Samstag, 14. Juni 2014

Martha & The Vandellas - Part 1

Martha & The Vandellas
aka Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
aka The Fayettes (Detroit, Michigan)

Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard, Martha Reeves

Part 1: lineups, discography, biography and videos

Group members:

Martha & The Vadellas

1962 – 1964 lineup:

Martha Reeves
Annette Beard
Rosalind Ashford

1964 – 1967 lineup:

Martha Reeves
Betty Kelly
Rosalind Ashford

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas

1967 – 1969 lineup:

Martha Reeves
Rosalind Ashford
Lois Reeves

1969 – 1972 lineup:

Martha Reeves
Lois Reeves
Sandra Tilley


Saundra Mallett & The Vandellas

1962 - Camel Walk / It’s Gonna Be Hard Times (Tamla 54067)

Marvin Gaye & The Vandellas

1962 – Stubborn Kind Of Fellow / It Hurt Me Too (Tamla 54068)

Marvin Gaye (bb The Vandellas) (uncredited)

1962 – Hitch Hike / [Hello There Angel (bb The Love-Tones)] (Tamla 54074)
1963 – Pride And Joy / One Of These Days (Tamla 54079)

Hattie Littles & The Fayettes

1963 – [Your Love Is Wonderful (solo)] / Here You Come (Gordy 7007)

Martha (Reeves) & The Vandellas


1962 - I'll Have To Let Him Go / My Baby Won't Come Back (Gordy 7011)
1963 - Come And Get These Memories / Jealous Lover (Gordy 7014)
1963 - Heat Wave / A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday) (Gordy 7022)
1963 - Quicksand / Darling, I Hum Our Song (Gordy 7025)
1964 - Live Wire / Old Love (Let's Try Again) (Gordy 7027)
1964 - In My Lonely Room / A Tear For The Girl (Gordy 7031)
1964 - Dancing In The Street / There He Is (At My Door) (Gordy 7033)
1964 - Wild One / Dancing Slow (Gordy 7036)
1965 - Nowhere To Run / Motoring (Gordy 7039)
1965 - You've Been In Love Too Long / Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) (Gordy 7045)
1965 - My Baby Loves Me / Never Leave Your Baby's Side (Gordy 7048)
1966 - What Am I Gonna Do Without Your Love / Go Ahead And Laugh (Gordy 7053)
1966 - I'm Ready For Love / He Doesn't Love Her Anymore (Gordy 7056)
1967 - Jimmy Mack / Third Finger, Left Hand (Gordy 7058)
1967 - Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone / One Way Out (Gordy 7062)*
1967 - Honey Chile / Show Me The Way (Gordy 7067)
1968 - I Promise To Wait My Love / Forget Me Not (Gordy 7070)
1968 - I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playin' / I Tried (Gordy 7075)
1968 - Sweet Darlin' / Without You (Gordy 7080)
1969 - (We've Got) Honey Love / I'm In Love (And I Know It) (Gordy 7085)
1969 - Taking My Love (And Leaving Me) / Heartless (Gordy 7094)
1970 - I Should Be Proud / Love, Guess Who (Gordy 7098)
1970 - I Gotta Let You Go / You're The Loser Now (Gordy 7103)
1970 - Yo Necesito De Tu Amor (I’m Ready For Love) / Jimmy Mack (Spanish version)
(Tamla Motown M-500) (Spain)
1971 - Bless You / Hope I Don't Get My Heart Broke (Gordy 7110)
1972 - In And Out Of My Life / Your Love Makes It All Worthwhile (Gordy 7113)
1972 - Tear It On Down / I Want You Back (Gordy 7118)
1973 - Baby (Don't You Leave Me) / I Won't Be The Fool I've Been Again (Gordy 7127)
[unreleased, Martha Reeves solo]
1989 – Step Into My Shoes / [Step Into My Shoes (instrumental)] (Motorcity 7MOTC 11)
*The first single where they were credited as Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.


