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  1. #101
    I agree that the Vandellas were there to provide vocal backup for Martha. she herself has stated that they were not a "group" like the Supremes or Temptations, with a shared artistic vision of what they wanted to pursue and convey. it's not to say that the Vandellas weren't talented or necessary. It's like in an orchestra - 99% of the time the primary melody is being played by something like the 1st Violins or the flutes or something. rarely is it the violas or the contrabassoon. Sure there are passage, or in some cases songs, where they carry it. But they provide the inner tones and melodies. Essential to the overall

    So this is very similar to Mary Wilson's comment about how all three of the Supremes were part of the whole (yes I'm mentioning the Sups, but only because mary has been quoted in many interviews discussing this). But they were also a group and (supposedly) partnering together on style, concepts to record, direction, etc. The Vandellas mostly just followed Martha's direction. Frankly from what I've heard, that's how things were with the DRATS and also once Scherrie joined the Sups. mary pretty much ran the group as she wanted in the later 70s

    one thing that's curious is how Motown approached the FEMALE backing vocals as being far more expendable than the male. or maybe I'm just not as familiar with the men's recordings. but no one really seemed to care if the backgrounds on Sup, Van or Marvelettes was by group members or not. so long as it was female voices. But did Smokey ever record the Miracles without the three guys? did the Temps do any without their members? perhaps some groups went after a bigger sound and had additional voices on top of theirs. But I find it interesting that Smokey never replaced Pete, Bobby or Roger but never thought twice about replacing Mary and Cindy or Kathryn and Ann/Gladys.

  2. #102
    AFAIK, the Miracles never had any other singer besides themselves in all of their songs with one obvious exception (Mickey's Monkey, which included MR&TV's in it) and the Temptations only used the Andantes once IIRC (It's Growing). And no one really knew the Four Tops prior to their Motown arrival so no one pitched a fit over the Andantes being used in their music.

    I read somewhere the way MR&TV's came together is after they reformed to sing with Marvin, Berry or Martha felt that Martha had the potential to be the next female star of Motown (while Mary Wells was still in Motown; and after Martha replaced her on I Have to Let Him Go, Berry decided to sign her) and she insisted her friends Annette, Roz and Gloria join her. I'm guessing the way the contract was set up (with Martha's name in front), Gloria felt some type of way since she had done leads when they were The Vels and decided to leave the music industry for good while Annette and Roz went along with it.

    So maybe that's why they seem unique in Motown groups in that they were only formed to help boost Martha and Martha only.

  3. #103
    @sup_fan, it's an interesting question. But I think it's partially answered by the fact that most pop records of the time have female backing vocals vs. male. And even the male groups like 4 Tops and the Tempts might still have a female backup group along with their own members. So I think in this, as well as in many other endeavors, the females were just viewed as more "expendable" or at least "interchangeable."

  4. #104
    In an effort to bring the thread back on topic, Betty and Roz do have brief solos on “Spellbound” from the L&F anthology of the same name (which after years of searching was finally able to secure at a decent price)! IMO, their vocals weren’t anything to write home about.

    I guess Berry and Co., figured it was less complicated to keep Martha out in front, rather than go through the hassle of putting Betty, Roz, and Annette through excessive vocal training. Not to mention the search for suitable material.

  5. #105

  6. #106
    It's interesting when you think about it, that Martha had her name in front of a group longer than anyone else at Motown that I can think of! I mean, it went from "Martha" to "Martha Reeves" but still, it was longer than Smokey or Diane, by several years, I daresay.

  7. #107
    ^ Martha & the Vandellas signed with Motown under that name in 1962.
    The Miracles changed their name to Smokey & the Miracles in 1965 (but the moniker wasn't official until 1966 on singles; they started calling them that on albums starting with Going to a Go-Go).
    The most popular group in this forum (lol) changed their name in 1967.

    So yeah, there you have it.

  8. #108
    Also, what's never brought up is in this forum is Martha was also the first front person of a group to sing songs WITHOUT their band mates.

    Like none of the Vandellas were on My Baby Loves Me, it was just Martha, the Four Tops and the Andantes, from 1966.

