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Diana Ross feared they would be mistaken for a male vocal group.Eventually Gordy agreed to sign them under that name on January 15, 1961.The group struggled in their early years with the label, releasing eight singles that failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100, giving them the nickname "no-hit Supremes".One track, "Buttered Popcorn", led by Ballard, was a regional hit in the Midwest, but still failed to chart.During this time, Ballard sang lead on several songs on Supremes' albums, including a cover of Sam Cooke's "(Ain't That) Good News".
After being removed from the Supremes in 1967, Ballard tried an unsuccessful solo career with ABC Records before she was dropped from the label at the end of the decade.
Named "Blondie" and "Flo" by family and friends, Ballard attended Northeastern High School and was coached vocally by Abraham Silver.
Ballard met future singing partner Mary Wilson during a middle-school talent show and they became friends while attending Northeastern High.
According to Mary Wilson, Ballard's vocals were so loud she was made to stand 17 feet away from her microphone during recording sessions.
All in all, Ballard contributed vocals to ten number-one pop hits and 16 top forty hit singles between 19.