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  1. #1

    What's your thought on the Andantes replacing vocals on groups






    They may be unsung, but they sure suckered us into buying a Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvelettes, and worst of all *GASP* a Supremes record.


    What's your thoughts on this? Should have this false advertising happened in Motown?

    Louvain could give us some input if she's available.

  2. #2
    It's still being done.i did have an issue with the label reading DRATS but it being the Andantess. False advertising.
    adding them for additional vocals is one thing but misleading the public is another.they lied to us

  3. #3
    We've covered this a thousand times before. It's a heated topic that only stirs up anger. Why do we keep going there?

    In defense of The Andantes, they didn't "sucker" anybody into buying anything.
    That was all Motown's doings. And why not? Phil Spector used The Blossoms, Nino Tempo, Sonny, Cher, and whoever else happened to be in the studio as his back-up singers on his Philles sessions at Gold Star. Regardless of the group name (The Crystals or The Ronettes), the back-up singers were whomever was available. I've read that the only member of The Crystals on the iconic "A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records" was Lala Brooks. Barbara, Mary, Pat, and Dee Dee weren't even present. With all of that glorious sound, who cares? You would't be able to pick out their voices even if they had been present.

    Motown hired The Andantes to sing back-up vocals at the recording sessions, and that's exactly what the girls did. They were professional and highly-talented singers. The Motown producers utilized their harmonies because they made Motown records sound great and classy -- ions ahead of the back-up vocalists on other record labels. Not only that, The Andantes were quick learners. The producers would show them what they wanted, and the girls would nail it in one or two takes -- unlike some of the groups who would take forever to learn their parts. In a 24-hour, around-the-clock production line like Motown, time was of the essence. The Andantes' expert talent even allowed them to create the back-up vocal arrangements on the spot. When the recordings were finished, mixed, and released, the final product sent Motown releases to the top of the charts. And the world loved it! Most people at the time were none the wiser until the behind-the-scenes Motown books came out in the '80s. I'll admit, I was surprised at the time to learn that the back-up vocals were not the actual group members, but, rather, The Andantes. But I sure wasn't angry about it, nor did I feel tricked nor gypped. Why would I? The Andantes were an important ingredient of The Motown Sound which made ALL of the groups at Motown sound amazing! Now, if Motown had replaced the back-up vocals of The Supremes, Vandellas, and Marvelettes with crappy, untalented singers, I would have been pissed. Who wouldn't? But that was never the case. Motown gave us product that was top of the line. The Andantes were a blessing in disguise. When I found out it was The Andantes doing all of that work, my only reaction was, "Aha! So THAT'S why Motown's girl groups always sounded so consistently good!"

    I know that some folks are still feeling miffed and cheated, which is their prerogative, but don't blame The Andantes for it. They merely were a part of Motown's master plan, and it worked beautifully.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by IMissFlo93 View Post





    They may be unsung, but they sure suckered us into buying a Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvelettes, and worst of all *GASP* a Supremes record.


    What's your thoughts on this? Should have this false advertising happened in Motown?

    Louvain could give us some input if she's available.
    I have never bought a record in my life because the Andantes were singing on it. We didn't even know who they were when I was growing up. I look at them as accompaniment but not on the same level as the legendary Funk Brothers.

  5. #5
    Record company wants to put the best product on the market as possible. The record company virtually owns the product and can market it however they choose. Many records are not by the artists listed on the label... Young Holt Unlimited...remember the instrumental Soulful Strut? The track was cut by trio of studio musicians for a Barbara Acklin vocal and Eldee Young and Isaac "Redd" Holt (Ramsey Lewis alums) were supposedly nowhere near the studio when the track was cut...and then the track was used as an instrumental that became a huge hit ..so they got Young and Holt, replaced their pianist Don Walker with Ken Cheney and toured as Young Holt Unlimited as the trio representing the record...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 07-08-2019 at 02:06 AM.