    Even with Spellbound, it was much more on in keeping with the background melody than being up front. Also Martha has one of the greatest voices in music history, I think that was another reason why the other girls didn't really "get their shine" so to speak. But maybe they were just comfortable just BEING in the background and never had issues or fights about singing leads on some songs because there was some SORT of understanding?

    But I guess we'll never know.

  9. #109
    @midnightman, so many intriguing questions. You know with all the folks on this forum who seem to know some of our Motown family, I wish we could do some interviews with some of these people. I know in the past several years, Darlene Love and other "backup" singers have received more credit, thanks to the recent film and other things. But I wish someone on SDF who has access to Rosalind, Betty, or others would do an interview and post it. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I knew any of them! Would be so interesting to ask for how they prepared, how much time they toured vs. recorded, how Martha (or Diane!) had so much time to record so many tracks, even if the backing vocals were prerecorded. So many things I'd love to know.

  10. #110
    I’ve chatted by email with Betty and Roz. You could probably reach them on Facebook. They seem quite friendly and open.

  11. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I’ve chatted by email with Betty and Roz. You could probably reach them on Facebook. They seem quite friendly and open.
    Wow, really? Thanks luke.

  12. #112
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @midnightman, so many intriguing questions. You know with all the folks on this forum who seem to know some of our Motown family, I wish we could do some interviews with some of these people. I know in the past several years, Darlene Love and other "backup" singers have received more credit, thanks to the recent film and other things. But I wish someone on SDF who has access to Rosalind, Betty, or others would do an interview and post it. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I knew any of them! Would be so interesting to ask for how they prepared, how much time they toured vs. recorded, how Martha (or Diane!) had so much time to record so many tracks, even if the backing vocals were prerecorded. So many things I'd love to know.
    That would be interesting for the original Vandellas to discuss this more. They could use YouTube as a platform to discuss things. It's been 50 plus years. It would be great for them to reveal what was going on behind the scenes. I know Betty probably can't do it but I hope Annette and Roz does soon. I know they did one interview with Thomas Meros (I think that's his name) but I hope they talk more about what went on behind the scenes, I'm real interested about that.

    I know Martha had talked about issues with Betty in her book (don't recall her saying she had issues with Annette and Roz but Roz WAS told to leave in '69 so who knows what was up with THAT!).

  13. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Also, what's never brought up is in this forum is Martha was also the first front person of a group to sing songs WITHOUT their band mates.

    Like none of the Vandellas were on My Baby Loves Me, it was just Martha, the Four Tops and the Andantes, from 1966.

    Even with Spellbound, it was much more on in keeping with the background melody than being up front. Also Martha has one of the greatest voices in music history, I think that was another reason why the other girls didn't really "get their shine" so to speak. But maybe they were just comfortable just BEING in the background and never had issues or fights about singing leads on some songs because there was some SORT of understanding?

    But I guess we'll never know.
    actually, Diana was the first front person of a group to sing songs without her band mates. There are songs on CW&P with and without them, Flo &Mary are not on the Stop! Single (per George and Andy) and the entire Christmas album has no Mary or Flo - in ‘65 so that’s at least a year earlier. To me, it’s of little consequence as I believe producers use the voices - lead, bg whatever - that they think will make the most profit for them and I respect their decisions even if I don’t always agree. I love The Andantes, but would have preferred Mary and Flo on most of Merry Christmas. I like their sound better, but sometimes it needs a boost for effect. They are more youthful and unique sounding. The Vandellas, on the other hand, have a plain, rather mundane sound to me; give me a The A’s anytime over them.

  14. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    actually, Diana was the first front person of a group to sing songs without her band mates. There are songs on CW&P with and without them, Flo &Mary are not on the Stop! Single (per George and Andy) and the entire Christmas album has no Mary or Flo - in ‘65 so that’s at least a year earlier. To me, it’s of little consequence as I believe producers use the voices - lead, bg whatever - that they think will make the most profit for them and I respect their decisions even if I don’t always agree. I love The Andantes, but would have preferred Mary and Flo on most of Merry Christmas. I like their sound better, but sometimes it needs a boost for effect. They are more youthful and unique sounding. The Vandellas, on the other hand, have a plain, rather mundane sound to me; give me a The A’s anytime over them.
    Actually F and M are on all of CwP it’s just that the andantes were added in addition. But there are no tracks without m and f. And I believe m and f are still on stop but the andantes were added and r higher in the mix and therefore more prominent.

