Aggressive, Exciting Soul Jul 19, 2004 23:57:32 GMT -5
Post by Motorcity on Jul 19, 2004 23:57:32 GMT -5
The group had its beginning in 1960, Martha Reeves met Rosalind Ashford and both were invited to join the Del-Phis with Annette (Beard) Sterling and Gloria Williams. They entered talent contests and recorded a single for Chess records.
Martha also sang as a soloist under the name Martha LaVaille. She entered and won a talent contest, the prize being a three night stint at Detroit's Twenty Grand. At one of her performances, Motown's William "Mickey" Stevenson enjoyed Martha's show and gave her his business card. She was later hired as his secretary at Motown.
The group, now known as the Vells, recorded the single, "There He Is (At My Door)"- a tune for Mary Wells, on Motown's one time subsidiary, Mel-O-Dy. The record didn't do well and Gloria Williams left the group. The Vells then stood in as session singers on numerous occassions, most notably for Marvin Gaye's "Hitch Hike", "Stubborn Kinda Fellow", and "Pride and Joy" and Sandra Mallett's, future lead singer of the Elgins, "It's Gonna Be Hard Times".
By 1962, the group was renamed Martha and the Vandellas, a combination of Detroit's Van Dyke Street and Martha's favorite vocalist, Della Reese. They then released another Mary Wells' intended tune, "I'll Have To Let Him Go" b/w "My Baby Won't Come Back" on the Gordy label that impressed Mickey. Their second release, "Come Get These Memories", their first Holland-Dozier-Holland tune as well as the first tune by the writing team, became their first hit in 1963. During that year, Annette retired and former Velvelette Betty Kelly joined the group. "Heatwave" and "Quicksand" followed as big hits from previously recorded material until they recorded the song, reportedly for Kim Weston, "Dancing in the Street". "Dancing in the Street", written by Mickey and Marvin Gaye, became their first huge hit in 1964. Other hits for the group are:
1964 "Wild One"
1965 "Nowhere To Run"
1965 "You've Been In Love Too Long"
1966 "My Baby Loves Me"
1966 "I'm Ready For Love"
1967 "Jimmy Mack" (originally recorded two years prior to its release)
1967 "Honey Chile"
1967 "Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone"
By 1967, the group became known as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Sometime that same year, Betty left the group and was replaced by Lois Reeves, Martha's younger sister. By 1969, the group endured another personnel change; Rosalind left the group and another former Velvelette stepped in, Sandra Tilley. By 1973, the group known for their twelve hits in four short years, had turned in their microphones, giving a farwell concert in Detroit at the end of the previous year.
Martha then began recording as a solo artist for MCA, Arista and later Fantasy records to which she received critical acclaim.
Currently, Martha continues to record and occassionally tours with her sisters, Lois and Delphine. At times, she also performs with Annette and Rosalind to the delight of their many fans.