  6. #6
    Sometimes record company's eliminate certain artists as they prefer to market the group the other way... Tony Orlando's group Dawn actually consisted of THREE female singers on their recordings and even tracks for their television show... Telma Hopkins, Joyce Vincent, and Pam Vincent (Joyces sister and singing partner)...For touring and the television show...they decided to put just Telma and Joyce onstage, although sister Pam continued recording with the ensemble and Joyce and Pam still work together often today, while also doing individual projects... Probably just easier to work with two Dawns instead of three, or maybe Joyce and Telma were just a better fit for the routines they were dong on stage...

  7. #7
    I don't like it. It's fraud. The public was lead to believe they were buying records by which-so-ever group, but they weren't. It's Milli Vanilli writ large. I have read all the rationalistic 'reasons' for decades and still don't buy them. Motown committed fraud.

  8. #8
    I don't like it. It's fraud. The public was lead to believe they were buying records by which-so-ever group, but they weren't. It's Milli Vanilli writ large. I have read all the rationalistic 'reasons' for decades and still don't buy them. If Mary or whoever could not sing well enough to match their group's lead singer they should have been replaced. I don't assign any blame whatsoever to the Andantes ladies. Motown committed fraud.
    Last edited by PeaceNHarmony; 07-07-2019 at 08:20 PM.

  9. #9
    It has taken me many years to get over the fact that the Andantes are on many “golden era” Motown singles. My first reaction is, like PNH, this is “fraud”. But then came Stop!. When I listened to the original version without the Andantes and the released single with them, I have to admit, the single with them on it is better than the DMF version without them. At the end of the day, you’re buying the song, not the artists.

    I also think we need to make a distinction between first order background singers who are integral parts of a group, such as Mary and Florence, who are always present in a live show, and second order background singers such as the Andantes and Blossoms. First order background singers are listed and in the line-up. Second order background singers give the song richness and depth, but could be interchanged with any other background singer with little to no effect. This is not to say the Andantes could be easily changed out in this fashion. They clearly were great artists who understood the “Motown Sound” but still, they were not integral to any one group.

    So while it does irk me that there is a fraud involved, I must admit that without the Andantes, my favorite Motown songs would not sound the same or even close to the same. Let’s admit that they were there, they added needed depth, and that without them the song wouldn’t have been the same. Really, in the end, what is the harm done? Do you enjoy the song less because the Andantes are on it and not acknowledged?

  10. #10
    I have never viewed Mary Wilson or Florence Ballard as "background" singers. They were the faces and yep voices of the Supremes. I think too big of a deal is being made about the Andantes adding to the harmonies on recordings. No one bitches about the fact that MOST of the Motown acts did not play an instrument on any of their recordings and that was done by the Funk Brothers. True, most of Motown's best known artists were vocalists and that is what you got when you saw them live and in concert. I don't recall a show being stopped and cancelled because an Andante wasn't up on the stage singing. Too much of a big is being made over their work. I heard that the Andantes were interchangeable and that often other session singers were used, along with them to pump up the background on some recordings.

  11. #11
    Their harmonies were way better than any other tamale group. The harmonies were soaring and soulful.

  12. #12
    As I discovered The Motown Sound I was impressed about it and The Supremes too. Then I research more and more about the backrounds, who sang what and then came the dissapointments. And then comes the question real dissapointments ? It´s right the songs are very good and amazing. I love "Discover me" and "Hey Western Union Man", we must say, we have here Diana with The other Supremes and in comparison with "I´ll set you free" amazing vocals form the original DRATS - they can sing, no question. IMHO the Andantes are connected with the girl groups, they a part of them. The groups are defined of the lead singer, so we had several solutions, only use single names like Diana Ross or Martha Reeves or The Andantes were nameless, only a group, then maybe we had lesser dissapointments.

    I think you have to understood it from another side - from The Andantes side maybe!

    The Andantes are ressponsible to make a lot of tracks of The Four Tops amazing and breathless. I enjoy the few records of the Temps too.

    You´re right, when you say Phil Spector uses this technical too, but I think he wasn´t so big as Motown, I don´t know it exactly, I am too young ;-)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    I have never bought a record in my life because the Andantes were singing on it. We didn't even know who they were when I was growing up. I look at them as accompaniment but not on the same level as the legendary Funk Brothers.
    I agree, even if the Andantes embellished and improved recordings with their harmonies people bought records mainly for the artists. For me the Andantes were just (huge) icing on the cake.