1967 – Come And Get These Memories / Love’s Like A Heat Wave / Dancing In The Street / Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things / A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day) / Nowhere To Run (Gordy EP 60917)
n/a - Bailando En La Calle (Dancing In The Street) / Jimmy Mack / Chile Con Miel (Honey Chile) / Cupido Deja Mi Corazon En Paz (Cupid Left My Heart In Peace) (Tamla Motown MOT 10266) (Mexico)


 1963 – {Come And Get These Memories} Come And Get These Memories / Can't Get Used To Losing You / Moments (To Remember) / This Is When I Need You Most / A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday) / Tears On My Pillow / To Think He Would Hurt Me / There He Is (At My Door) / I'll Have To Let Him Go / Give Him Up / Jealous Lover / Old Love (Let's Try It Again) (Gordy LP 902)

 1963 – {Heat Wave} (Love is Like A) Heat Wave / Then He Kissed Me / Hey There Lonely Boy / More / Danke Schoen / If I Had A Hammer / Hello Stranger / Just One Look / Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home / My Boyfriend's Back / Mockingbird / Quicksand (Gordy LP 907)

 1964 – {Recorded Live - The Motortown Revue Vol. 2} Quicksand / It’s Alright / Heatwave (Motown LP M5-206V1) (Various Artists)

 1965 – {Motortown Revue In Paris} If I Had A Hammer / Nowhere To Run / Dancing In The Street (Tamla LP 264) (Various Artists, live)

1965 – {Dance Party} Dancing In The Street / Dancing Slow / Wild One / Nowhere To Run / Nobody'll Care / There He Is (At My Door) / Mobile Lil The Dancing Witch / Dance Party / Motoring / The Jerk / Mickey's Monkey / Hitch Hike (Gordy LP 915)

1966 – {Greatest Hits} My Baby Loves Me / Come And Get These Memories / (Love is Like A) Heat Wave / Dancing In The Street / Quicksand / Live Wire / You've Been in Love Too Long / In My Lonely Room / Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) / A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday) / Nowhere To Run / Wild One (Gordy LP 917)

1966 – {Watchout!} I'm Ready For Love / One Way Out / Jimmy Mack / Let This Day Be / Keep It Up / Happiness Is Guaranteed / I'll Follow You / No More Tearstained Make Up / Go Ahead And Laugh / What Am I Going To Do Without Your Love? / Tell Me I'll Never Be Alone / He Doesn't Love Her Anymore (Gordy LP 920)

 1967 – {Live!} Introduction / I'm Ready For Love / Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone / For Once in My Life / (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave / Nowhere To Run / My Baby Loves Me / I Found A Love / Jimmy Mack / You've Been In Love Too Long / Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) / Do Right Woman / Respect / Medley: "Dancing in the Street / I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) / Sweet Soul Music / Uptight (Everything's Alright) (Gordy LP 925)

 1968 – {Ridin’ High} I Promise To Wait My Love / Honey Chile / (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me / Leave It In The Hands Of Love / Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone / I'm In Love (And I Know It) / To Sir With Love / Forget Me Not / (We've Got) Honey Love / I Say A Little Prayer / Show Me The Way (Gordy LP 926)*

 1968 – {Tamla-Motown Festival Tokyo ‘68} Nowhere To Run / Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone / Jimmy Mack / Ode To Billie Joe / Honey Chile / Dancing In The Street – I Can’t Help Myself (Tamla Motown Victor SJET 804) (live recordings, B-Side, A-Side by Stevie Wonder)

1968 – {In Loving Memory] Were You There (Motown LP 642) (Various Artists)
1969 – {Suger n’ Spice} Taking My Love (And Leaving Me) / Shoe Leather Expressway / You're The Loser Now / I'm A Winner / What Now My Love / Soul Appeal / Loneliness Is A Lonely Feelin’/ I Love The Man / It Ain’t Like That / I Can’t Get Along Without You / Heartless / I Hope That You Have Better Luck Than I Did (Gordy LP 944)**

1970 – {Natural Resources} Something / Easily Persuaded / Didn't We / I'm In Love / Love, Guess Who / Everybody’s Talkin’/ Put A Little Love In Your Heart / The Hurt Is Over (Since I Found You)/ Take A Look Around / Won't It Be So Wonderful? / I Should Be Proud / People Got To Be Free (Gordy LP 952)***
1972 –{Black Magic}  No One There / Your Love Makes It All Worthwhile / Something / Benjamin / Tear It On Down / I've Given You The Best of My Life / Bless You / I Want You Back / In And Out Of My Life / Anyone Who Had A Heart / Hope I Don't Get My Heart Broke (Gordy LP 958)****

*The first album where they were credited as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

**Although new member and former Velvelettes member Sandra Tilley is featured on the album cover, her vocals do not appear on the album. Instead, tracks were used with Rosalind Ashford, Lois Reeves with additional vocals accompanied by The Andantes and Syreeta Wright.

***This album marked a return from lead singer Martha Reeves, recovering from a time in a mental institution after an addiction to painkillers nearly wrecked her.

****Many of the tracks on the album were originally assigned to Diana Ross before being reassigned to Martha Reeves & The Vandellas.


