Before settling on the name Martha & The Vandellas, the group had two record deals prior to finding a home on Motown's Gordy imprint. The act had a much grittier vocal styling than other sweet, sounding Motown girl groups such as The Supremes.
Original Motown lineup: Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard and Martha Reeves
Previously Known As: The Del-Phis, The Vels
Biggest Hits: "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave," "Nowhere To Run," "Jimmy Mack" and "Dancing In The Street"
Style: Soul, doo wop, blues, rock
Label: Checker Records, Checkmate Records, Gordy
Bragging Rights: Pre-Martha & The Vandellas members sang background vocals on Marvin Gaye's first hit, "Stubborn Kind Of Fellow." The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995. Their song "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave" was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group. In 1970, they released the song "I Should Be Proud," which protested the war and marked Motown's first political song. Reeves served on Detroit's city council from 2005 to 2009.
The Supremes are the spotlight group this month in Yahoo! Music's Best Soul Girl Groups Of All Time tribute for Black Music Month. A different act will be profiled everyday. The list includes African American women from a variety of genres — R&B, pop, gospel and rap — who were trailblazers and paved the way for those who followed.