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  1. #1
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    The Andantes: Motown's Secret Blend


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    THANK YOU so very much for posting this! And yes, I meant to scream THANK YOU!!

    It was nice hearing the frankness coming from these ladies. Unsung needs to do an episode on them for they are truly unsung!
    Last edited by lockhartgary; 07-03-2022 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Grammar correction

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    In 2007 a book came out:
    https://www.amazon.com/Motown-Backgr...p%2C130&sr=1-1

    One of my life motto's was beautifully described by one of the ladies:
    "You have to learn to move on when negative circumstances happen to you rather than lash out to the people who harm you. If you can not correct the wrong, then let it go."

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    Thanks for posting Reese, this was a nice video piece.

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    Great piece, Reese! I loved when the one lady said "There isn't a day that goes by when I don't hear myself on the radio." What a legacy!

    Thanks for posting! I have mixed feelings about the use of the Andantes at Motown because I really love hearing the groups in the background, but no one can deny they are tremendous singers and obviously lovely ladies as well.

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    These ladies were truly great at what they did. But I'd have preferred to have heard the original groups [[warts and all) rather than the added vocals...no matter how sweet. I always thought it diluted the original groups sound. Again, the ladies did a fine job and had great voices.

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    And much to the credit of their sound, as a diehard fan, every time I hear the intro’s to Stop in the Name of Love or Love Child, I think of them

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    And much to the credit of their sound, as a diehard fan, every time I hear the intro’s to Stop in the Name of Love or Love Child, I think of them
    I do, too, Jobeterob. I love these recordings as I first heard them. I love the Supremes, especially DMF, but I do appreciate the Andantes and what the producers wanted for the recordings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    And much to the credit of their sound, as a diehard fan, every time I hear the intro’s to Stop in the Name of Love or Love Child, I think of them
    I feel the same way when I hear "It's Growing" by the Temptations.

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    It's no secret -- The Andantes have always been, and will always be, my favorite girl group. The Motown producers loved working with them because the girls were a quick study, and they made their records sound so good. The Andantes were oftentimes allowed to arrange their own back-up vocals. For me, regardless of who the featured artist was, the Funk Brothers and The Andantes were the main ingredients of The Motown Sound.

    NOTE: I bought The Andantes' book way back upon its release in 2007. It was an excellent read, although I'm long overdue to read it again. Now that it's out of print, I see that the 3rd-party Amazon price gougers are demanding $130.99 for a paperback copy. [[Thank God, I had the good sense to buy my copy upon its release.)

    For the benefit of new Motown Forum members who may be unfamiliar with some of The Andantes' lesser-known Motown recordings, here are some of my favorites on which the girls shine:

    MARVIN GAYE & KIM WESTON:
    "Heaven Sent You, I Know"
    https://youtu.be/DtsupZSBJXI

    EDDIE HOLLAND:
    "Just Ain't Enough Love"
    https://youtu.be/f1nI-V3uG9A

    JIMMY RUFFIN:
    "Maria [[You Were The Only One)"
    https://youtu.be/V8SFffNxe0U

    EARL VAN DYKE & THE SOUL BROTHERS:
    "ALL FOR YOU"
    https://youtu.be/XVF5B8MqLKU

    STEVIE WONDER:
    "Ain't That Asking For Trouble"
    https://youtu.be/_eiaceJG4us

    MARVIN GAYE:
    "You've Been A Long Time Coming"
    https://youtu.be/Svh-SO3SQqw

    BRENDA HOLLOWAY:
    "When I'm Gone"
    https://youtu.be/SUyBPkhp6MY

    SHORTY LONG:
    "Function At The Junction"
    https://youtu.be/HxLAXHW80xo

    MARY WELLS:
    "You Do Something To Me"
    https://youtu.be/qhMlNnatuis

    THE MARVELETTES:
    "When You're Young And In Love"
    https://youtu.be/xZtGGZmTE0E

    MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS:
    "It's Easy To Fall In Love [[With A Guy Lke You)"
    https://youtu.be/XcWo-typNYA

    Of course, there are thousands more, but these were just a few favorites off the top of my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary;710770ingredients of The Motown Sound.


    MARVIN GAYE:
    "You've Been A Long Time Coming"
    [url
    https://youtu.be/Svh-SO3SQqw[/url]


    Of course, there are thousands more, but these were just a few favorites off the top of my head.
    "You've Been a Long Time Coming" is indeed a favorite of mine! And I am also fortunate to have the Andante's book.

