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  1. #1

    Supremes vs Martha & Vandellas Music Discussion

    The Supremes are obviously the Queens of Motown, but pretty much during the same time that the Flo years were seeing the Supremes take the world by storm, Martha and the girls weren't slouching in the popularity department. Dare I say these two groups of women were #1 and #2 of biggest female groups in the 1960s. (The Supremes position is indisputable, but can anyone make an argument for a female group second to the Supremes but more popular than the Vandellas?)

    While both groups had the bulk of their success under the penmanship of HDH, they were both pretty different groups. Martha and the Vandellas definitely had a more soul approach to their material, while the Supremes had a more pop approach. The similarities I think are that both groups were good at switching up the approach. Martha and Diana as vocalists were very different singers, but both great interpreters. Rosalind and Annette had the best blend of Vandellas IMO. Their voices really complimented one another. They had a great sound that I think was well suited for the harder stuff they recorded like "Heat Wave" and "Live Wire". Flo and Mary IMO weren't as energetic vocally but they had more personality and were more versatile than any of the Vandellas.

    Still both were great groups and there are certainly occasions where the two groups covered one another (or recorded the same songs) to various degrees of likes and dislikes. My question to Supremes fans is this: Are there any Martha and the Vandellas songs you hear and wish the Supremes had recorded? And what do you think of the songs recorded by both groups?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    The Supremes are obviously the Queens of Motown, but pretty much during the same time that the Flo years were seeing the Supremes take the world by storm, Martha and the girls weren't slouching in the popularity department. Dare I say these two groups of women were #1 and #2 of biggest female groups in the 1960s. (The Supremes position is indisputable, but can anyone make an argument for a female group second to the Supremes but more popular than the Vandellas?)

    While both groups had the bulk of their success under the penmanship of HDH, they were both pretty different groups. Martha and the Vandellas definitely had a more soul approach to their material, while the Supremes had a more pop approach. The similarities I think are that both groups were good at switching up the approach. Martha and Diana as vocalists were very different singers, but both great interpreters. Rosalind and Annette had the best blend of Vandellas IMO. Their voices really complimented one another. They had a great sound that I think was well suited for the harder stuff they recorded like "Heat Wave" and "Live Wire". Flo and Mary IMO weren't as energetic vocally but they had more personality and were more versatile than any of the Vandellas.

    Still both were great groups and there are certainly occasions where the two groups covered one another (or recorded the same songs) to various degrees of likes and dislikes. My question to Supremes fans is this: Are there any Martha and the Vandellas songs you hear and wish the Supremes had recorded? And what do you think of the songs recorded by both groups?
    Yes the original V’s had the perfect blend. I saw Martha and the original V in 1991at a small club in Pontiac Mich. I bel at the Metro Music Awards show. The live backgrounds were so perfect they sounded like the original recordings. Martha was sick that night and got outta there as fast as she could. The filthy mouthed MC didn’t help. She was pissed. Adding insult to injury, Roz had me write Martha’s name on the name tag that simply had the Vandellas written on it. Good thing Martha didn’t see that one!

  3. #3
    i wonder if Ready For Love would have worked well for the Sups. the intro is very similar to You Can't Hurry Love but seems to have the angst/edge of You keep Me Hangin On. IMO RFL sounds like the child of YCHL and YKMHO

    As for the Vandellas - i'd love to hear martha and group on Going Down For Third Time. Also wonder if they might have done better with Run Run Run. The sups did well with Lovelight but not so much the follow up. perhaps those two songs would have fit MATV better

  4. #4
    Heat Wave was a covers LP....they did a nice job of covering the hits there...even Danke Schoen is enjoyable and wistful.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    The Supremes are obviously the Queens of Motown, but pretty much during the same time that the Flo years were seeing the Supremes take the world by storm, Martha and the girls weren't slouching in the popularity department. Dare I say these two groups of women were #1 and #2 of biggest female groups in the 1960s. (The Supremes position is indisputable, but can anyone make an argument for a female group second to the Supremes but more popular than the Vandellas?)