  14. #14
    Interesting to bring up Spector. I would largely continue my thought of fraud with his productions, though there may be a slight difference or two. His Wall of Sound productions rather required extra singers to create the large, massed backing vocals so I'll give Spector a pass there. But if Ronnie was the only Ronette on, say, 'Walking In The Rain' in the same way that Diana is the only Supreme on, say, LC, for me the billing on the label is fraudulent.

  15. #15
    Hi PNH...

    I always enjoy your posts, but do feel that your use of the word 'fraud' in this context seems a bit harsh, to the point of being unrealistic?

    Hasn't there always been a difference in show business, between stage performances and records?

    Some artists come alive on stage. They are natural artists and performers.
    Group members known to the public at any time are principally those who actually appear on stage, or for personal appearances, and who also are shown in group photos.

    Any techniques which can be used in the recording studio to then enhance said singer or group's appeal are considered a legitimate procedure within the industry. The record companies are in the business of selling the records as a finished product, so will want to maximise their potential.

    In contrast, some artists are most well known and represented simply by their recordings. They do not have the same stage presence as those in the first category, and often enjoy a shorter career. These artists may be talented, but their appearances more heavily rely on lighting gimmicks, additional dancers, etc., to enhance their appeal.

    (I can quickly think of several examples which fall within each category, even within Motown, but I'm not going there )

    Wouldn't it be fraud only if Ronnie or Diana were then to receive royalties from the records sold where their voices were recorded with session singers, but not the other members from their group? The lead voices effectively represent groups both on recordings and on stage, in order to maintain sales. The other Ronettes and Supremes would normally have received royalties from record sales generated by the lead singer, even if their own voices did not, for various reasons, feature on the recordings.

    Was it fraud when the girl singers invariably used wigs on stage and in public appearances, to maintain best appearances under busy schedules?

    Was it fraud when they used heavy make-up, foundation, and false eyelashes, to improve their looks under the lights?

    Was it fraud that their dresses were padded out, or carefully cut, in order to improve their figures?

    Was it fraud if the voice of Connie Francis, for example, and many of her contemporaries, was double-tracked on records to enhance the sound, which she then had no hope of replicating when singing live on stage?

    It would be seem that the object was to present everyone involved to best effect.

    I would contend that the word fraud is more applicable to financial matters?

    In this particular context of session singers, it seems everyone was paid.

    There are only two words which seem appropriate : Show, and Business.

    If the entertainment values involved do not directly relate to one of those words, they relate to the other.

    And very often, both.

  16. #16
    Excellent post Westgrandboulevard with excellent supporting examples. Thank you!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Fullfillingnessfirstfinale View Post
    As I discovered The Motown Sound I was impressed about it and The Supremes too. Then I research more and more about the backrounds, who sang what and then came the dissapointments. And then comes the question real dissapointments ? It´s right the songs are very good and amazing. I love "Discover me" and "Hey Western Union Man", we must say, we have here Diana with The other Supremes and in comparison with "I´ll set you free" amazing vocals form the original DRATS - they can sing, no question. IMHO the Andantes are connected with the girl groups, they a part of them. The groups are defined of the lead singer, so we had several solutions, only use single names like Diana Ross or Martha Reeves or The Andantes were nameless, only a group, then maybe we had lesser dissapointments.

    I think you have to understood it from another side - from The Andantes side maybe!

    The Andantes are ressponsible to make a lot of tracks of The Four Tops amazing and breathless. I enjoy the few records of the Temps too.

    You´re right, when you say Phil Spector uses this technical too, but I think he wasn´t so big as Motown, I don´t know it exactly, I am too young ;-)
    Spector was at least as big and significant as any Motown production unit...His "Wall of Sound" changed pop music, and not just Spector...but other L.A. producers Motown aficionado's might not be as familiar with like Brian Wilson, Lou Adler and Herb Alpert, Bones Howe, Jimmy Bowen, Mike Post and others...every bit as commercially successful as Motown stalwarts like HDH, Smokey, Frank Wilson, Norman Whitfield and others...Even Berry Gordy ultimately brought his company to Los Angeles, using many of the same facilities and musicians as Spector used...taking nothing away from the legendary Funk Brothers...Gordy was even using many of those same musicians during Motown's 60's heyday, having some of his tracks cut in L.A. and shipped back to Detroit...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 07-08-2019 at 10:50 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by westgrandboulevard View Post
    Hi PNH...