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    I had been meaning to do an appreciation thread about the Andantes for years. Here are some of my favorite Andantes performances.

    Laughing Boy, My Guy- Mary Wells
    One More Heartache, Save The Children - Marvin Gaye
    Hey Love- Stevie Wonder
    Walk in The Night- Jr. Walker & the All-stars

    Since the Andantes sometimes sounded like Mr Bill, any song where they sing “Oh No!”
    such as Stevie’s “I Can’t Let My Heaven Walk Away” and Soupy Sales’s “Muck-arty Park”

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobucats View Post
    "You've Been a Long Time Coming" is indeed a favorite of mine! And I am also fortunate to have the Andante's book.
    Job, here are a few more tracks with The Andantes' stamp all over them:

    MARVIN GAYE & KIM WESTON:
    "What Good Am I Without You"
    https://youtu.be/molcWp44Vzo

    FOUR TOPS:
    "Brenda"
    https://youtu.be/wdyOluZPg8g

    STEVIE WONDER:
    "Respect"
    https://youtu.be/ITZM6ellasQ

    THE MARVELETTES:
    "Now Is The Time For Love"
    https://youtu.be/A5qozMz_ELg

    SHORTY LONG:
    "Don't Mess With My Weekend"
    https://youtu.be/N1TMLHG1l8I

    MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS:
    "The Hurt Is Over [[Since I've Found You)"
    https://youtu.be/FhjEdO5HqMg

    JIMMY RUFFIN:
    "Living In A World I Created For Myself"
    https://youtu.be/7eIeLW9rDmI

    KIM WESTON:
    "I'm Still Loving You"
    https://youtu.be/Hujc_6NdiDk

    MARVIN GAYE:
    "I'll Take Care Of You"
    https://youtu.be/OsaDbtxeQkk

    THE HIT PACK:
    "Never Say No To Your Baby"
    https://youtu.be/ZliR5X33O-0

    BILLY ECKSTINE:
    "The Answer Is Love"
    https://youtu.be/eTqdOWNArrg

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    Great choices, Gar! But we’ll have the conversation about whether or not the Andantes should’ve been used instead of the actual artists another time, one of the many things we disagree with regarding Motown!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Great choices, Gar! But we’ll have the conversation about whether or not the Andantes should’ve been used instead of the actual artists another time, one of the many things we disagree with regarding Motown!
    Bring it on, Kenny!

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    It's astonishing and easy to understand why the Motown producers wanted The Andantes on their productions. I cannot imagine any of these tracks without the angelic vocal blend of Luvain Demps, Jackie Hicks, and Marlene Barrow gracing them.

    TOMMY GOOD:
    "Baby I Miss You"
    https://youtu.be/FuNSE1WKRRI

    CHRIS CLARK:
    'Whisper You Love Me Boy"
    https://youtu.be/qRzQ5XijY3A

    MARVIN GAYE:
    "You're The One For Me"
    https://youtu.be/vDdwXe8Mp2E

    KIM WESTON:
    "A Thrill A Moment"
    https://youtu.be/JQC5roi8Zt0

    THE MARVELETTES:
    "I Can't Turn Around"
    https://youtu.be/_RRoywtiDDE

    MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS"
    "Leave It In The Hands Of Love"
    https://youtu.be/vhRTGKHcXss

    FOUR TOPS:
    "Just As Long As You Need Me"
    https://youtu.be/moJkmEwywv8

    STEVIE WONDER:
    "Music Talk"
    https://youtu.be/lY5Ok0uhoIg

    EDDIE HOLLAND:
    "Candy To Me"
    https://youtu.be/12nrIr51Uqc

    JIMMY RUFFIN:
    "As Long As There Is L-O-V-E Love"
    https://youtu.be/tuxicsz0WpE

    EDWIN STARR:
    "Soul Master"
    https://youtu.be/hliD3MqJC-E

    MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS:
    "Bless You"
    https://youtu.be/GJDVZZI4cZk

    SHORTY LONG:
    "Another Hurt Like This"
    https://youtu.be/W1UfY2bf2tU

    THE MARVELETTES:
    "Keep Off No Trespassing"
    https://youtu.be/OQ9vb3g-3s8

    KIM WESTON:
    "Just Loving You"
    https://youtu.be/IeYeFhwyAFI

    STEVIE WONDER:
    "Hold Me"
    https://youtu.be/pNVCvCt8z8E

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    Quote Originally Posted by lakeside View Post
    These ladies were truly great at what they did. But I'd have preferred to have heard the original groups [[warts and all) rather than the added vocals...no matter how sweet. I always thought it diluted the original groups sound. Again, the ladies did a fine job and had great voices.
    I can't imagine the Four Tops' big hits without the Andantes on them.
    Strange how their appearance on Four Tops' records doesn't create the same controversy as when they're on those of the Supremes.