1962 – Coney Island (Motown)
1962 – I’ll Be Standing By (Motown)
1962 – Watch Him Now (Motown)
1962 – You Just Wouldn’t Listen (Motown)
1962 - Better Think It Over (Motown)
1962 – Time Changes Things (Motown)
1962 – It’s Hard To Walk Away (Motown)
1962 – I Want To Be With You Tonight (Motown)
1962 – Undecided Lover (Motown)
1963 – Billy Brown (Motown)
1963 – Forever (Motown)
1963 – Someday, Someway (Motown)
1963 – Contract On Love (Motown)
1963 – I’m Willing To Pay The Price (Motown)
1963 – Build Him Up (Motown)
1963 – I Remember You (Motown)
1963 – Memories Are Made Of This (Motown)
1963 – Give Him Up (Motown)
1963 - All That Glitters Isn’t Gold (Motown)
1964 – C’mon And Swim (Motown)
1964 – Now And Forever (Motown)
1964 - Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While) (Motown)
1965 - Don't Take Advantage Of Me (Motown)
1965 - Can't Break The Habit (Motown)
1965 - I Got It Bad (Motown)
1965 - It's Your Wedding Day (Motown)
1965 - Missing Lover (Motown)
1965 - Testifying For Love (Motown)
1965 - Too Far Gone To Save Myself (Motown)
1965 - Too Much Pressure On My Heart (Motown)
1965 - That's How Bad (Motown)
1965 - I Can't Understand It (Motown)
1965 - Miss Lonely Heart (Motown)
1965 - S.O.S. (Girl In Distress) (Motown)
1965 – Spellbound (Motown)
1966 - You Neglect Me (Motown)
1966 - Keep Stepping (Never Look Back (Motown)
1966 - You've Been On My Mind (Motown)
1966 - I Can't Take It (Motown)
1966 - I Can't Help It (I Love You) (Motown)
1966 - It's Easy To Fall In Love (With A Guy Like You) (Motown)
1966 - The Tracks Of My Tears (Motown)
1966 - If You Don't Want My Love (Motown)
1967 - Hold On I’m Coming (Motown)
1967 - Save Some Room In Your Heart (Motown)
1967 - You Can Have Him (Motown)
1967 - Love Where Are You Hiding (Motown)
1967 - Since You've Been Gone (Motown)
1967 - Looking In The Mirror (Motown)
1967 - For Once In My Life (Motown)
1967 - Lone Lonely Town (Motown)
1968 - A Little Bit Of Heaven (On A Little Patch Of Earth) (Motown)
1968 - Candy Man (Motown)
1968 - I Promise To Wait My Love (unedited mono version) (Motown)
1968 - It Must Be Him (Motown)
1968 - I Can't Erase The Way I Feel (Motown)
1968 - In A World Of My Own (Motown)
1968 - Remember Me (Motown)
1968 - Oh, I've Been Bless'd (Motown)
1968 - Love, Don't Take A Holiday (Motown)
1969 - Don't Say You Love Me (Motown)
1969 - I've Got To See You (Motown)
1969 - Light My Fire (Motown)
1969 - Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever (Motown)
1969 - Take It Off (Motown)
1969 - We Will (Motown)
1969 - I'll Take A Raincheck (If Love Invites Me) (Motown)
1969 - Since You've Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby) (Motown)
1969 - Start With Joy In The Morning (Motown)
1969 - Full Speed Ahead (Motown)
1969 - Operation Teamwork (Motown)
1969 - I'm Glad You Belong To Me (Motown)
1969 - Is There A Place (In His Heart For Me) (Motown)
1969 - I've Got Nothing Left To Cling To (Motown)
1969 - I've Gotta Have Somebody To Rely On (Motown)
1969 - Hooked Real Good On A Bad Thing (Motown)
1970 – Earthquake (Motown)
1970 - Standing Ovation (Motown)
1970 - Don't Leave Your Baby (Motown)
1970 - I Can't Wait Till Summer Comes (Motown)
1970 - Let Me Fall In Love With You (Motown)
1970 - Where Was I (When Love Came By) (Motown)
1970 - There's Love In This World (Motown)
1971 - Talkin' 'Bout Love (Motown)


Aggressive yet soulful, exuberant yet classy, Martha & The Vandellas stand as one of the greatest groups of all time and recorded some of the toughest rock 'n' roll to ever come out of the Motown factory. The Vandellas influenced scores of female artists and every successive girl group generation, from The Supremes themselves to Destiny's Child. Their vocals have graced records from J.J. Barnes to Marvin Gaye, and they helped launch the stratospheric careers of the genius Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and production team They have been called Motown's only true female soul group, and with good reason. They are one of the most successful raw-sounding groups of all time and brought a gospel approach to the Motown mansion that met with mainstream appeal. They were soul sisters with a message and sisters that could also work a groove.