    I always enjoy your posts, but do feel that your use of the word 'fraud' in this context seems a bit harsh, to the point of being unrealistic?

    Hasn't there always been a difference in show business, between stage performances and records?

    Some artists come alive on stage. They are natural artists and performers.
    Group members known to the public at any time are principally those who actually appear on stage, or for personal appearances, and who also are shown in group photos.

    Any techniques which can be used in the recording studio to then enhance said singer or group's appeal are considered a legitimate procedure within the industry. The record companies are in the business of selling the records as a finished product, so will want to maximise their potential.

    In contrast, some artists are most well known and represented simply by their recordings. They do not have the same stage presence as those in the first category, and often enjoy a shorter career. These artists may be talented, but their appearances more heavily rely on lighting gimmicks, additional dancers, etc., to enhance their appeal.

    (I can quickly think of several examples which fall within each category, even within Motown, but I'm not going there )

    Wouldn't it be fraud only if Ronnie or Diana were then to receive royalties from the records sold where their voices were recorded with session singers, but not the other members from their group? The lead voices effectively represent groups both on recordings and on stage, in order to maintain sales. The other Ronettes and Supremes would normally have received royalties from record sales generated by the lead singer, even if their own voices did not, for various reasons, feature on the recordings.

    Was it fraud when the girl singers invariably used wigs on stage and in public appearances, to maintain best appearances under busy schedules?

    Was it fraud when they used heavy make-up, foundation, and false eyelashes, to improve their looks under the lights?

    Was it fraud that their dresses were padded out, or carefully cut, in order to improve their figures?

    Was it fraud if the voice of Connie Francis, for example, and many of her contemporaries, was double-tracked on records to enhance the sound, which she then had no hope of replicating when singing live on stage?

    It would be seem that the object was to present everyone involved to best effect.

    I would contend that the word fraud is more applicable to financial matters?

    In this particular context of session singers, it seems everyone was paid.

    There are only two words which seem appropriate : Show, and Business.

    If the entertainment values involved do not directly relate to one of those words, they relate to the other.

    And very often, both.
    All good points...

  19. #19
    Seems like the water is being muddied here. I suspect most can accept the using of the Andantes to enhance/enrich the depth of the vocals on a record. Kind of standard fare.

    What the threads asks though is , what are your thoughts on The Andantes REPLACING vocals on groups? That's a more serious scenario.

    When The Supremes appear on television shows pretending their voices are on the records when they aren't, that is fraud , plain and simple.

    It would be akin to finding out Jimi Hendrix didn't actually play the guitar on his records.
    That's the point of Jimi Hendricks, his guitar playing, and that's the point of The Supremes , singing back-up (and I think back-up is the right word) to Diana Ross .

    I suppose if transparency were the goal, the records should've been labeled
    Diana Ross And The "Supremes".

  20. #20
    So I imagine that virtually every record by a band that the Wrecking Crew performed on was a fraud too???... It was generally the Wrecking Crew who were the studio musicians on recordings by Beach Boys, The Association, The Grass Roots, The Byrds, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Gary Lewis & The Playboys most of whom freely admitted that they could not do the job in the studio that the instrumental "masters" could...and so any more. It's the difference in presentation of recordings and the touring acts... Obviously, the Andantes, while most would say were vocally tighter as a vocal ensemble to the Supremes backup capabilities (as good as they were and capable to do live performances), but couldn't come close as to their stage look, stage moves, etc... Go with the best you've got. The unfortunate part is that the Andantes weren't compensated for the recordings as the other Supremes were...

  21. #21
    so you are perfectly fine with no Supremes actually being on a record labeled "The Supremes"?