    The first released Diana only track are the Christmas ones. Then on Symphony is Yesterday (solo) and any girl in love (w andantes). Then on a go go Boots is solo, YCHL is Mary and Marlene. Put yourself in my place is andantes and I think as is Come and get these memories

    On sing hdh andantes are added to Love Is Here and Going Down. I think it’s only andantes on there’s no stopping

  15. #115
    George and Andy said very clearly there were O N L Y Andantes on the Stop 45 mix. Louvain said she sang it with them, but she wasn’t aware there was a take without her. Someone here stated that there are a lot of C W tracks with The A’s - I believe it was Andy. Some are unrealeased - so far. Bottom line, Ross was the first front woman only.
    Last edited by TheMotownManiac; 03-11-2018 at 04:58 PM.

  16. #116
    FSR, I just don't believe Louvain...

    But I guess it builds on that myth...

    I thought we agreed not to discuss that group in this thread. (mad sideeyes LOL)

    NOTE: I'm only joking (halfway).

  17. #117
    Louvaine also said that Flo is on Stop! Not sure about Mary. If there's any group out of all the girl groups that used the Andantes to the extreme it was the marvelettes. I'd say they're on about 75% of their recordings.

  18. #118
    As I recall George indicated Andantes MAY be on Stop in the name of Love WITH Mary and Flo.

  19. #119
    This is steering off topic again lol

  20. #120
    If gifs were allowed, I'd bring a gif of someone looking sideways at some posters... lol

    My warning fell on deaf ears. WHY! LOL

  21. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Louvaine also said that Flo is on Stop! Not sure about Mary. If there's any group out of all the girl groups that used the Andantes to the extreme it was the marvelettes. I'd say they're on about 75% of their recordings.
    The early Marvelettes songs until the pink album are without the andantes, maybe first songs were "Don´t mess with bill" and "Danger"

    On the other hand The Vandellas uses the Andantes very often too, on all the albums "Sugar´n´spiece", "Natural", "Black magic" and on "Watchout" too, so I think one of the last really Vandellas album could be "Dance Party" and it was 1964.

    I can´t believe that Motown uses only the Andantes for Supremes Hits before 1967, because the group was the best selling female vocal group, I think they added The Andantes

  22. #122
    Quote Originally Posted by jboy88 View Post

    I guess Berry and Co., figured it was less complicated to keep Martha out in front, rather than go through the hassle of putting Betty, Roz, and Annette through excessive vocal training. Not to mention the search for suitable material.
    Or Berry and Co. thought of Rosalind, Annette, and later Betty, as nothing more than background singers to Martha Reeves. I think the truth is that they weren't viewed as a traditional group the way the other groups at the label were seen and thus their story is slightly different.

  23. #123
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    actually, Diana was the first front person of a group to sing songs without her band mates. There are songs on CW&P with and without them, Flo &Mary are not on the Stop! Single (per George and Andy) and the entire Christmas album has no Mary or Flo - in ‘65 so that’s at least a year earlier. To me, it’s of little consequence as I believe producers use the voices - lead, bg whatever - that they think will make the most profit for them and I respect their decisions even if I don’t always agree. I love The Andantes, but would have preferred Mary and Flo on most of Merry Christmas. I like their sound better, but sometimes it needs a boost for effect. They are more youthful and unique sounding. The Vandellas, on the other hand, have a plain, rather mundane sound to me; give me a The A’s anytime over them.
    Sorry Midnight, but if no one else is going to adhere to your no Supremes rule in this thread then I refuse to be bound by it as well. You can meet me out back if it's that serious though.

    Maniac, I'm assuming from the various posts that appear in regards to Flo and Mary's participation in the "Stop!" single that the issue is debatable. Personally I think it's possible Flo and Mary aren't there and also possible that they are. It's not one of my favorites anyway, so I really don't care. However, Flo and Mary are on every cut during the C&W sessions except "Baby Doll", which was a late addition to the album, recorded during the 1964 sessions for the album, not the early 1963 sessions. Every other cut is Diana, Florence and Mary, some cuts just the three of them, other cuts with other voices "added" in (and I don't know if anyone has ever confirmed that those additional voices belong to the Andantes).

