Motown Legends Return to the Crib

Motown stars the Original Vandellas are unsure why Martha Reeves led the group, or even where their name came from.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

An old saying goes…you cannot go back home again.

But sometimes you can, even if your home is Hitsville USA.

That’s where the classic song “Heat Wave” and many others were recorded by the legendary Motown group Martha and the Vandellas.

WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter met with the original Vandellas part of the group, singers known at the time by their maiden names Rosalind Ashford and Annette Beard, at the studios now known as the Motown Museum for a musical history lesson.

Martha and the Vandellas had a string of big hits.

But while the group was topping the charts, the Vandellas were having something of a falling out with lead singer Martha Reeves.

Beard says the group initially had a different lead singer, Gloria Williams, and Reeves was supposed to be one member of a band, not the front person.

The group earned both hits and accolades, despite the acrimony. And it still does. Rolling Stone magazine named Martha and the Vandellas one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Beard and Ashford now tour separately from Reeves under the name “The Original Vandellas.” They took WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter on a trip back to the beginning.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.