  22. #22
    I don't have a problem so much with Motown using the Andantes on records. I personally love the Andantes and their sound. They had incredible harmonies and they don't get the recognition in the industry for how amazing they were. It's a shame their story was left out of 20 Feet From Stardom nor were they mentioned in Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, although that was always focused on just the Funk Brothers.

    My issue is that Motown decided around 1967 that they were basically going to do away with using any of the female group members on the recordings and just replace them all with the Andantes. The Andantes also lost their own sound and began to sound bland so that all Supremes, Vandellas, Marvelettes recordings sounded generic. The only thing different was the lead singer. In turn, these groups lost their unique sound and that hurt them in the market. I think if Motown had continued to use Mary & Cindy, Roz & Lois, Kat & Ann on their groups records and supplemented the Andantes for a fuller sound, I think it would have preserved each group's unique sound and would have enhanced the recordings.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    so you are perfectly fine with no Supremes actually being on a record labeled "The Supremes"?
    Honestly...in the final analysis..."The Supremes" brand was under contract to Motown and The Supremes were whatever Motown wanted them to be... Now if someone had appeared on stage claiming to be Diana Ross...that's another matter..

  24. #24
    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat i never gave it a second thought it was and is still great music..all of a sudden it's fraud?????? What the hell??????

  25. #25
    It’s been said before - all that was vital in these recordings be they Supremes Vandellas Miracles or Pips, was the lead singer

    I agree with brad that a certain sound got sacrificed by about 1967

    But the controversy has reduced the recognition that the Andantes got and their use has reduced the recognition of Miracles Pips Vandellas but especially Supremes - all in favour of their lead singers

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat i never gave it a second thought it was and is still great music..all of a sudden it's fraud?????? What the hell??????
    Exactly. The Andantes did not do all the vocals. LOL!!!!

  27. #27
    conclusion :
    anybody can sing on a "Diana Ross & The Supremes" record , and as long as it sounds good who cares who it is or who it isn't.


    ( & as long as its actually Diana Ross.)

  28. #28
    There was only one Beatle on Yesterday...should the label of read "The Beatle" instead of "The Beatles"?...who really cares....Its the music we love .

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    conclusion :
    anybody can sing on a "Diana Ross & The Supremes" record , and as long as it sounds good who cares who it is or who it isn't.


    ( & as long as its actually Diana Ross.)
    Remember to ask her about the single, "The Boss" and Valerie Simpson..............

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Remember to ask her about the single, "The Boss" and Valerie Simpson..............
    You just got my attention Marv. I'm all ears!!

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    You just got my attention Marv. I'm all ears!!
    If you are all ears, then listen to the record closely and then go listen to Diana "try" to sing it live! That is all I am going to say about THAT! LOL
    !!!!

  32. #32
    muddying the water.

  33. #33
    fraud? you folks are funny sometimes..fraud is an indication of a crime being committed causing loss or damage of some sort (brain damage does not count) The Supremes was a concept sold by a record manufacturing company selling a product; the original concept featured four pictured members; did the 'fraud' begin when they cut down to three? I would think so...if there was actual 'fraud'..welcome to show biz

  34. #34
    This is why the public only knows one Supreme - because it didn’t matter

    And one Miracle and Vandella and pip

    But we still loved the whole group

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi LaLumia View Post
    fraud? you folks are funny sometimes..fraud is an indication of a crime being committed causing loss or damage of some sort (brain damage does not count) The Supremes was a concept sold by a record manufacturing company selling a product; the original concept featured four pictured members; did the 'fraud' begin when they cut down to three? I would think so...if there was actual 'fraud'..welcome to show biz
    fraud can mean that.

    but it can also mean:

    >>>> a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.<<<<<



    synonyms: impostor, fake, sham, pretender, hoodwinker, masquerader, charlatan, quack, mountebank; swindler, fraudster, racketeer, cheat, cheater, double-dealer, trickster, confidence trickster;
    informalphoney, con man, con artist;
    datedconfidence man
    "they exposed him as a fraud"



    sham, hoax, imitation, copy, dummy, mock-up;
    fake, forgery, counterfeit;
    informalphoney, dupe
    "the report is a fraud"