    Seems to me that Midnight's declaration of Martha being the first of the lead singers to do a song without official group members is almost correct. To my ears there isn't a Vandella to be found on "To Think You'd Hurt Me" which was recorded in either late 62 or early 63 and obviously intended for some kind of release. However, there is a demo version of "I Want a Guy" with only Diana Ross on the recording. This might qualify her for having the title, but with the song obviously never being intended for release, probably shouldn't count.

  24. #124
    Quote Originally Posted by Fullfillingnessfirstfinale View Post
    I can´t believe that Motown uses only the Andantes for Supremes Hits before 1967, because the group was the best selling female vocal group, I think they added The Andantes
    When it came to the Supremes, HDH seemed to overwhelmingly favor Flo and Mary on their recordings rather than the Andantes, which makes the scenario of no Flo and Mary on "Stop" a little surprising, if that's indeed the case.

  25. #125
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Sorry Midnight, but if no one else is going to adhere to your no Supremes rule in this thread then I refuse to be bound by it as well. You can meet me out back if it's that serious though.

    Maniac, I'm assuming from the various posts that appear in regards to Flo and Mary's participation in the "Stop!" single that the issue is debatable. Personally I think it's possible Flo and Mary aren't there and also possible that they are. It's not one of my favorites anyway, so I really don't care. However, Flo and Mary are on every cut during the C&W sessions except "Baby Doll", which was a late addition to the album, recorded during the 1964 sessions for the album, not the early 1963 sessions. Every other cut is Diana, Florence and Mary, some cuts just the three of them, other cuts with other voices "added" in (and I don't know if anyone has ever confirmed that those additional voices belong to the Andantes).

    Seems to me that Midnight's declaration of Martha being the first of the lead singers to do a song without official group members is almost correct. To my ears there isn't a Vandella to be found on "To Think You'd Hurt Me" which was recorded in either late 62 or early 63 and obviously intended for some kind of release. However, there is a demo version of "I Want a Guy" with only Diana Ross on the recording. This might qualify her for having the title, but with the song obviously never being intended for release, probably shouldn't count.
    i'm pretty sure that's Flo and Mary on Baby Doll, sure sounds like Flo when they hit that high note and her vibrato. Now there might be more Andantes than M and F but i think they're on it. Also on the "Walking, Walking, Walking" part it sounds like them too.

    As for that alt version of I Want A Guy, i'm wondering if it's simply incomplete or a demo. i'm assuming at that point in time they were doing different tracks for leads and backgrounds.

  26. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i'm pretty sure that's Flo and Mary on Baby Doll, sure sounds like Flo when they hit that high note and her vibrato. Now there might be more Andantes than M and F but i think they're on it. Also on the "Walking, Walking, Walking" part it sounds like them too.
    I just listened to it, which for the record I'm mad about because I hate that song. Lol Here's my new assessment: after Diana begins the song singing "Oh baby doll, ooh baby doll, he's my baby doll", those "oohs" you hear sound like they may very well belong to Flo and Mary. But when Diana sings "you know I'm gonna love him forever", those oohs suddenly become Andantes and the Andantes are the only ones singing background (including "walking, walking, walking", though I will admit that there's a chance the "walking" is Flo and Mary) for the rest of the song until the very end when the Andantes do those very high "baby doll" repeats and it sounds like Flo and Mary return for the toned down "baby doll" repeats.

    So I'll amend my initial declaration to include that "Baby Doll" is mostly the Andantes, thus concluding that Flo and Mary are indeed on every cut on the C&W album.

    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    As for that alt version of I Want A Guy, i'm wondering if it's simply incomplete or a demo. i'm assuming at that point in time they were doing different tracks for leads and backgrounds.
    I think it's a demo. I'm under the impression that during those early days of 1960-62, the leads and backgrounds were recorded together, not separately. Plus the musical accompaniment is so stripped down. I think Gordy was trying to get an idea of what the song might shape up to be.

