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Cleveland Yard South Group

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Martha Reeves And The Vandellas

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were an American vocal group that achieved fame in the 1960s with Motown Records. They were known for their soulful and energetic sound, and their hits included "Heat Wave", "Dancing in the Street", "Nowhere to Run", and "Jimmy Mack".

Martha Reeves And The Vandellas


Early years (1957-1962)

The group was founded in 1957 as the Del-Phis by friends Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard, Gloria Williams, and Martha Reeves. They performed at local clubs, events, and recording sessions in Detroit. They signed their first recording contract with Checker Records in 1960, but their singles flopped. In 1962, Williams left the group and Reeves became the lead vocalist. They also changed their name to Martha and the Vandellas, after a Detroit street and a singer they admired.

Rise to fame (1963-1967)

The group's breakthrough came when they signed with Motown's Gordy label and teamed up with the songwriting-production team Holland-Dozier-Holland. Their first hit was "Come and Get These Memories" in 1963, followed by the classic "Heat Wave", which earned them a Grammy nomination. They also recorded backing vocals for Marvin Gaye, who co-wrote their signature song "Dancing in the Street" in 1964. The song became an anthem for social change and civil rights, and was covered by many artists. The group continued to score hits with songs like "Quicksand", "Nowhere to Run", "I'm Ready for Love", and "Jimmy Mack". They also toured extensively in the US and abroad, and appeared on TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and Shindig.

Late career (1968-1972)

The group underwent several personnel changes in the late 1960s. Betty Kelly replaced Beard in 1964, Lois Reeves (Martha's sister) replaced Kelly in 1967, and Sandra Tilley replaced Ashford in 1970. The group also changed their name to Martha Reeves & The Vandellas in 1967. Their musical style also changed, as they experimented with psychedelic soul, funk, and pop. However, their popularity declined as Motown shifted its focus to other acts like the Supremes and the Jackson 5. Their last hit was "Bless You" in 1971, and they disbanded in 1972.


Martha Reeves and the Vandellas are regarded as one of the most influential female groups in music history. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. Their songs have been sampled, remixed, and covered by numerous artists, such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Phil Collins, Van Halen, Dusty Springfield, Bruce Springsteen, and Amy Winehouse. They have also been featured in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, and musicals.

For more information about Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, you can visit their official website or read their Wikipedia article. You can also listen to some of their songs on YouTube.


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