  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    fraud can mean that.

    but it can also mean:

    >>>> a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.<<<<<



    synonyms: impostor, fake, sham, pretender, hoodwinker, masquerader, charlatan, quack, mountebank; swindler, fraudster, racketeer, cheat, cheater, double-dealer, trickster, confidence trickster;
    informalphoney, con man, con artist;
    datedconfidence man
    "they exposed him as a fraud"



    sham, hoax, imitation, copy, dummy, mock-up;
    fake, forgery, counterfeit;
    informalphoney, dupe
    "the report is a fraud"
    Also, “fraud” doesn’t have to rise to its legal definition (monetary damages) to still be fraud. If you market ice cream as premium chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but it is actually chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice milk, that’s fraud. Simply put, you can’t say one thing (Supremes = DMF) and then sell another (Supremes = DMF +/- Andantes) and not have it rise to the definition of fraud. Simply because everyone else was doing the same or worse also does not negate the fact that Motown committed minor acts of fraud in its marketing of the groups.

    Edit: the case of the Four Tops is worse. Motown created a sound on vinyl that could not be reproduced live in concert. I guess the statute of limitations has passed, but any concert go-er who saw a Tops show could sue for fraud. The sound they expected to hear, and the sound marketed to them, was not the sound they got at the concert. There is a reasonable expectation that the listener will not be deceived when they purchased tickets. The fact that most Tops records have seven people singing on them and only four in concert, with no disclaimer of the difference, is text book fraud. Maybe there was a disclaimer on the tickets, but I doubt it.
    Last edited by thanxal; 07-08-2019 at 05:03 PM.

  37. #37
    Anyone that believes the Four Tops needed the Andantes or anyone else is kidding no one but themselves!

    https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthrea...Over(acapella)

  38. #38
    Marv...Just as an example...Can you imagine 7 Rooms Of Gloom or Bernadette WITHOUT The Andantes???...Would have been different songs with different attitudes that missed the not so subtle emphasis in coordination with The Funk Brothers... That's what producers do...embellish every aspect of a song to garner a feeling, and on many Tops (and other artists songs)...the background vocals were well thought out and integral to the song... Rooms of Gloom had those eerie voices in registers the guys could never come close to and the Andantes are much more prominent that the other Tops...... Same with Bernadette. Those are more than songs...They are complete, masterful productions...Tell me this would have been anywhere near the finished product without the ladies who performed on 16 Four Tops songs alone... Perhaps they should have been known as the SEVEN Tops (LOL)???... https://youtu.be/lSZsm2EBoLE
    Last edited by StuBass1; 07-08-2019 at 05:52 PM.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Anyone that believes the Four Tops needed the Andantes or anyone else is kidding no one but themselves!

    https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthrea...Over(acapella)
    Then why are they there? And not just one song either?

  40. #40
    These are not the Tops hitting the top...Not even close...… Of course the Tops are legendary performers and artists and according to everyone I know whose ever worked with them...the most professional group of artists they've ever been associated with...but these record projects would have a much different sound and attitude without the Andantes doing what they did... Records are like life...you get just one shot at a great first impression (or your record sinks) ...so you give the project your very best effort and ideas... https://youtu.be/Sb7ejgJHlP0
    Last edited by StuBass1; 07-08-2019 at 06:04 PM.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    It’s been said before - all that was vital in these recordings be they Supremes Vandellas Miracles or Pips, was the lead singer

    I agree with brad that a certain sound got sacrificed by about 1967

    But the controversy has reduced the recognition that the Andantes got and their use has reduced the recognition of Miracles Pips Vandellas but especially Supremes - all in favour of their lead singers
    actually that's not totally true. in very, very few instances were any of the men replaced by background singers. yes, in some cases the andantes were added to male group records, most notably on the Four Tops. But almost never were Duke, Obie and Lawrence replaced by, say, the Contours or the Spinners. Same with the Miracles. Smokey didn't record without Bobby, Ronnie and Pete.

    So why was it ok that the women background singers at motown were interchangeable but the male background singers were not?

