Significant Songs (110)

(Love Is Like A) Heatwave

My liking for the sound of Tamla-Motown is no secret to any readers of this blog. From my first year at secondary school, through to today, I have always loved to be immersed in the magic of Motown. There are so many successful and enduring Motown stars and groups, I would need a whole new blog just to list them all, and to discuss their recordings. There have been a few Motown groups that I liked better than others, and Martha and The Vandellas feature high on that list.

Early Motown records arrived in the UK around 1963, and had an immediately recognisable sound, whoever featured on them. Whether it was the Four Tops, The Supremes, or any of the other amazing line-ups from the Tamla-Motown stable, it had obviously come from the team at Hitsville USA, in Detroit. This was perhaps the first one I ever heard that could claim to have introduced this distinctive style and sound, and my liking for it has never diminished.

From 1963 until 1972, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas provided fans like me with a string of hits to listen to. Some of the titles might sound familiar. Even if you are not a natural Motown fan, you may well know the cover versions; ‘Nowhere to run’, ‘Quicksand’, and ‘Dancing in the street’, to name but a few. They continued with some personnel changes, but when Martha Reeves wanted to embark on a solo career, and Motown intended to move operations to the west coast, the group split, with their last concert in December 1972.

Here is the group performing this song, in 1965. I couldn’t keep my feet still, fifty years later.

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21 thoughts on “Significant Songs (110)

  1. Who else have I seen? It’s a long enough list, but here are some. Edwin Starr (great), Solomon Burke, (annoying) Van Morrison, (disappointing live) David Bowie, (amazing) Madonna, (excellent).
    Amy Winehouse, at the start of her career, (brilliant) Kool and The Gang, (very good) The Isley Brothers, (marvellous) Lemar, (very good) Alexander O’Neal, (showy, but entertaining), Anita Baker, (professional, flawless).
    There were a lot of others, including many at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, but the best ever was Swing Out Sister, at the Jazz Cafe in Camden. Best live band I have ever seen, without doubt. Every song as good as the original version, and a lovely bunch of people into the bargain. xx

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    1. Thanks, Amy. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed the photos, and the blog too. I have never been to the USA, but I would have liked to visit Hitsville USA, in Detroit. Maybe one day…
      Best wishes from England. Pete.

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  2. Yes, Martha and the Vandellas! I adore Myra’s remix of “Dancing in the Streets,” called “Bailando en la Ciudad.” Instead of referencing New York City and Baltimore, it references Latin American cities like Caracas and Lima.

    Great blog post…come visit mine and comment on my latest post, it’s lonely…

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  3. Martha and the Vandellas’Heatwave and Dancing in the Street were two favorties of my grandmother who used to stand up and dance when you saw them on television. That was back in the mid-60s. At the time, my grandmother was 67. She loved their music. So did I.

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      1. She had a great time watching such television shows as Hullabaloo in the mid-60s and dancing to the music. I discovered this by accident and she swore me to secrecy. She didn’t want her children or grandchildren to know. She died in 1997 about nine months shy of her 100th birthday. In the last year of her life, she complained of boredom. She said there was nothing worth watching on television and that the newspapers contained “the same old stuff”.

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  4. Nice post Pete, I am also huge fan of Motown music πŸ™‚

    I saw The Four Tops live about six or seven years ago. The Temptations, The Three Degrees and The Drifters were also performing πŸ™‚ it was a huge one-off concert at the O2.

    It was the sons of the original members that made up the numbers where original members were no longer sadly available.

    When the Four Tops sung ‘Sugar, Pie, Honey Bunch’ I almost cried!!!!!!! (I think I did cry)

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      1. Really? You are older than I thought lol. Which I mean in a nice way πŸ™‚

        So who did you see, The Four Tops? They’re probably my personal faves, them and The Temptations. Though I prefer The Temptations ‘Psychedelic Shack’ stuff to the ‘My Girl’ stuff (though I do l like both!)
        xxx

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        1. Sorry, Em, my reply was confusing. I didn’t see them at the time, but was really into the music and the records. I did however see Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, and many other non-Motown soul performers, when I was around 15-16 years old. (I’m almost 64 now)

          I am less of a fan of the psychedelic period, and a bit of a traditionalist. My favourite Temptations song is ‘Get Ready’, but I prefer the Miracles, and some others, like The Elgins, and The Marvellettes. Also Brenda Holloway, and I could go on…blah-blah…and on…Motown…BLAH.
          Sorry to be a confusing old codger! xx

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          1. You’re not a confusing old codger! You’re a fantastic, not old, very un-confusing hip cat! (hope that’s okay?!)

            That’s brilliant, tell me some of the other people you saw?! Honestly I will appreciate it, I love music from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. In fact the only decade I don’t like much is…er….this one! And the one previous. I grew up with 90s music and still appreciate some of them but not as much as other decades.

            I thought you were early 60s. Almost 64 is young!

            Music is where I am an OAP too, in a good way!! My favourite singers are Sam Cooke and Roy Orbison πŸ™‚

            I love the song Get Ready by the way, and yes I sang the ‘get ready…’ bit as I typed that πŸ™‚

            BLAH back! πŸ™‚

            xxx

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