Martha Reeves

Alabama-born and Detroit-raised Martha Reeves began doing solo work in clubs as Martha LaVelle. Then she formed The Del-Phis with her school friends Gloria Williams, Rosalind Ashford, and Annette Beard while still in her teens in the late '50s, influenced by her church upbringing and schooled in the sounds of gospel greats such as The Five Blind Boys, The Caravans, The Soul Stirrers, and Clara Ward. She was also inspired by classical music. Around this time, Abraham Silver vocally coached Martha, and it was this same person who would later lend his vocal teachings to other Motown giants such as The Supremes' Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson and The Miracles' Bobby Rogers.

Gloria Jean Williamson, Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard

The Del-Phis performed at local gigs and backed up fellow Detroit singers such as J.J. Barnes and Leon Peterson before being picked up by the Chess subsidiary Checkmate Records. There, they recorded one 45, the Martha-led (and co-written), piano-propelled, energetic "I'll Let You Know" (Chess 1005), released in 1961. Around this time, Martha auditioned for Motown but was instead offered a secretarial job in the A&R department, booking artists for studio time. When Motown bought the Checkmate division from Chess, Motown named them The Vels, because the group was technically still signed to Chess. They recorded the Gloria-led ballad song "There He is (At My Door)," which flopped as a single on Motown's affiliate Mel-O-Dy label in 1962 (Mel-O-Dy 103). By the time of the single's release, Gloria had left the group.

 Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard (1962)
The trio of Martha, Annette, and Rosalind's big breakthrough came in the summer of 1962 when they provided backup vocals for Marvin Gaye's classic "Stubborn Kind of Fellow." Released in the fall of that year, the single made the Billboard R&B Top 10 and made a respectable showing on the pop charts (the girls also lent their vocal support to Gaye's gems "Hitch Hike" and "Pride and Joy").

Marvin Gaye, Rosalind Ashford, Marha Reeves, Annette Beard

They also backed Hattie Littles on “Here You Come” as The Fayettes in early 1962.
Hattie Littles

By this time, Martha had come up with a new name for The Vels: The Vandellas, a combination of Van Dyke Street in Detroit and the name of one of her idols, R&B/gospel talent Della Reese (of "Do You Know" fame). Their single "I'll Have To Let Him Go" (Gordy 7011), originally intended for Mary Wells and bearing the name Martha & The Vandellas, was also released around the same time as Marvin Gaye's single. However, unlike "Stubborn Kind of Fellow," the song gained scant notice.

Annette Beard, Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford

February 1963's "Come and Get These Memories" (Gordy 7014) was a milestone for the group. It was the first hit recording by the venerable songwriting/production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, reaching the US pop Top 30 and R&B Top 10, and it also gave the Vandellas their first real hit. Featuring instrumentation by the inimitable Funk Brothers, the rhythmic tune of heartbreak fronted by Martha's brassy vocals is a staple of many Motown compilations.

Martha Reeves, Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford

But nothing would prepare the girls for the huge success of the follow up single "Heat Wave" (Gordy 7022). Released as the third single to bear the Martha & The Vandellas stamp, the frenetic rocker soared to the US Top 5 and capped at #1 R&B. The song established the straight rocking formula of Martha and the gang: a lethal beat enhanced by a muscular bass line, a commanding, gospel-driven vocal, call and response patterns (via the famous "Go ahead, girl!"), ear catching "oohs," and contagious, full-figured instrumentation courtesy of the Funk Brothers. It simply exemplified the early Motown sound. The song received a Grammy nomination and has since been covered by numerous artists and featured on many compilations.

Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard, Martha Reeves

"Quicksand" (Gordy 7025) and "Live Wire" (Gordy 7027) followed a similar formula. Around this time, Annette left the group to marry and was replaced by Betty Kelly, formerly of the Velvelettes (noteworthy for the Motown chestnuts "Needle in a Haystack" and "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'").

Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford, Betty Kelley

The summer of 1964 brought more wonders once the soul maelstrom anthem "Dancing in the Street" (Gordy 7033), originally meant for Kim Weston, was released. The "dancing" served as a metaphor for protest and later became inextricably linked with the 1967 American race riots. Another worldwide smash like "Heat Wave," including making the Top 5 on the American and British charts, "Dancing in the Street" was critically lauded and became the Vandellas' signature tune.