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    actually that's not totally true. in very, very few instances were any of the men replaced by background singers. yes, in some cases the andantes were added to male group records, most notably on the Four Tops. But almost never were Duke, Obie and Lawrence replaced by, say, the Contours or the Spinners. Same with the Miracles. Smokey didn't record without Bobby, Ronnie and Pete.

    So why was it ok that the women background singers at motown were interchangeable but the male background singers were not?
    Interesting question... I'd assume that quite frankly...while the male groups often needed higher register voices like the Andantes to bring home the concept, balance and brighten the sound to suit am radio...most had the male voices pretty well covered, although it was not unheard of at Motown for a producer on a male group to see one or more of the Originals for example hanging around and ask them to join in on the vocal track to add something as I've heard before...but not to the extent of adding female voices. As for the girl groups... I don't think there was much of an idea to add masculinity to those records to lower the vocal register on the overall sound, as the bass guitar and bari sax held down the low end on virtually every Motown record and the 3 guitar backbeats brought the fidelity back up, but using the Andantes as more a function of the just being better singers with greater ranges than the actual group members... the best female singers at the company...The Andantes sang on at least 8 Supremes songs, 12 Vandellas songs, 14 Marvelettes tracks...in addition to the Tempts, Tops, and solo vocal projects. They were the best around for what they did... Just not stage material...
    Last edited by StuBass1; 07-08-2019 at 06:27 PM.

  43. #43
    Your knowledge shows Stu

    I don’t think this was that big a deal - the producer got the sound they wanted

    I don’t think you could sue for the price of a Four Tops concert ticket either - you got the Tops as you did the Supremes

    All these people were involved in some pretty exciting, history making times

    However the Andantes were not really properly recognized and I think it has hurt the recognition of group members other than the lead singers

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi LaLumia View Post
    fraud? you folks are funny sometimes..fraud is an indication of a crime being committed causing loss or damage of some sort (brain damage does not count) The Supremes was a concept sold by a record manufacturing company selling a product; the original concept featured four pictured members; did the 'fraud' begin when they cut down to three? I would think so...if there was actual 'fraud'..welcome to show biz
    No, Jimi - the fraud of which I speak is in selling records branded by a name when in fact other singers are on the record. For me it's as simple as that! I guess what JRob is saying has its truth: only the lead singers were those known to the public and it is/was only those wh0 mattered. But if 'Love Child' is being lip synced on Ed Sullivan and only the lead is miming a vocal she actually performed, in my thinking this is fraud. Anyhoo, the thread asked for opinions and I offered mine. Best to you.
    Last edited by PeaceNHarmony; 07-08-2019 at 07:20 PM.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    No, Jimi - the fraud of which I speak is in selling records branded by a name when in fact other singers are on the record. For me it's as simple as that! I guess what JRob is saying has its truth: only the lead singers were those known to the public. But if 'Love Child' is being lip synced on Ed Sullivan and only the lead is miming a vocal she actually performed, in my thinking this is fraud. Anyhoo, the thread asked for opinions and I offered mine. Best to you.
    Keep in mind that in those days...musicians weren't even credited for their performance... Same for background singers...not even enough room on the record labels to credit everyone involved in the project... If you look up those individual song titles on Wikipedia, or any other music site...you'll see that they do credit the musicians AND any vocal enhancements and who performed on the recordings...Remember The Monkees???... Sold millions of records and had their own television show...and the record producers insisted that the Wrecking Crew...NOT the Monkees played on the records... After ultimately insisting they play on their records and their producers hesitantly relented...their record sales coincidentally slipped... Remember The Archies… strictly a group of studio musicians who then recruited musicians to tour as The Archies...and even The Beatles (and most other bands) used other musicians to enhance their recordings, like Billy Preston and others... Just the nature of the business in an effort to make the records sound as good as possible. The records are what gave those groups much needed touring, concert, and appearance income... As I previously stated...those group are what the company's who have them under contract or who has rights to the name want them to be...In the immortal words of PT Barnum (and the group Honeycone)…"One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"???......
    Last edited by StuBass1; 07-08-2019 at 07:40 PM.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Marv...Just as an example...Can you imagine 7 Rooms Of Gloom or Bernadette WITHOUT The Andantes???...Would have been different songs with different attitudes that missed the not so subtle emphasis in coordination with The Funk Brothers... That's what producers do...embellish every aspect of a song to garner a feeling, and on many Tops (and other artists songs)...the background vocals were well thought out and integral to the song... Rooms of Gloom had those eerie voices in registers the guys could never come close to and the Andantes are much more prominent that the other Tops...... Same with Bernadette. Those are more than songs...They are complete, masterful productions...Tell me this would have been anywhere near the finished product without the ladies who performed on 16 Four Tops songs alone... Perhaps they should have been known as the SEVEN Tops (LOL)???... https://youtu.be/lSZsm2EBoLE
    Can I imagine them without Andantes? Yeah! I've heard the Tops perform those songs live and in concert at least 30-35 times over the years and they were spectacular. They did not always sing "7 Rooms of Gloom", but they always performed "Bernadette" in concert. Here they are dancing and singing and sounding great live. Please note that they have 3 vocalists providing the harmonies. Groups like the Supremes and Martha and Vandellas had to go with just two vocalists which makes it quite difficult to achieve 3 part harmony live. So on some sessions there were session singers utilize to fill in some of the background.