    While both groups had the bulk of their success under the penmanship of HDH, they were both pretty different groups. Martha and the Vandellas definitely had a more soul approach to their material, while the Supremes had a more pop approach. both were great groups and there are certainly occasions where the two groups covered one another (or recorded the same songs) to various degrees of likes and dislikes. My question to Supremes fans is this: Are there any Martha and the Vandellas songs you hear and wish the Supremes had recorded? And what do you think of the songs recorded by both groups?
    The Supremes were not only the top female recording artists of the 60's period but were also arguably the top American pop group of the 60's. (Inarguably among the top five 60's pop acts, male or female, group or solo). Martha & the Vandellas were definitely second to the Supremes from 1964-1967.But I think the Shirelles were overall the second biggest female or "girl" group of the decade.
    As for their music and singing, I say Vive le Difference!! Girl Groups is one of my favorite pop genres, and I love almost all of them.
    I would love to hear the Supremes do I'm Ready for Love, One Way Out, I'm In Love (And I Know It), A Love Like Yours, and a stronger performance of In My Lonely Room than the one on the Expanded Go-Go album. I know Black Magic was supposed to originally be a Diana Ross project, so I'm wondering how Ross would take on No One There, Bless You, Tear It On Down and (I've Given You) The Best Years of My Life.
    I'm not crazy about Supremes versions of Heat Wave or Come & Get These Memories, so I don't think they should even try Nowhere to Run, Dancing In the Streets or Live Wire.
    I have to think about a Martha Reeves take on the Supremes, but definitely Run, Run, Run and Going Down For the Third Time.
    Last edited by lucky2012; 04-23-2019 at 06:10 PM.

  6. #6
    The Vandellas had vocal power, the Supremes were better at the harmonies. Diana and Martha were very distinctive leaders. Roz and Annette were like Martha's sister girls compared to the sassy streetwise backup of Flo and Mary. They were both pretty powerful groups.

  7. #7
    I wonder how Martha and the Vandellas would have done on “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart?” It’s got the power and drive of “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand."

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    I wonder how Martha and the Vandellas would have done on “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart?” It’s got the power and drive of “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand."
    I've often thought the Tops could tear up LILAIIMH.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    I wonder how Martha and the Vandellas would have done on “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart?” It’s got the power and drive of “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand."
    It would've definitely fit them. I can hear Martha belting it out!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i wonder if Ready For Love would have worked well for the Sups. the intro is very similar to You Can't Hurry Love but seems to have the angst/edge of You keep Me Hangin On. IMO RFL sounds like the child of YCHL and YKMHO

    As for the Vandellas - i'd love to hear martha and group on Going Down For Third Time. Also wonder if they might have done better with Run Run Run. The sups did well with Lovelight but not so much the follow up. perhaps those two songs would have fit MATV better
    Agree 100 percent. "I'm Ready for Love" is probably my favorite Martha and the Vandellas single, if not fav M&V song period and I think it would've fit the Supremes perfectly. It definitely fits right in with "Hurry" and "Hangin". Likewise "Third Time" and "Run" seem like perfect fits for Martha and the V's. I thought I read somewhere many years ago that Martha and the V's had an unreleased version of "Third Time". I wonder how true that is.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    The Supremes were not only the top female recording artists of the 60's period but were also arguably the top American pop group of the 60's. (Inarguably among the top five 60's pop acts, male or female, group or solo). Martha & the Vandellas were definitely second to the Supremes from 1964-1967.But I think the Shirelles were overall the second biggest female or "girl" group of the decade.
    As for their music and singing, I say Vive le Difference!! Girl Groups is one of my favorite pop genres, and I love almost all of them.
    I would love to hear the Supremes do I'm Ready for Love, One Way Out, I'm In Love (And I Know It), A Love Like Yours, and a stronger performance of In My Lonely Room than the one on the Expanded Go-Go album. I know Black Magic was supposed to originally be a Diana Ross project, so I'm wondering how Ross would take on No One There, Bless You, Tear It On Down and (I've Given You) The Best Years of My Life.
    I'm not crazy about Supremes versions of Heat Wave or Come & Get These Memories, so I don't think they should even try Nowhere to Run, Dancing In the Streets or Live Wire.
    I have to think about a Martha Reeves take on the Supremes, but definitely Run, Run, Run and Going Down For the Third Time.
    I think one of the booklets (A Go Go?) says that "One Way Out" was originally cut on the Supremes but the vocals were erased. I wonder if the technology exists for recovering "erased" audio on tape.

