Vandella's Featured In Rolling Stone Apr 24, 2005 16:09:56 GMT -5
Post by Emerald City on Apr 24, 2005 16:09:56 GMT -5
96) Martha and the Vandellas
By Fred Schneider
The Vandellas never got the press that The Supremes did. Diana Ross was posh and glamorous, but Martha had an edge -- she was more soulful. Whether she was singing "Dancing in the Street" or "My Baby Loves Me" or "You've Been In Love Too Long," the accent was on the emotion. Singing in a church as a little girl, she learned how to really belt it out. She had the most powerful voice I'd ever heard -- she really cut through me.
"Dancing in the Street" is my favorite single of all time -- it just knocked me out as a kid walking around New Jersey with a transistor radio glued to my ear. It starts with a pounding drumroll, then the trumpets and then Martha's voice -- which is like a horn. The lyrics invite everybody to get together for the best dance party going, and I didn't even pick up on the deeper meaning -- that it was also a plea to stop the fighting during a time of riots. Martha could have been singing about sandwiches for all I cared.
That song made me a vinyl junkie: Any time a new Martha and the Vandellas record came out, I made my mother drive me to the A&P supermarket to get it. I couldn't find "Heat Wave," but I finagled it from a friend for fifty cents.
Those songs turned me into Mr. Party. At teen dances, everyone wanted to play slow music, and I was ready to bounce off the walls to uptempo soul. The B-52's are all party people -- we started out at a party in Athens, Georgia, to entertain our friends.
I first met Martha when she was performing in Atlanta in the Seventies. She gave me an autographed photo and was such a doll. Years later, we became friends, and she asked me to induct the Vandellas into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Whenever we play Detroit, I give her a call, and she brings her son and daughter-in-law and they hang out backstage. She's a dedicated Detroiter, unlike most of the Motown groups who've moved out. I live in New York now, and she called me after 9/11 to make sure I was OK. It's nice when your idol becomes your friend.
(From RS 972, April 21, 2005)