Lead singer of 1960s group Martha & The Vandellas.
Originally the A&R secretary at Hitsville USA, (Motown's offices/studio), Martha was called in to do "I'll Have To Let Him Go" when Mary Wells proved too ill to appear for the recording session.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of Martha & The Vandellas) in 1995.
Martha & The Vandellas ranked #56 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll.
In 1963, Reeves began work on a song called "Spellbound", which was written specifically for her by legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson, and was to be a follow-up to the Vandellas' No. 1 hit "Heatwave". Part of the backing track and full vocals were completed in mid-63, then the rest of the music finished and mixed in late December, 1965. The song, however, was vaulted as a result of Motown founder, Berry Gordy's fixation on new sensation, The Supremes, and his interest in popularizing their growing career. The song has been widely talked about for years, even gone as far as to being bootlegged on various European CDs; however in poor quality. When inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Reeves specifically requested this song be issued. As of March, 2005, Hip-O Select released the song on a double-CD anthology with the title of the song, that contains completely unreleased material.
Shares a birthday with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dion DiMucci.
Has one son, Eric (b. 1970)
Aside from the recordings which were released by Martha & The Vandellas, 148 plus two of her own Motown solo recordings remained vaulted. In recent years, Reeves' two solo songs, plus 50 of the unreleased "Vandellas" tracks have surfaced. Only 95 remain in the vaults.
Wrote a song called "Love Blind" about her abusive with Gerard, the father of her son, Eric. The song is a high collectors item, and was released as a promotional single in 1975, to catapult her up-and-coming album "The Rest of My Life." The song - like the album - was not given the push it needed as a result of producer and label owner Clive Davis not liking the fact that Reeves sang in different keys that he had wanted. Nonetheless, "Love Blind" managed to charted in the Hot100 on both the R&B Billboard and Cashbox. On Billboard it charted on May 31, 1975, peaking at #61 and staying on for six weeks. On Cashbox it peaked at #72, charting June 7, 1975; staying on for four weeks.
Martha's first solo endeavor, her self-tiled album for MCA is now considered a collectible classic by avid fans, as well an important growing legend in the music industry. The album took all of 1973 and part of 1974 to be completed, intending to be 'the' piece which was to launch Reeves as a superstar; being produced by legendary and often-regarded music genius Richard Perry. At the time, it held the record for being the first album to be the most expensive ever in the industry, ranking in a high $250,000 dollars. However, due to bad promotive control on MCA staff, the album sank into obscurity, despite having positive reviews. One song in particular, "I've Got to Use My Imagination," was to have originally been the first single pressed, but a sudden change prompted MCA officials to pull the song before its debut; leaving Gladys Knight & The Pips able to record their now famous cover. Another poignant song is Martha's infamous cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night," which, only peaking at a mere #74 when released, has become a classic. It was not only used as the theme to "Thelma & Louise," but has since become the signature opener to Reeves' life performances. On Christmas Eve of 1997, See for Miles released the long-out-of-print record on CD, however soon pulled its distribution. As of July 22nd, 2005, reissue label Hip-O Select has released a limited edition of the album, with only 5,000 copies being printed. As a bonus, the album was remastered and restored to its entirety; adding three songs which were to have been include on the original release. Two previously unreleased, and one b-side single.
Recorded another album in 1975, after her 1974 debut for MCA. The album, which is titled "Rainbow," is extremely hard to find; both the original pressings, and the alternately-titled re-issue. The album was not promoted well, and it did not help that the label (which only a few who own the album know by name) folded shortly after its release. In 1982 Phonorama acquired the licensing for the tracks, and re-titled the album "Dancin' in the Street" based on the fact that Martha re-recorded her famous hit for the project. The 1982 re-issue copies go for anywhere as high as $600, while the rare original pressings go $1,000 or more. Those who are avid fans of Reeves have debated it to be her best album ever.
Nobody could sing like David Ruffin.
(May 2005) Still lives in Detroit. Is a candidate for the Detroit City Council.
(November 2005) Won the election for a Detroit City Council seat. Will serve a 4 year term on the City Council starting January 2006.
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