Singles & EPs
About Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Known for hits like “Dancing in the Street” and “Heat Wave,” the R&B vocal group Martha Reeves & The Vandellas helped to define the Motown sound of the 1960s. • The singers that would become Martha and the Vandellas got their start in Detroit in the late ’50s under the name The Del-Phis. In 1961, they released the single “I’ll Let You Know” on Check-Mate Records, a subsidiary of the Chicago label Chess. • In 1961, Martha Reeves landed a job as a secretary at Motown. Before long, Reeves and Del-Phis bandmates Annette Sterling and Gloria Williamson were singing background on records by Marvin Gaye. • Reeves claims to have named the group The Vandellas after Van Dyke Street in Detroit and singer-actress Della Reese, her idol. • Martha and the Vandellas scored a No. 6 R&B hit with their second single, 1963’s “Come and Get These Memories.” • The group soon found success working with the songwriting/production team Holland-Dozier-Holland, who crafted their 1963 smash “Heat Wave.” With its famous call-and-response vocals, the single topped the R&B chart and reached No. 4 on pop. “Heat Wave” also earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Recording. • “Dancing in the Street,” their signature song, arrived in 1964. Written by Marvin Gaye, Ivy Joe Hunter, and Mickey Stevenson, the track became something of a civil rights anthem and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100—the highest pop placement of the group’s career. • The band notched three more Top 10 pop hits—“Nowhere to Run,” “I’m Ready for Love,” and “Jimmie Mack”—before splitting up in 1972. • Reeves released a string of solo albums in the ’70s and eventually rebooted The Vandellas for tours in the ’90s. She was on the Detroit City Council from 2005 to 2009.
- Detroit, MI, United States