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    In the late 90's, Bill Randle recorded an interview with Louvain Demps of The Andantes. It is a fascinating interview and Louvain is a joyous person with a memory as sharp as can be. She has forgotten nothing and the interview is a real pleasure to listen to. Many thanks to Mickey Nold who reposted the interview today at my request, and to the late Bill Randle, who knew everything about soul music and sadly passed two years ago. If you are interested in the Andantes, this is not to be missed, and do listen before it gets taken down again.

    https://science-of-soul.blogspot.com...ain-demps.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEW-UK View Post
    In the late 90's, Bill Randle recorded an interview with Louvain Demps of The Andantes. It is a fascinating interview and Louvain is a joyous person with a memory as sharp as can be. She has forgotten nothing and the interview is a real pleasure to listen to. Many thanks to Mickey Nold who reposted the interview today at my request, and to the late Bill Randle, who knew everything about soul music and sadly passed two years ago. If you are interested in the Andantes, this is not to be missed, and do listen before it gets taken down again.

    https://science-of-soul.blogspot.com...ain-demps.html
    Mike, I just finished listening to the interview with Louvain in its entirety. What a sweetheart she is! Bless her heart for sharing the good times and the tears, yet remaining positive throughout. I would have listened to her discuss her Motown experience for hours upon hours, had I been given the chance.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 07-16-2022 at 11:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    I can't imagine the Four Tops' big hits without the Andantes on them.
    Strange how their appearance on Four Tops' records doesn't create the same controversy as when they're on those of the Supremes.
    Good point, 144man. I've often wondered that, too, although I can't answer that because I was never one of the complainers. On the contrary, I was pleasantly surprised and equally impressed to finally learn why all of Motown's female artists' records sounded equally fantastic, as well as recordings by the Four Tops, Jimmy Ruffin, Marvin Gaye, Shorty Long, Edwin Starr, and countless other Motown artists' recordings.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 07-16-2022 at 07:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    I can't imagine the Four Tops' big hits without the Andantes on them.
    Strange how their appearance on Four Tops' records doesn't create the same controversy as when they're on those of the Supremes.
    As I mentioned above, I take nothing away from these ladies' talent, graciousness and simple charm. What lovely women they are. But the difference between their backing the 4 Tops vs. the Marvelettes or the Supremes is that most would assume it was the Marvelettes or the Supremes singing their own backgrounds, whereas with the Tops, a listener would just assume [[correctly in this case) that it was an unnamed studio group. Well, I guess they had a name even then but they weren't known to the general public.

    But clearly they were extremely talented and [[gulp) probably more talented than some of the singers who actually had name recognition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    As I mentioned above, I take nothing away from these ladies' talent, graciousness and simple charm. What lovely women they are. But the difference between their backing the 4 Tops vs. the Marvelettes or the Supremes is that most would assume it was the Marvelettes or the Supremes singing their own backgrounds, whereas with the Tops, a listener would just assume [[correctly in this case) that it was an unnamed studio group. Well, I guess they had a name even then but they weren't known to the general public.

    But clearly they were extremely talented and [[gulp) probably more talented than some of the singers who actually had name recognition.
    There you go, Kenny! Your last sentence [[following the "gulp") says it all. Motown was on a mission to be #1 and they succeeded beautifully/brilliantly. Had they released material with 2nd-rate, off-key performances, they would have never achieved that. So they used the most professional-sounding voices they had which was The Andantes.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 07-17-2022 at 01:08 AM.

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    [QUOTE=Philles/Motown … I was pleasantly surprised and equally impressed to finally learn why all of Motown's female artists' records sounded equally fantastic, as well as recordings by the Four Tops, Jimmy Ruffin, Marvin Gaye, Shorty Long, Edwin Starr, and countless other Motown artists' recordings.[/QUOTE

    [QUOTE][/Motown was on a mission to be #1 and they succeeded beautifully/brilliantly. Had they released material with 2nd-rate, off-key performances, they would have never achieved that. So they used the most professional-sounding voices they had which was The Andantes.QUOTE]

    Nicely stated, Philles. I have always loved and admired Motown productions as much as the singers and musicians. They’re all key to the global success of The Motown Sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    There you go, Kenny! Your last sentence [[following the "gulp") says it all. Motown was on a mission to be #1 and they succeeded beautifully/brilliantly. Had they released material with 2nd-rate, off-key performances, they would have never achieved that. So they used the most professional-sounding voices they had which was The Andantes.
    Actually, the "gulp" was because I was afraid of offending other fans of the groups, like me, who would prefer to hear the real singers in the background even if [[occasionally) they were off key, yes I can admit that!

