Lexington, MA – Spectacle Management is proud to present the Legendary Ladies of Motown featuring Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and Mary Wilson of The Supremes on Sunday, April 22 at 3pm at Cary Memorial Hall in Lexington. From “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Where Did Out Love Go” to “Heat Wave” and “Dancing in the Street,” Mary Wilson of The Supremes and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas reign today as two of Motown’s most beloved singers, with 14 Billboard #1 singles, seven Billboard #1 albums, and 42 top ten singles between them. This will be a magical event: Together, Wilson and Reeves bring an entire kaleidoscope of Motown music memories in one rich afternoon of performance. Tickets for the Legendary Ladies of Motown featuring Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and Mary Wilson of The Supremes at Cary Memorial Hall in Lexington on Sunday, April 22 at 3pm are $59-$99 and go on sale Friday, March 2 at 10am at www.caryhalllexington.com or by calling 617-531-1257.
It was a vision of musical stardom as a Detroit teen that inspired Mary Wilson, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, to found one of the most successful female singing groups in recording history – The Supremes. Since then, Wilson has written a best-selling autobiography, performed on stage and screen, lectured and toured the world, and continues to be looked up to as a singer who set the standard for females in the recording industry.
This past summer, Wilson performed a number of consecutive shows at Feinstein’s at the Regency, New York’s premiere supper club. In her “Mary Wilson: Up Close” show, she wowed audiences with an intimate selection of standards and easy-listening tunes that showcased her smoky voice and vocal prowess. Wilson closed the season at the prestigious nightclub, which The New York Post called “an invaluable New York institution.”
As an original Supreme, Wilson was a much sought-after interview regarding the award-winning film, DREAMGIRLS. After covering the red carpet premiere for “Extra,” she endeared herself to a whole new generation of Hollywood stars and fans alike, including Golden Globe winners Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, as well as Jamie Foxx, BEYONCE and Snoop Dogg! The success of DREAMGIRLS has also rekindled interest in Wilson’s best-selling autobiography, DreamGirl: My Life as a Supreme.
In addition to her tireless performing and trips to the studio to record her new album, Wilson, along with The Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Friends Against Musical Exploitation, is lobbying state governments to pass a bill prohibiting bogus musical groups from cashing in on the names and likeness of such famous acts as The Supremes and Four Tops. Wilson and company have proposed an amendment to the Truth in Advertising Act (1968) that would prevent such groups from performing under such classic bands’ names unless they contained an original member or had specific licenses to do so. Wilson’s goal is to garner enough state support to lobby Congress to pass a federal law. “We have given America and the world happiness with our music; it’s time that we have a law that protects us and our legacy,” Wilson states.
Tireless in her contributions to charity and society at large, Wilson was recently named as a spokesperson for The Humpty Dumpty Institute’s initiative to raise public awareness about the worldwide scourge of landmines. As HDI’s Mine Action Spokesperson, Wilson traveled to Sri Lanka and then Laos this past fall, visiting schools impacted by unexploded ordnance left over from the Vietnam War. After helping to detonate 58 bombs and declaring safe zones, she held a charity concert in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In addition, Wilson addressed the annual conference of the US Department of Agriculture on Food Security. In early summer, she will travel to Vietnam and visit the mine action program.
In 2003 Wilson was named a US Cultural Ambassador by US Secretary of State Colin Powell as part of a “Culture Connect” program. The goal was to improve cross-cultural understanding internationally. As such, she undertook missions to Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Asia and South America on behalf of the US Department of State. Wilson was also recently awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Paine College in Augusta, GA.
While growing up in Detroit’s Brewster Projects, her love for singing blossomed when she befriended Florence Ballard, Betty McGlown and Diane Ross at age 13. Fueled by their mutual love of music and their ambition for stardom, the quartet formed a singing group, The Primettes, and became the sister group of The Primes, who saw two members go on to form The Temptations. Together they auditioned for the then fledgling Motown label and were eventually signed. Betty and her replacement Barbara, both dropped out of the group, and the remaining trio of Mary, Flo and Diane became known as The Supremes.
At first, success eluded the girls, who recorded several albums before getting their first hit. In fact, they were dubbed the “No-Hit Supremes” until Motown founder Berry Gordy put them in touch with his top writing and producing team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. Four decades and 40 albums later, what once started as a dream has exceeded beyond Wilson’s wildest imagination. With an unprecedented 12 number-one hits, including five in a row – “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Stop, In The Name Of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again” – The Supremes set the precedent for super group success.
Wilson worked hard to keep the dream alive even after Florence and Diana left the group. In 1970, Berry Gordy brought in Jean Terrell to replace Ross, with Cindy Birdsong having replaced Florence Ballard. Together, they formed The New Supremes, racking up three top 10 hits [“Up The Ladder To The Roof”, “Stoned Love”, and “River Deep, Mountain High” (with the Four Tops)].
To this day Wilson continues to tour under the moniker of Mary Wilson of The Original Supremes, and has performed for handfuls of celebrities and politicians all over the world, including The Clintons at The White House
Throughout the late 70s and 80s, Mary hit the lecture circuit to tell her amazing story. She still lectures to this day, her “Dare To Dream” circuit including such organizations at American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, UNICEF and many more. Wilson eventually put her story to print, becoming a best-selling author with her autobiography, DreamGirl…My Life As A Supreme. DreamGirl went on to sell over 250,000 copies in hardback, becoming one of the most successful rock and roll autobiographies of all time.
