Today, a huge Martha and the Vandellas hit co-written by Marvin Gaye

Gaye along with songwriter William Stevenson came up with the idea of “Dancing In The Streets” by Martha And The Vandellas on summer day while driving through the city of Detroit. On hot days, the city would open fire hydrants so people could play in the water to cool off. The who appear to be dancing in the water.

During the recording of the track, another writer, Ivory Hunter wanted add a unique sound, so he went and grabbed a crow bar from his car. As they rolled for another take on the track he would slam the crow bar on the concrete floor of the studio on the downbeat, thus creating one of the most distinctive drum beats in music history.

ap641103052 Martha And The Vandellas: Behind The Hits

(AP Photo)

Martha Reeves, at the time, was a secretary (and aspiring singer). She would also sing lyrics to new songs onto tapes so singers could learn the words. Motown execs liked her voice and let her and her former band mate record as a trio. After backing up Marvin Gaye on a few his songs, they gave them a shot at recording some of the their own songs.

Motown first offered Dancing In The Streets to Mary Wells, but she turned it down.


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