    I can't pretend when I first heard and bought these records that I had an idea the singers were not all in the Supremes, Vandellas or Marvelettes. But I did notice that the backgrounds got more and more, "antiseptic" sounding. They were, if anything, too polished and too slick for my liking. Amongst the first Motown albums I ever bought was the 2-LP Supremes Greatest Hits, which was probably in the mid-70s, and prior to that time, I heard most of the songs as oldies.

    But the change in sound in the backgrounds became more and more the case as the records and production themselves got more professional and subsequently, slicker sounding, to my ears anyway.

    I know we'll never agree on this, as we rarely do on anything Motown related! But don't worry, guy, I still love ya!
    Last edited by kenneth; 07-17-2022 at 01:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post

    I can't pretend when I first heard and bought these records that I had an idea the singers were not all in the Supremes, Vandellas or Marvelettes. But I did notice that the backgrounds got more and more, "antiseptic" sounding. They were, if anything, too polished and too slick for my liking. Amongst the first Motown albums I ever bought was the 2-LP Supremes Greatest Hits, which was probably in the mid-70s, and prior to that time, I heard most of the songs as oldies.

    But the change in sound in the backgrounds became more and more the case as the records and production themselves got more professional and subsequently, slicker sounding, to my ears anyway.
    When I was a kid, I just assumed that if a record said it was by the Supremes, or the Marvelettes, or the Vandellas, then that's who it was by. As years went on, I began to realize that there were perhaps additional vocalists added but I never thought the group members were actually replaced.

    When I would listen to say, the Marvelettes' Anthology or the Vandellas' Anthology, and I noticed the backup vocalists becoming more polished as the years passed, I figured Motown gave them voice lessons and that's what accounted for the difference in sound.

    That said, I wouldn't change anything about those recordings. And I certainly wouldn't criticize the Andantes for during their job. I do wonder though how the group members themselves felt about such things. Very few besides Mary Wilson and Katherine Schaffner have commented on it.

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    L loved the sound of the original groups the best, esp. the Marvelettes & Martha & the Vandellas. I am an original fan since 1961 & saw them in person. They were GREAT. They were much better before the "Super Club era" and the records were too.

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    @Motony,

    The experts have told this group before that there aren’t any in the vault, but I wish more than anything we had more recordings of the Marvelettes recorded live. I guess if it would be from the Wanda era, it would be considered the supper club era, but you know she’s my favorite singer of all time so that wouldn’t bother me!

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    I saw the Marvelettes LIVE at the end of 1966 on the Otis Redding Tour & Wanda, Gladys & Kat were GREAT.They really tore it up, the audience went wild.

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    @Motony,

    Do you remember how long the set was, or what it might have included? I think we sometimes forget the sets were somewhat shorter then, than they were later.

    The early Marvelettes clips we've seen and heard remind me more of the Contours than the other Motown groups, just more out there and like you say tearing it up, as opposed to most groups trying to sound just like they did on the records. I just love that clip from the Apollo of the Marvs doing "Locking Up My Heart," especially with the lead changes from Gladys to Wanda and the accompanying choreography by the two backup singers. There must be more out there, if someone recorded that song they must have recorded the whole show!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Actually, the "gulp" was because I was afraid of offending other fans of the groups, like me, who would prefer to hear the real singers in the background even if [[occasionally) they were off key, yes I can admit that!

    I can't pretend when I first heard and bought these records that I had an idea the singers were not all in the Supremes, Vandellas or Marvelettes. But I did notice that the backgrounds got more and more, "antiseptic" sounding. They were, if anything, too polished and too slick for my liking. Amongst the first Motown albums I ever bought was the 2-LP Supremes Greatest Hits, which was probably in the mid-70s, and prior to that time, I heard most of the songs as oldies.

    But the change in sound in the backgrounds became more and more the case as the records and production themselves got more professional and subsequently, slicker sounding, to my ears anyway.