  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    Then why are they there? And not just one song either?
    Because some producer wanted to use them. The Four Tops were capable of producing some of the tightest harmonies on Earth! Mary, Diana and Florence were just that good too. In the case of the Supremes when 3 three part harmony was desired and the producer did not have Diane join Mary and Flo on background, they would have to bring in other voices to achieve that sound.

    I also don't think anyone would argue that songs like "Come See About Me" with just Mary and Flo on the backup sounded anything but terrific!
    Last edited by marv2; 07-08-2019 at 07:47 PM.

  48. #48
    I always love to use this song as an example of just how great the Supremes were with their harmonies. The voices have character, sound pure and natural:


  49. #49
    another point is what i refer to as the "romanticism" of motown. as fans looking back decades later, we've built up myths about our favorite groups and songs. but the reality is Motown was making music for MONEY not for posterity. At the end of the day, the more songs and hits they released, the more money was made. so if they needed to utilize additional session singers in order to keep to a release schedule, then that's what they did.

    Also most of the groups really had little to no input over their creative direction. it's not like the tempts sat around and charted out what content they wanted to sing, what themes they wanted present in their music, arrangements, etc. They didn't explore potential musical options and outlets with various producers. Occasionally the groups did - the temps did do some of the production work in terms of splitting up the lead lines on some of the psychedelic stuff. and the Pips did much of the production work on Grapevine themselves. but that's more a rarity.

    the groups had little to no say as to what producer they were assigned, what songs they recorded, the mixing of those songs, what songs were selected for an album, the sequencing of tracks, etc.

    In the 70s they begin to have a little more input on this but not much. the supremes didn't request that they work with Jimmy Webb or HDH. once assigned, they might have shared some ideas regarding whether they liked one song better than another. but that's about it.

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Keep in mind that in those days...musicians weren't even credited for their performance... Same for background singers...not even enough room on the record labels to credit everyone involved in the project... If you look up those individual song titles on Wikipedia, or any other music site...you'll see that they do credit the musicians AND any vocal enhancements and who performed on the recordings...Remember The Monkees???... Sold millions of records and had their own television show...and the record producers insisted that the Wrecking Crew...NOT the Monkees played on the records... After ultimately insisting they play on their records and their producers hesitantly relented...their record sales coincidentally slipped... Remember The Archies… strictly a group of studio musicians who then recruited musicians to tour as The Archies...and even The Beatles (and most other bands) used other musicians to enhance their recordings, like Billy Preston and others... Just the nature of the business in an effort to make the records sound as good as possible. The records are what gave those groups much needed touring, concert, and appearance income... As I previously stated...those group are what the company's who have them under contract or who has rights to the name want them to be...In the immortal words of PT Barnum (and the group Honeycone)…"One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"???......
    According to Quincy Jones, there are Beatles recordings where jazz session musicians were substituted for Ringo Starr and other members of the band.

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