    "I'm In Love and I Know It" is another all time fav of mine. Yes I could hear Diana on that one. I would've loved to hear Mary take the lead on "A Love Like Yours". I can hear Diana on "No One There" but as much as I LOVE "Bless You", I can't hear her doing that one.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by mowest View Post
    I wonder how Martha and the Vandellas would have done on “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart?” It’s got the power and drive of “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand."
    Great example. I could hear Martha tearing "Itchin" up.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    I've often thought the Tops could tear up LILAIIMH.
    Never thought about that! Yes, I could hear Levi killing it!

  14. #14
    I've mostly been disappointed by the songs the Supremes recorded that Martha and the V's did first. "In My Lonely Room" was a huge disappointment. Even before I heard the Supremes' version I always thought "Lonely Room" would've been perfect for them but the first version released both the lead and background vocals seemed buried in the mix. And though it sounded like the Supremes cut their vocals over the same basic track as Martha and the V's, there's something missing on the track that was present on Martha's and it leaves the Supremes' track sounding weak. The A Go Go expanded version gave it new life. The vocals are no longer buried and the mix on the track is better. I like it, but still it doesn't live up to it's possibilities.

    I do like Diana doing "Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things". I actually look forward to what a new mix of the song might sound like when Reflections expanded is released. Diana really does a great vocal on it.

    Martha and the V's covering "Time Changes Things" is not as good as the Supremes. Roz and Annette actually do a very good job on the harmonies but I still like what Flo and Mary did with it much better. I don't care for Martha's lead at all.

  15. #15
    I know it's not a Martha and the Vandellas song officially, but I always thought Florence would've tore up "You'll Never Cherish a Love So True" by the Vells.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i wonder if Ready For Love would have worked well for the Sups. the intro is very similar to You Can't Hurry Love but seems to have the angst/edge of You keep Me Hangin On. IMO RFL sounds like the child of YCHL and YKMHO

    As for the Vandellas - i'd love to hear martha and group on Going Down For Third Time. Also wonder if they might have done better with Run Run Run. The sups did well with Lovelight but not so much the follow up. perhaps those two songs would have fit MATV better
    Yes, yes! They would have really done those songs well. You're so right.

  17. #17
    Flo could have handled A LOVE LIKE YOURS....Mary, perhaps LOVE MAKES ME DO FOOLISH THINGS. Gladys Knight or Diana on I PROMISE TO WAIT MY LOVE... It would have been interesting to hear Martha do Whisper You Love Me Boy...or He's All I Got. Maybe I have a limited imagination, but the hit singles all seem assigned to the group that fit them best....Although I am not the biggest 4 Tops fan (I don't like the overuse of the female backgrounds...they actually overpower on many cuts) Levi was a very competent and compelling vocalist and I think the Motown singer who could most likely make anybody else's hits work...perhaps anything but a whispery, subtle Smokey track. Levi was a vocal TORNADO

  18. #18
    i wonder how JMC would have done on Tear It On Down. Or Martha on Everybody's Got The Right or maybe even Stoned Love.

    Love the idea of Itchin' being done by Martha.

