Photos

 

We Love Martha

Check out a Motown legend

  •  
    Martha is an American R&B and Pop singer and former politician, and was the lead singer of the Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas.
  •  
    After a performance at Twenty Grand Club, Reeves was spotted by Motown A&R director Mickey Stevenson, who gave the singer, who was then going by the unusual surname LaVaille as her stage name, his business card for a possible audition.
  •  
    By 1961, the Del-Phis had changed their name to The Vels. After recording what was initially a demo for the late Mary Wells, Motown offered the group a recording contract. Before they could sign, Gloria Williams opted to leave the group for a life as a public social worker. Choosing to remain a trio, the group changed their name to Martha and the Vandellas
  •  
    Reeves served as an elected councilwoman for the city of Detroit, Michigan
  •  
    During her tenure with The Vandellas, they scored over a dozen hit singles, including "Nowhere to Run", "Jimmy Mack", and their signature "Dancing In The Street".
  •  
    With her brassy and gospel-reared alto vocals, Martha Reeves helped Martha and the Vandellas ascend from background singers with early songs such as "Come and Get These Memories" and "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave" distinguishing the group from contemporaries and label mates The Marvelettes and The Supremes
  •  
    Despite their success, Martha and the Vandellas were overshadowed, as Motown focused its promotional muscle behind The Supremes and the group's lead singer, Diana Ross in particular
  •  
    Martha released her first solo album in 1974 for MCA
  •  
    In 1989, Martha, Rosalind Ashford, and Annette Beard filed a lawsuit against Motown Records for royalties on the group's records not received since 1972. The company reached a settlement with the women in 1991.