  27. #127
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Or Berry and Co. thought of Rosalind, Annette, and later Betty, as nothing more than background singers to Martha Reeves. I think the truth is that they weren't viewed as a traditional group the way the other groups at the label were seen and thus their story is slightly different.
    It does seem that way. The Marvelettes, Miracles, the most famous group in the world (lol), the Temptations and the Four Tops were all tight with a plan in place when they joined Motown.

    Martha and the Vandellas is probably the ONE group in that label of that era that you can say Berry actually put together in MOTOWN.

  28. #128
    based on the various Motown history books, Berry was desperately in search of the "elusive female star." one that could appeal to black and white audiences, be mistress of ceremonies, cover all genres of music, etc etc. He tried to sign Freda Payne, was having some success with Mary Wells. perhaps he was experimenting and wanted to keep exploring who that perfect fit would be. berry has said that he always loved Martha's soulfulness and how she put everything into her singing.

    not to be crude but maybe Berry sort of saw the women at Motown as a buffet lol. sample the talents of this one, that one, try another dish. see which really fit most perfectly with his dream of cross-over success.

    People have theorized what might have happened had Mary stayed with Motown. would the Sups and Diana still have gotten the push? I think so. I think berry was exploding options and Martha was another one. he saw many things in her that he liked. but then also saw that she was quite opinionated and not as pliable as he might have liked. so she was one of his many choices. the Vandellas were just along for the ride.

  29. #129
    I think this was discussed when Martha had her Headliners and Legends special.

    Martha was so determined to be a star that like many music-minded Detroit residents of that era that she would've done anything. I think when she first started, she wanted to be a Della Reese-like artist?

    But since there were no solo female stars (at that time) to emerge from Detroit (well until Aretha later that year proved everyone wrong after signing with Columbia and initially became a nightclub star prior to her artistic breakthrough with Atlantic in the late '60s), they had to join groups.

    And we know Martha was William Stevenson's secretary only because Martha showed up to an audition earlier than she was supposed to (that's how hungry she was lmao).

    As Martha tells it, she was called to do session work for Marvin and she got her friends (her story lol) Annette, Roz and Gloria on there since they had done session work in the past for other Detroit artists in different labels (not to mention cutting their own records as the Vels). Berry loved them together and told them to be a group.

    I'm forgetting what they said on H&L that made the former Vels to Martha and the Vandellas (because they weren't a group anymore when Martha called them to do Stubborn Kind of Fellow) but that led Gloria out and Annette and Roz went along because Berry figured Martha was the next one after Mary and Mary by then had blown up with The One Who Really Loves You, You Beat Me to the Punch and Two Lovers (MW sold more records in Motown at the time than Marvin, the Marvelettes and the Miracles at the time).

    Mary leaving Motown opening door to the "famous group in the entire world not named the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or the Beach Boys" (lol) is a myth since they were already on the rise when Mary left.

    BUT you can argue Mary cutting out of a studio session to record I Have to Let Him Go led to the rise of Martha even if it wasn't a hit.

    But yeah, Martha was pretty much someone who knew what she wanted and she wasn't gonna let a man tell her what to do. Mary Wells was the same way.

  30. #130
    I am sometimes a bit surprised Rosalind didn't at least get a small feature over her years in the group, like a duet with Martha or something. She was the most consistent Vandella, though us die hard fans probably are the only ones who realized it.

    I wish there was more footage of the original line up out there. They had such a great sound and presentation, it's a shame it ended so quickly. Annette had a strong alto and when she left the group's sound suffered. Like when Flo left the Supremes...just kidding! Just kidding...

    Seriously though, I always thought Betty and Rosalind weren't in sync with each other often and their harmony wasn't so tight which is why a male singer was often in the background with them on the recordings to balance the sound out.

  31. #131
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Sorry Midnight, but if no one else is going to adhere to your no Supremes rule in this thread then I refuse to be bound by it as well. You can meet me out back if it's that serious though.

    Maniac, I'm assuming from the various posts that appear in regards to Flo and Mary's participation in the "Stop!" single that the issue is debatable. Personally I think it's possible Flo and Mary aren't there and also possible that they are. It's not one of my favorites anyway, so I really don't care. However, Flo and Mary are on every cut during the C&W sessions except "Baby Doll", which was a late addition to the album, recorded during the 1964 sessions for the album, not the early 1963 sessions. Every other cut is Diana, Florence and Mary, some cuts just the three of them, other cuts with other voices "added" in (and I don't know if anyone has ever confirmed that those additional voices belong to the Andantes).