  19. #19
    I’m gonna expand this thread a little and include one Marvellettes song. destination anywhere was an A&S piece and it’s around the time of their work the diana on somethings and Keep an eye. Wonder how diana would have done on it

  20. #20
    Through the years I have often wondered which songs, particularly hit songs, by any of the Motown female singers could have been done as successfully by one of the other female groups or singers. I am always stumped. Like gman posted, I also feel that the right groups got the right songs, especially pre-1968. Post-1968 it seems many of the songs could have been done by any of the female singers and groups - the Motown Sound was becoming too homogenized, at this point.

    Other than the A' Go-Go songs originally released, Foolish Things from Reflections and Does Your Mama Know from Love Child, I'm not crazy about many of the Motown songs that Diana covered during her Supremes years. They're either too Pop (which I usually like from her) or she sings them lazily in an off-handed manner. I get the sense that if she didn't really feel the song or want to do the song she gave it less effort. Still good, but not great. It's almost as if she acknowledged the songs were done by another female singer and she really didn't want to redo it herself. Maybe that's why most of the songs on A' Go-Go are covers of songs by male singers! The producers probably knew that her competitive nature yielded great results when she was challenged by trying to "best" the guys.

    I often thought that Florence, with the right producer and self-discipline and effort, would have done great with many of the songs done by MR&V, Chris Clark or The Elgins. I love Mary's voice but not sure what would have worked for her other than some of Mary Wells' songs.

    After hearing all the unreleased songs by Martha Reeves I don't doubt she could have recorded any song given to her. (Same with Gladys Knight and The Velvelettes.) Although I love most of them, some of Martha's post-1968 singles were more "bubble-gum soul" that didn't further her career. (Probably the same could be said of DRATS post-1968 releases - Motown losing it's way!) I would have preferred they released songs on Martha like I'm A Winner, It Ain't Like That, Easily Persuaded, No One There and Tear It On Down as A-sides. Three of those are Ashford & Simspson songs and were worthy of single releases. I think she also needed someone like Norman Whitfield to give her more of an edge like he did with Gladys Knight.

    Not sure what Wanda could have done. I grew to like In Full Bloom, which contained vocals done over several years, but I'm not a fan of Wanda's vocals on Return, in general, which were done later in her career.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    I’m gonna expand this thread a little and include one Marvellettes song. destination anywhere was an A&S piece and it’s around the time of their work the diana on somethings and Keep an eye. Wonder how diana would have done on it
    I think Diane could have done well on "Destination" but I don't think anyone could have Wanda's vocal qualities of yearning and pathos...it was the type of song her voice was well suited for. (And she is my favorite Motown singer so naturally I am prejudiced.)

  22. #22
    And keep thinking of more lol


    Wanda doing lead on Floy Joy
    Flo doing Everybody Knows (but you)

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post


    Wanda doing lead on Floy Joy
    Yes. Or A Heart Like Mine.

  24. #24
    love the idea of Flo doing Chris' Love's Gone Bad!! she could have really smoked on that one

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    And keep thinking of more lol


    Wanda doing lead on Floy Joy
    Flo doing Everybody Knows (but you)
    Wanda and Floy Joy would have been a terrific idea!

  26. #26
    Everyone was pushed to the side because of Berry and prissy Diana. What a couple of crooks.

  27. #27
    I can definitely hear Martha & The Vandellas doing and having a hit with "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart" and vice versa with The Supremes and "I'm Ready For Love"!

  28. #28
    IMHO it is difficult to compare these two groups or change the songs, because The Supremes were more pop-oriented M&TV more earthy and soulful. The only thing is, that both groups start to use The Andantes at same time period.

