Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford and Annette Sterling started singing together at their Detroit high school as The Del-Phis.
Martha and her friends began to work regularly in the studio as backing vocalists for various Motown acts.
The Vandellas own career got underway when the Holland/Dozier/Holland team furnished them with a string of perfect soul rockers which kept them bubbling for eight years, scoring six Top 10 hits including Heatwave, Quicksand, Dancing In The Street and Nowhere To Run.
Their 1967 hit Jimmy Mack was written by Holland/Dozier/Holland as a tribute to recently deceased songwriter Ronnie Mack, who penned He’s So Fine for The Chiffons.
It was recorded in 1964 but was shelved because the quality control folk at Motown thought it sounded too similar to recent releases by The Supremes and because they thought it might upset the wives and loved ones of soldiers currently serving in Vietnam. The record was finally issued in 1967.
Betty Kelly replaced Annette and was herself replaced by Martha’s sister Lois. But the group were unable to recapture the magic after Martha herself left The Vandellas in 1971.