    Seems to me that Midnight's declaration of Martha being the first of the lead singers to do a song without official group members is almost correct. To my ears there isn't a Vandella to be found on "To Think You'd Hurt Me" which was recorded in either late 62 or early 63 and obviously intended for some kind of release. However, there is a demo version of "I Want a Guy" with only Diana Ross on the recording. This might qualify her for having the title, but with the song obviously never being intended for release, probably shouldn't count.
    andy and George were quite clear it was only Andantes on the 45 mix and that Mary and Flo were added for the Stereo mix of the album. It’s my least fave of the #1s, so I don’t care either, but I appreciate and trust George and Andy 100% a few members had catatonic fits and threw shade for days over it, but it doesn’t change what is.

    I ‘I hear Andantes in Back In My Arms Again and others including CW&P, but it’s conjecture. A&G are, to me, proof of Stop. I do find it fascinating who got used where and why. I heard that there are a lot of tracks from CW&P in the can with only Andantes.......so that’s interesting.

    i don’t consider To Think You’d Hurt Me as counting as it was not released and we have no idea what the final result would have been.

  32. #132
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    I am sometimes a bit surprised Rosalind didn't at least get a small feature over her years in the group, like a duet with Martha or something. She was the most consistent Vandella, though us die hard fans probably are the only ones who realized it.

    I wish there was more footage of the original line up out there. They had such a great sound and presentation, it's a shame it ended so quickly. Annette had a strong alto and when she left the group's sound suffered. Like when Flo left the Supremes...just kidding! Just kidding...

    Seriously though, I always thought Betty and Rosalind weren't in sync with each other often and their harmony wasn't so tight which is why a male singer was often in the background with them on the recordings to balance the sound out.
    Weren't there rumors Betty only replaced Annette because they favored each other?

  33. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Weren't there rumors Betty only replaced Annette because they favored each other?
    No! Betty replaced Annette because she had gotten pregnant.

  34. #134
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    andy and George were quite clear it was only Andantes on the 45 mix and that Mary and Flo were added for the Stereo mix of the album. It’s my least fave of the #1s, so I don’t care either, but I appreciate and trust George and Andy 100% a few members had catatonic fits and threw shade for days over it, but it doesn’t change what is.

    I ‘I hear Andantes in Back In My Arms Again and others including CW&P, but it’s conjecture. A&G are, to me, proof of Stop. I do find it fascinating who got used where and why. I heard that there are a lot of tracks from CW&P in the can with only Andantes.......so that’s interesting.

    i don’t consider To Think You’d Hurt Me as counting as it was not released and we have no idea what the final result would have been.
    I don't hear anyone other than Flo and Mary on "Back". Take a listen to this Funk Bros/Flo/Mary only "Back In My Arms Again" and tell me if you hear more than two voices.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOKO3BkDm3s

    As for C&W, I was under the impression that we had gotten all of the session cuts, but it would be interesting to know that there are vaulted versions of the songs with just Diana and the Andantes.

    "To Think You Would Hurt Me" was completed and released in 1963 on Martha and the Vandellas' first album. "I Want a Guy" demo was the one that was never released (or intended for release). Did you mix them up?

  35. #135
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Weren't there rumors Betty only replaced Annette because they favored each other?
    Doubtful as I don't think either woman looks anything alike.

  36. #136
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Weren't there rumors Betty only replaced Annette because they favored each other?
    Yes that is true, in fact Martha even writes about it in her book but she says that she did not choose Betty for that reason when it came down to it. However I don't see the resemblance between the two at all.

  37. #137
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Weren't there rumors Betty only replaced Annette because they favored each other?
    In one of the early books about Motown, maybe it was Benjaminson's, Cindy Birdsong was referred to as a "Flo lookalike." I never thought they looked anything alike though physically they were similar in height/figure I think. As if hardcore fans who knew the backup singers well would ever be fooled anyway...!

