs and words of encouragement can be heard throughout the song.
When Gordy heard the completed song, he decided to release it as the last Diana Ross & The Supremes single, even though it was essentially a solo record by Ross. He also chose it as the closing number for Ross’ farewell performance with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas on January 14, 1970. The song became a huge hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in December 1969. It was the twelfth and final number one pop single for Diana Ross & The Supremes, and the last number one hit of the 1960s.
Someday We’ll Be Together is a song that has a dual meaning: it can be seen as a hopeful message of reunion between lovers who are apart, or as a nostalgic tribute to a group that will always be together in spirit, even after their breakup. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Al Green, Sheryl Crow, and Beyoncé. It remains one of the most iconic and memorable songs by Diana Ross & The Supremes, and a fitting farewell to their legendary legacy.