Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On December 21, 1972 Martha Reeves and The Vandellas played their last show together at Cobo Hall, in Detroit, Michigan

In early 1962, a girl group known as The Vels began applying background vocals for the Washington, D.C.-bred singer, former Moonglows member and emerging Motown star Marvin Gaye, singing on Gaye's first hit single, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow.

Later that year Rosalind Ashford, Anette Beard and Martha Reeves renamed themselves Martha and the Vandellas.  The group signed with Motown on September 21, 1962.

Following their signing to Motown's Gordy imprint in 1962, Martha and the Vandellas struck gold with their second release, the first composition and production from the famed writing team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, titled "Come and Get These Memories". 

Their second hit, "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", became a phenomenal record for the group, reaching number four on the Hot 100 and hitting number one on the R&B singles chart for five weeks. It became their first million-seller and eventually won the group their only Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.


The group's success continued with their second Top Ten single and third Top 40 single, "Quicksand", which was another composition with Holland-Dozier-Holland and reached number eight pop in the late fall of 1963...

The next two singles, "Live Wire" and "In My Lonely Room"(#6 R&B Cashbox) were less successful singles, failing to reach the Top 40...

The next hit, DANCING IN THE STREET, has an interesting story attached to it.…

"Dancing in the Street", rose up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also found global success, peaking at #21 on the UK Singles Chart in 1964. In 1969, "Dancing in the Street" was re-issued and it was plugged heavily on radio stations. It did not take long for the song to peak at #4 in the UK, thus making the song one of the all time favorite Motown single releases ever. The song became a million-seller, and one of the most played singles in history … 

Between 1964 and 1967, singles like "Wild One" (US #34), "Nowhere to Run" (US #8; UK #26), "You've Been in Love Too Long" (US #36),

 "My Baby Loves Me" (US #22; R&B #3),

 "I'm Ready for Love" (US #9; R&B #2; UK #29)

and "Jimmy Mack" (US #10; R&B #1; UK #21) kept the Vandellas on the map as one of the label's top acts. The Vandellas' popularity helped the group get spots on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Mike Douglas Show, American Bandstand and Shindig!. Throughout this period, the Vandellas had also become one of the label's most popular performing acts. (Wikipedia)

After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in early 1968 the Vandellas continued to find success with the Richard Morris produced singles "Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone" (US #25; R&B #14) and "Honey Chile" 
(US #11; UK #30; R&B #5)

all of which added to their already extended list of charted singles…

On December 21, 1972 Martha Reeves and The Vandellas played  their last show together at Cobo Hall, in Detroit, Michigan.

Their recording career spanned from 1963 to 1972, charting over two dozen times. Ten of their singles reached the Top Ten of the Billboard R&B chart and twelve made it into the Top 40 of the Hot 100, including "Dancing in the Street", "Heat Wave", "Nowhere to Run"   and "Jimmy Mack." 

(In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Martha and the Vandellas #96 on their list of the
100 greatest artists of all time)



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