  38. #138
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Yes that is true, in fact Martha even writes about it in her book but she says that she did not choose Betty for that reason when it came down to it. However I don't see the resemblance between the two at all.
    It's been eons since I read Martha's book so this factoid escaped me. For the life of me I don't get how anyone could see a resemblance between the two.

  39. #139
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    No! Betty replaced Annette because she had gotten pregnant.
    I know that part! I'm just wondering if they just found Betty because she didn't look too different from Annette? There's always another reason, Marv.

  40. #140
    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Yes that is true, in fact Martha even writes about it in her book but she says that she did not choose Betty for that reason when it came down to it. However I don't see the resemblance between the two at all.
    How was she picked? I don't have her book so that's why I ask.

  41. #141
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    In one of the early books about Motown, maybe it was Benjaminson's, Cindy Birdsong was referred to as a "Flo lookalike." I never thought they looked anything alike though physically they were similar in height/figure I think. As if hardcore fans who knew the backup singers well would ever be fooled anyway...!
    Cindy has always been referred to as a Flo lookalike. When you look at their faces, clearly they are two different women with different facial features. But they had a similar body type and shape and complexion. I think Gordy wanted to make sure that the transition from Florence to a new girl as it related to the physical appearance of the group was as smooth as possible. He never would have gotten Sarah Dash to take Flo's place, despite Sarah being the stronger singer between she and Cindy. That kind of physical change would have been too in your face.

  42. #142
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I know that part! I'm just wondering if they just found Betty because she didn't look too different from Annette? There's always another reason, Marv.
    I know both of them. They do not look anything alike. They are not even the same height. .

  43. #143
    Betty Kelly was already friends with Martha & Roz and she could wear Annettes' stage clothes with little adjustment. I think all the groups records sounded the best when it was the actual groups on the record. I don't like "perfection", I like "real". So what if the Marvelettes were not "harmonius" they were real & GREAT LIVE, and to me LIVE is where it counts. Motown was a business & they wanted those groups on the road making money, that's why around '66 they only wanted to fly the lead singer back to Detroit to record. They had flown Martha Roz & Annette back for the Heatwave LP, as they were really out there continually on the road at that time.

  44. #144
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    Betty Kelly was already friends with Martha & Roz and she could wear Annettes' stage clothes with little adjustment. I think all the groups records sounded the best when it was the actual groups on the record. I don't like "perfection", I like "real". So what if the Marvelettes were not "harmonius" they were real & GREAT LIVE, and to me LIVE is where it counts. Motown was a business & they wanted those groups on the road making money, that's why around '66 they only wanted to fly the lead singer back to Detroit to record. They had flown Martha Roz & Annette back for the Heatwave LP, as they were really out there continually on the road at that time.
    If one doesn't care about harmony then a "so what" in regards to a group that wasn't good at it makes sense. However, I am a huge fan of vocal group harmonies- which is why I love doowop so much- so the fact that the Marvelettes sound to me as if they lag behind their labelmates is a point worth pointing out. I'm sure Motown loved the fact that the Marvelettes were crowd pleasers, but don't get it twisted, Motown loved record selling even more.

  45. #145
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    based on the various Motown history books, Berry was desperately in search of the "elusive female star." one that could appeal to black and white audiences, be mistress of ceremonies, cover all genres of music, etc etc. He tried to sign Freda Payne, was having some success with Mary Wells. perhaps he was experimenting and wanted to keep exploring who that perfect fit would be. berry has said that he always loved Martha's soulfulness and how she put everything into her singing.

    not to be crude but maybe Berry sort of saw the women at Motown as a buffet lol. sample the talents of this one, that one, try another dish. see which really fit most perfectly with his dream of cross-over success.