    For me The Marvelettes have a true development, the reducing to three group members and change the lead singer. The cream of the crop for me is Wanda with "Don´t mess with Bill", well the late "Supremes" helped Diana launch her solo career, and M&TV were only very special in the beginning, their voices and responsible for that was the great Anette Beard

  29. #29
    The Andantes began singing on Supremes releases in 1963 that I know of, and were used every year until 1972 at least. I don’t know when they began on Martha records. I don’t see a connection except both ladies went solo along with some Motown males. Diana, Marvin, Smokey, Martha, Gladys, Michael, Eddie, David, Dennis, Lionel all left their groups to go solo.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    I think Diane could have done well on "Destination" but I don't think anyone could have Wanda's vocal qualities of yearning and pathos...it was the type of song her voice was well suited for. (And she is my favorite Motown singer so naturally I am prejudiced.)
    I can't really hear Diana on "Destination", but I'm sure she would've done a good job. But that's one of Wanda's finest vocal moments ever so it's hard for me to hear anyone else in my head on this one.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Are there any Martha and the Vandellas songs you hear and wish the Supremes had recorded? And what do you think of the songs recorded by both groups?
    Good question RanRan. I would've liked to hear The Supremes doing Martha's "One Way Out" and Martha doing The Sup's "Going Down For The Third Time". Also, I like the versions of "Time Changes Things" by both groups.

  32. #32
    some of the most iconic songs might be a challenge, as people have said. Dancing in the streets is all Martha while You Can't Hurry Love is all Sups.

    but some of the other material that's still favorites is less clear

    You Bring back Memories - could have been a hit for MATV

    what about Honey Child for Flo? the song and lyric had some sass to them. she might've been able to really bring that out

  33. #33
    Flo on "Honey Chile" would've been a winner. I imagine had Flo taken Motown up on it's offer of a solo deal and had the label actually had good intentions with the offer, Flo probably would've recorded some of the country style cuts like what Martha would end up doing like "Sweet Darlin'".

  34. #34
    i think there was too much damage to the Flo/Berry relationship. there's absolutely no way that anything would have come of a solo career for flo at Motown. either 1) they'd sign her but then never actually record or release anything on her or 2) release it as a 45 and then provide 0 promotional support.

    If it was incongruous for Martha, Gladys Horton or Gladys Knight to achieve massive success at motown and usurp Diana, then Flo had even less possibility. Berry would probably have just shuttered the offices and retired rather than do that lolol

  35. #35
    Honey Child was for Martha but I could see Gladys singing that definitely but they would've had to change the background setting. *shrug*

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    i think there was too much damage to the Flo/Berry relationship. there's absolutely no way that anything would have come of a solo career for flo at Motown. either 1) they'd sign her but then never actually record or release anything on her or 2) release it as a 45 and then provide 0 promotional support.

    If it was incongruous for Martha, Gladys Horton or Gladys Knight to achieve massive success at motown and usurp Diana, then Flo had even less possibility. Berry would probably have just shuttered the offices and retired rather than do that lolol
    Oh please, Flo didn't even believe that offer was worth anything which is why she had the good sense to say "F you" and move on. Maybe...maybe...she would've gotten into the studio a few times to record, but those songs wouldn't see the light of day until a Supremes compilation or a Motown Unreleased. Motown wasn't interested in turning Flo into a hit recording artist outside of being a member of the Supremes.

    But hypothetically speaking, had she recorded for the label solo, I could hear her doing some of those later Martha cuts.

  37. #37
    For a switcheroo, I've always wondered what Diana would sound like on Martha's "Leave It In The Hands Of Love", and what Martha would sound like on "Mother Dear" ("More Hits" version).

  38. #38
    i always thought JIMMY MACK may have worked for the supremes

  39. #39
    I agree per Jimmy Mack. And I’d love to hear what the Supremes could have done with Nowhere to Run ala Going Down for the Third Time . Granted Martha and Vandellas kill it but curious.

  40. #40
    Didn't Martha use the original studio backing tracks for Mickey's Monkey and Hitch Hike for Dance Party??? I love Dancin' Slow....that's my fav track on that LP...you can tell she's testing her limits of "restrained excitement" there, and it adds some really wonderful appealing tension to a laid back track.

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