Betty Kelley, Martha Reeves and Rosalind Ashford

Equally mesmerizing was 1965's infectious pounding wailer "Nowhere to Run" (Gordy 7039), featuring snow chains that served as percussion. The record was issued just as the group took off for England as part of Motown’s first European package tour alongside The Temptations, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, and Stevie Wonder, and struck the American and British pop charts. More similarly paced hits continued such as the US R&B and pop Top 10 burner "I'm Ready for Love" (Gordy 7056), and even a solo Martha ballad endeavor called "My Baby Loves Me" (Gordy 7048) in 1966 was a hit, featuring the celebrated primarily Motown session singers The Andantes and the grand group The Four Tops. By 1967, Martha's sister Lois replaced Betty, and the year opened with the optimistic, mellower military march-styled "Jimmy Mack" (Gordy 7058), their final US Top 10 smash. The song was originally cut in the spring of 1964 but was finally unearthed to become another Martha & The Vandellas classic.

Lois Reeves, Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford

In the fall of 1967, the group's name was changed to "Martha Reeves & The Vandellas" to conform with the company's recent changes of The Supremes' and The Miracles' names to reflect their featured lead singers. The Southern-drawled "Honey Chile" (Gordy 7067) was the first single to demonstrate this, and it became the group's final major hit, narrowly missing the US Top 10 (#11). Afterwards, success began to go downhill: "I Can't Dance to That Music You're Playin'" (Gordy 7075) in 1968, 1969's "(We've Got) Honey Love" (Gordy 7085), and 1971's "Bless You" (Gordy 7110) were modest US pop and R&B charters, the latter being the girls' last UK Top 40 hit. During this period, Martha suffered a breakdown and became seriously ill. She was stunned to learn of Motown's move to Los Angeles and fought a legal battle with the label to be released from her contract.

Martha Reeves, Lois Reeves, Rosalind Ashford

Rosalind left the group in 1969, only to be replaced by former Velvelettes star Sandra Tilley, who stayed with the group until the end. "Tear It On Down" (Gordy 7118) became the Vandella's last chart entry, missing the US Top 100 while only becoming a mid-sized R&B hit in 1972.

Sandra Tilley Martha Reeves, Lois Reeves

On December 31, 1972, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas performed a farewell concert at the Cobo Hall in Detroit before disbanding in early 1973.

Sandra Tilley, Martha Reeves, Lois Reeves
Martha ventured into a solo career and scored a relatively minor chart success with soul legend Joe Simon's "Power of Love" (#76 US, #37R&B). Though her early solo efforts were critically acclaimed, especially in soul music circles, none ever matched the success of her Motown heyday. Her other singles such as "Wild Night," originally by singer-songwriter mastermind Van Morrison, and "Love Blind" were relative chart failures. "My Man (You Changed My Tune)," "Higher and Higher," "The Rest of My Life," and even a cover of the timeless "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" failed to receive any attention. 1978's "Love Don't Come No Stronger" and the disco tune "We Meet Again" seemed to be the last straw for Martha by decade's end. In 1978, Martha Reeves and original Vandellas Rosalind Ashford and Annette Beard reunited at a Los Angeles benefit concert for actor Will Geer. Martha’s last LP up until that time, 1980's Gotta Keep Moving, and a single from the album, "That's What I Want," both bombed.

Martha Reeves

The '80s and '90s were dotted with reunions by Martha, Rosalind, Lois and Annette, and even a new single credited as Martha Reeves & The Vandellas called "Step Into My Shoes" was released in 1989, a funky soul number co-produced by the legendary Ian Levine, ut the song failed to gain much attention. In 1983, Martha successfully sued Motown for back royalties and later had a book published in the 1990s about her life called Dancing in the Street: Confessions of a Motown Diva. In 2001, she released her first album after two decades and in 2005 became a member of the Detroit City Council. After the Vandellas' split, Reeves' sister Lois sang with the group Quiet Elegance and also sang background for Al Green, while Tilley retired from show business in the late 1970s, suddenly dying of a brain aneurysm in 1981 at the age of thirty-nine. Gloria Williams passed away in 2000.

Rosalind Ashford, Martha Reeves, Annette Beard

Although Martha & The Vandellas had their moment to shine in an important era of music history, their triumphant and trailblazing mark on the face of pop music continues to resonate for years to come and will continue to keep people dancing in the street to the explosive heat wave of their music that embodied and defined The Sound of Young America.




Dancing In The Street

Nowhere To Run

Come And Get These Memories

I’m Ready For Love

My Baby Loves Me

Jimmy Mack

Step Into My Shoes

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