    People have theorized what might have happened had Mary stayed with Motown. would the Sups and Diana still have gotten the push? I think so. I think berry was exploding options and Martha was another one. he saw many things in her that he liked. but then also saw that she was quite opinionated and not as pliable as he might have liked. so she was one of his many choices. the Vandellas were just along for the ride.
    i don’t think Berry ever thought of Martha as his cross-over possibility. Her voice was too soulful, she had no stage presence or real style and with the better distribution in 1963 for albums, she sold very poorly with her first two, and not impressive with her others. General audiences were not responding to her sound enough to buy an album. Queen Mary, on the other hand, went top 50 with her Two Lovers album, while Heat Wave peaked at 125. I think Berry would still have worked with Queen Mary while working the same as he did with The Supremes. Once the WDOLG album took off out if the gate, and Liverpool outselling everything else on the label, he knew he had found his person. Mary, great as she was, didn’t have ‘it’

    Martha certainly developed into an entertainer, but she was quite plain for years. That Ed Sullivan clip and Ready Steady Go pretty much tell the story. She could always sing, however - and how!
    Last edited by TheMotownManiac; 03-13-2018 at 03:31 PM.

  46. #146
    Diana and Martha professionally lived on different sides of the tracks. (They still do.). It was obvious to Berry and everyone else.
    Last edited by Circa 1824; 03-13-2018 at 04:32 PM.

  47. #147
    LOL, Motown did NOT promote the Supremes until it was factual that Mary Wells had left the company. Rock N Roll albums did not sell well (besides Elvis, Ricky Nelson ect) until 1964 and the Beatles. 45's were KING and the backbone of the Rock/Soul Music Business. Ask anybody that worked at Motown in early 60's, Diana Ross wanted to be Mary Wells.Next to Mary, Martha was the best female singer they had. An like Mary Wells, Martha Reeves ALWAYS (at Motown) knew how to work a stage and had great rappor & charisma all before Mrs. Powell came on board.
    Last edited by motony; 03-13-2018 at 04:43 PM.

  48. #148
    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post
    i don’t think Berry ever thought of Martha as his cross-over possibility. Her voice was too soulful, she had no stage presence or real style and with the better distribution in 1963 for albums, she sold very poorly with her first two, and not impressive with her others. General audiences were not responding to her sound enough to buy an album. Queen Mary, on the other hand, went top 50 with her Two Lovers album, while Heat Wave peaked at 125. I think Berry would still have worked with Queen Mary while working the same as he did with The Supremes. Once the WDOLG album took off out if the gate, and Liverpool outselling everything else on the label, he knew he had found his person. Mary, great as she was, didn’t have ‘it’

    Martha certainly developed into an entertainer, but she was quite plain for years. That Ed Sullivan clip and Ready Steady Go pretty much tell the story. She could always sing, however - and how!
    I agree here. Martha is great on record, vocally great live, but watching her perform she just didn't have the performance personality. Personally I don't think Mary Wells had it either, but vocally there was something there that Gordy thought could help him reach the other side. Diana, Brenda, Wanda, Gladys K, I think this is where he should have placed his bets.

  49. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    LOL, Motown did NOT promote the Supremes until it was factual that Mary Wells had left the company. Rock N Roll albums did not sell well (besides Elvis, Ricky Nelson ect) until 1964 and the Beatles. 45's were KING and the backbone of the Rock/Soul Music Business. Ask anybody that worked at Motown in early 60's, Diana Ross wanted to be Mary Wells.Next to Mary, Martha was the best female singer they had. An like Mary Wells, Martha Reeves ALWAYS (at Motown) knew how to work a stage and had great rappor & charisma all before Mrs. Powell came on board.
    Motown had been promoting the Supremes since they signed to the label in 1961. Mary Wells leaving or staying wasn't going to have any bearing on them reaching their destiny. The public heard "Where Did Our Love Go", loved it and the rest is history. They were destined to be stars, just like the Temptations, and Gordy knew it, that's why he kept both groups on the roster despite years worth of records that didn't knock the public out.

  50. #150
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    Betty Kelly was already friends with Martha & Roz and she could wear Annettes' stage clothes with little adjustment. I think all the groups records sounded the best when it was the actual groups on the record. I don't like "perfection", I like "real". So what if the Marvelettes were not "harmonius" they were real & GREAT LIVE, and to me LIVE is where it counts. Motown was a business & they wanted those groups on the road making money, that's why around '66 they only wanted to fly the lead singer back to Detroit to record. They had flown Martha Roz & Annette back for the Heatwave LP, as they were really out there continually on the road at that time.
    Thanks. Makes perfect sense. I had to look at pics of Annette and Betty and y'all are right, they looked nothing alike.

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