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African-American Women in Rock: Martha & the Vandellas

This is a guide to various resources at the Library and Archives that may be valuable to teachers who need resources relating to African-American women in rock and roll for use in their classrooms.

Martha & the Vandellas

Promo photo of Martha and the VandellasThe brazen Motown girl group with an unyielding R&B edge.

Martha and the Vandellas were the Supremes' tougher, more grounded counterpart. With her cheeky, fervent vocals, Martha Reeves led the group in a string of dance anthems that are irresistible to this day. From the outset, Martha Reeves’ voice possessed an earthy, direct quality that distinguished her from other female singers—such as sultry Mary Wells or demure Diana Ross—at Motown. Her voice bore the righteous fervor of gospel and the flinty edginess of rhythm & blues, which, combined with Motown’s stylized pop-soul approach, made for a compelling package. Together with her backup singers, the Vandellas, Reeves recorded a classic run of singles in the mid-Sixties, most of them composed by the songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. More on





Image from the Rosalind Ashford-Holmes Collection on Martha and the Vandellas


Martha & the Vandellas on YouTube

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