Dancing In The Street (1964)

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Martha and the Vandellas, formed in 1960 in Detroit Michigan and fronted by Martha Reeves (born July 18, 1941 in Eufaula, Alabama).

They were the second most-successful girl group on the Motown label, after the Supremes. The name Vandella was said to be a combination of a street that Martha Reeves lived near, Van Dyke Street, and Della Reese, Reeves' favorite singer.

They had 13 Top 40 US hits and and seven Top 40 UK hits, including "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave", "Jimmy Mack", "I'm Ready For Love", "My Baby Loves Me", and "Nowhere to Run".

In 1995, Martha and the Vandellas were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the second girl group to be inducted and the fifth Motown group to be inducted.

"Dancing In The Street" was first introduced to Martha Reeves on a demo sung by one of its writers, Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. April 2, 1939, died April 1, 1984.) At first Reeves didn't like the song, but still decided to modify the melody and record the song, putting herself into it and making it her own.

The sound of the drums, played by Benny Benjamin, was enhanced by Gaye played a second drum set, and by Ivy Jo Hunter, who banged on a crowbar to add to the sound.

The song was recorded in only two takes!

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Dancing In The Street" at #40 on their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

That same year, the original instrumental backing track, along with many other Motown tracks, was officially released as part of  the collection Motown Master Recordings: Original Artist Karaoke - Dancing in the Street.

On April 12, 2006, it was announced that Martha and the Vandellas' version of "Dancing in the Street" would be preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry.

Release date: July 21, 1964

Chart position: #2 (US), #28 (UK).

When it was re-released in 1969, it reached #4 (UK).

It was kept from #1 in the US in October 1964 by "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (Manfred Mann).

The Top Ten Songs: October 24, 1964 (US Billboard Hot 100).
  1. "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (Manfred Mann)
  2. "Dancing in the Street" (Martha and the Vandellas)
  3. "Last Kiss" (J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers)
  4. "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" (Gale Garnett)
  5. "Oh, Pretty Woman" (Roy Orbison)
  6. "Baby Love" (Supremes)
  7. "A Summer Song" (Chad and Jeremy)
  8. "Let It Be Me" (Betty Everett and Jerry Butler)
  9. "When I Grow Up to Be a Man" (Beach Boys)
  10. "Have I the Right?" (Honeycombs)

Written by: Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter and William "Mickey" Stevenson.

Gaye was ranked at #19 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artists of All Time.

Stevenson wrote such songs as "It Takes Two", "Ask the Lonely", "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", "My Baby Loves Me", "Devil with the Blue Dress", "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", and "Stubborn Kind of Fellow".

The song was originally conceived by Stevenson as a ballad, in the attic of his house. When Gaye read the words, he thought that it sounded more like a dance song. It was intended for Stevenson's wife Kim Weston to record the song. Weston passed on it, however, and so the song was presented to Reeves.

Also by: David Bowie and Mick Jagger, whose version, with all profits going to the Live Aid charity, was a big hit. It reached #7 (US) and was at the #1 spot for 4 weeks in the UK in 1985.

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