    I know we'll never agree on this, as we rarely do on anything Motown related! But don't worry, guy, I still love ya!
    Kenny, I knew what your "gulp" meant! And I'm sure no one was offended by it. When it comes to preferences, it's to each his own. Gotta agree with you about The Marvelettes' live Wanda-era recordings. I've never heard what Wanda; Gladys & Katherine sound like while singing live.. I've seen two videos of them lip-sincing to "Don't Mess With Bill", and I saw two.examples of their choreography which I was impressed by. But I think their live shows have eluded us all. Don't forget, though -- when it comes to Motown, never say never. Even Harry has told us that. Oh, and thanks for the compliment, Buddy. I love ya, too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    When I was a kid, I just assumed that if a record said it was by the Supremes, or the Marvelettes, or the Vandellas, then that's who it was by. As years went on, I began to realize that there were perhaps additional vocalists added but I never thought the group members were actually replaced.

    When I would listen to say, the Marvelettes' Anthology or the Vandellas' Anthology, and I noticed the backup vocalists becoming more polished as the years passed, I figured Motown gave them voice lessons and that's what accounted for the difference in sound.

    That said, I wouldn't change anything about those recordings. And I certainly wouldn't criticize the Andantes for during their job. I do wonder though how the group members themselves felt about such things. Very few besides Mary Wilson and Katherine Schaffner have commented on it.
    Reese, while growing up with Motown and any of its changes as the years went by, I, too, assumed it was the actual group members whose voices had improved as a result of Motown's A&R department. I was never sure about anything until the '80s when the Motown behind-the-scenes books started coming out. It was then that I learned that The Andantes supplemented and sometimes replaced the actual group members. [[I had seen a photo of Kim Weston posed with The Andantes backstage at a live performance, so I was at least aware of their existence, but I don't recall ever putting 2 and 2 together until the '80s.books spelled it out for us.) But, again, I love The Andantes so it was never a problem for me. I do feel empathy, however, for the fans who ended up feeling deceived by it, as I'm sure that was never Motown's intention.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 07-18-2022 at 03:00 AM.

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    Checking out the hundreds upon hundreds of Motown releases featuring The Andantes is both thrilling and amazing. Here are some more:

    CHRIS CLARK:
    "I Want To Go Back There Again"
    https://youtu.be/UNbJU51KvU4

    FANTASTIC FOUR:
    "Just Another Lonely Night"
    https://youtu.be/oleCzHg4CYI

    FOUR TOPS:
    "Without The One You Love"
    https://youtu.be/lc4OJiGF15I

    MARVIN GAYE & KIM WESTON:
    "I Love You [[Yes I Do)"
    https://youtu.be/W62U63zH8lI

    TOMMY GOOD:
    "I've Got To Get Away"
    https://youtu.be/mNwubXVvEGE

    BRENDA HOLLOWAY:
    "Starting The Hurt All Over Again"
    https://youtu.be/bzqR-HjgfxM

    THE MARVELETTES
    "No Time For Tears"
    https://youtu.be/zPWikoyvb_U

    JIMMY RUFFIN:
    "You Gave Me Love"
    https://youtu.be/kdcRsdp6lmo

    MARY WELLS:
    "What's Easy For Two Is So Hard For One"
    https://youtu.be/N8NER6YPTV8

    THE RUFFIN BROTHERS:
    "Stand By Me"
    https://youtu.be/gU83uQOGaLk

    MARVIN GAYE:
    "Change What You Can"
    https://youtu.be/QrNdMUxx-iE

    STEVIE WONDER:
    "I Want My Baby Back"
    https://youtu.be/v3atnWBqXWc

    MARTHA REEVES & THE VANDELLAS:
    "Happiness Is Guaranteed"
    https://youtu.be/8XwexVYz4T0

    KIM WESTON:
    "Take Me In Your Arms [[Rock Me A Little While)"
    https://youtu.be/hSnWqZjIHmw

    CHRIS CLARK:
    "How About You"
    https://youtu.be/3bCG9Skxn

    FOUR TOPS:
    "I'll Never Change"
    https://youtu.be/CaHlM8pn-fw

    BRENDA HOLLOWAY:
    "You Can Cry On My Shoulder"
    https://youtu.be/hiZc2WeB0TM

    FOUR TOPS:
    "Your Love Is Wonderful"
    https://youtu.be/dbW2ZDzg3hI

    MARVIN GAYE:
    "Tear It On Down"
    https://youtu.be/tLwcka9ziNg

    THE VELVELETTES:
    "Love Is Good"
    https://youtu.be/0izI4ckVeew

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