Martha Reeves got her start in showbiz at an early age. With a voice that bore the righteous fervor of gospel and the flinty edginess of rhythm & blues, she was bringing down the house at clubs around Detroit when she was discovered by Motown’s Repertoire Director Mickey Stevenson. Reeves had just won a talent competition at Detroit’s fabled Twenty Grand Club, after which Stevenson invited her to audition for his label. The audition never happened, but within a year, Reeves (then Martha Lavaille) was working in the company’s A&R department . Thanks to a recording session where the scheduled artist Mary Wells failed to show up, Martha got her shot to step in and record.
Martha’s backing group, originally known as the Del Phi’s, adopted the moniker The Vandellas after combining Detroit’s Van Dyke Street with the first name of a favorite singer, Della Reese. Within the year, they were a national sensation, defining the landscape of Motown and securing their place in music history.
During their nine-year run on the charts from 1963 to 1972, Martha and the Vandellas charted over twenty-six hits and recorded in the styles of doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and roll and soul. Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart, including two R&B number ones. The group’s string of hits include “Heat Wave,” “Quicksand,” “In My Lonely Room,” “Nowhere to Run,” “My Baby Loves Me,”, “Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things,” “I’m Ready For Love,” “Jimmy Mack,” and, of course, the Motown anthem, “Dancing In The Street.” They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and have been named #96 in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Don’t miss your chance to see one of Detroit’s original legends of Motown as they rock the streets of Ann Arbor. http://soniclunch.com/sonic-artists/martha-reeves/