Updated: Tuesday, 11th August 2020 @ 9:23am

Gig preview: Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ Gorilla

Gig preview: Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ Gorilla

By Marios Papaloizou

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas are bona fide Motown legends who have a résumé of hits that have had dance floors moving across the world since the 60s.

With classics like Heatwave, Nowhere to run, Jimmy Mack, and Dancing in the Street, their set at Gorilla this Saturday is sure to be a festivity of soul-lined rhythm and blues.

The veterans will perform with an eight piece live band that will ensure a vivacious performance in one of Manchester’s most exciting venues.

Formed in Detroit in 1960, they signed to the world famous Motown Records – yet Martha Reeves had initially been employed by Motown as a secretary. 

The group, originally called The Vels, would occasionally sing backing vocals for artists such as the emerging Marvin Gaye, but when My Guy star Mary Wells failed to show for a recording session, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas took their chance. 

They instantly charmed Motown records owner Berry Gordy and were signed on the spot.

Between 1964 to 1968, they enjoyed continued success around the globe but in-fighting, illness, financial issues and changes of personnel both within the group and within Motown Records itself, took its toll.

Since their discovery, Reeves played an enormous role in the development of one of American music’s most influential sounds.

Reeves and the Vandellas were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.

As well as being included into the Grammy Hall of Fame, Dancing in the Street is one of the most covered songs in rock 'n' roll history.

There are very few acts in the music industry that come under the category of ‘unmissable’, but for fans of Motown and soul music Martha Reeves and the Vandellas is certainly one.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas play at Gorilla on August 10.

Image courtesy of Bengt Nyman via Flickr, with thanks.

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