The overwhelming success of that first book prompted Wilson to pen its sequel, Supreme Faith…Someday We’ll Be Together. Currently, The third book by Mary Wilson combines the first two books with additional updated chapters. Throughout her career, Mary Wilson has had the privilege and pleasure of performing all over the world. Royalty requested many of her performances with The Supremes, such as for Britain’s Queen Mother as well as for the King of Sweden. In 2000, Wilson had the prestigious honor of performing at the White House for the Millennium Celebration as well as two inaugural dinners held in President Bush’s honor.
In 1988, The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, receiving the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, which Wilson personally accepted. Seven years later, the Hall launched an exhibit of the “Supremes” gowns for the museum’s opening in Cleveland, Ohio called The Supremes Reflections: The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection. Wilson had been personally archiving the gowns for years. The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection, including the Butterfly dresses worn on their 1968 television special, is currently on tour in the United Kingdom.
With a successful solo career – and new CD out this spring – an equally successful literary career and her tireless humanitarian efforts, Mary’s future couldn’t look brighter. She is living proof that dreams really do come true! For more on Mary Wilson, please visit www.marywilson.com.
It’s been more than 50 years since Martha Reeves first boarded that rented bus along with the likes of The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes and Marvin Gaye on the first Motown Review. She and her backup group, the Vandellas, sang behind Marvin and soon hit the charts with their own trifecta: “Come and Get These Memories,” “Love is Like a Heat Wave,” and “Quicksand.” Over the next decade, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas would be a constant presence on the music charts, as well as on television and top venues across the US and abroad.
With the unmistakable voice that helped define “the sound of young America,” Reeves reigns today as one of music’s most beloved and acclaimed female singers. On stage, she is a live wire: dancing, strutting, keeping the beat with her trusty tambourine and keeping audiences on their feet as they dance down Memory Lane. Whether performing solo or with the Vandellas, Martha Reeves continues to heat up clubs, concert stages and music festivals, thrilling audiences across the globe, and always leaving them dancing. In 2012, she returned to the Billboard charts with her Top 25 hit, “I’m Not Leaving,” recorded with techno DJ duo The Crystal Method, and returned to the Howard Theatre – site of the very first Motown Revue show – for its grand re-opening. She capped 2013 with a 13-city sold-out solo tour of the UK. Her 2014 “Calling Out Around the World Tour,” commemorated the 50th anniversary of the release of “Dancing in the Street.” In 2017, she celebrates 50 years of calling for “Jimmy Mack” to come back.
Reeves’ hits are the thing of legend: In addition to the aforementioned, they include the gospel-tinged “Nowhere to Run,” the classic soul favorite “My Baby Loves Me,” the pop anthem “Jimmy Mack,” and her signature, “Dancing In The Street.” While best known for up-tempo, hard driving tunes, Reeves’ shows are often highlighted by jazzy renderings of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child,” her driving original blues “Watch Your Back” (both included in her self-produced CD “Home to You”), and the perennial showstopper, “Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things.”
Martha’s story is a familiar one to legions of fans.
Soon after graduating from high school, she performed in clubs as “Martha Lavaille.” One night, Motown A&R director Mickey Stevenson heard her and invited her to audition for the then-fledgling label. The highly-motivated Reeves arrived the next morning. Upon learning that auditions had to be scheduled, she made herself valuable by answering phones and taking messages. When people say she started at Motown as a secretary, Reeves corrects them, laughing, “I was never a secretary. I was a singer who could type.”
Reeves soon become an invaluable administrator, interacting with musicians and performers, scheduling sessions, and making sure that business was taken care of. And she waited her turn to sing. One day, when Mary Wells missed a session, Martha stepped up to the mic and got notice and a contract. She left the A/R department to become one of Motown’s most enduring and beloved stars.
As classics never fade, new and diverse audiences are constantly being introduced to the Martha Reeves songbook.
She has counted talents as diverse as James Brown and Beverly Sills among her singing partners. Robin Williams spun “Nowhere to Run” in Good Morning, Vietnam. Her version of the Van Morrison rocker, “Wild Night” was featured on the Thelma and Louise movie soundtrack. The boys in The Boys In The Band and Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 partied to “Heat Wave.” Everyone from Mick Jagger and David Bowie, the Mamas and the Papas, Dusty Springfield and the Grateful Dead have gone “Dancing In The Street.” Singers such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch and Jennifer Hudson sing her praises. A few years ago, Will Smith and the producers of the movie Hitch mined Martha’s vault of unreleased recordings to find her sublime “It’s Easy (To Fall In Love With a Guy Like You).” Melanie Fiona sampled “Jimmy Mack” in her hit, “Please Don’t Go (Cry Baby).”
Moving beyond the confines of the concert stage, Reeves starred in a US tour of the Tony-winning “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, and has performed in road shows of “The Jackie Wilson Story” and “Good Black Don’t Crack.” She co-starred for three seasons in the UK stage review “Dancing In The Street,” alongside Motown peers like the late Edwin Starr, Mary Wilson, and Freda Payne. Following Starr’s death in 2003, Reeves held the spotlight alone. That same year, she made her opera debut singing with the Motor City Lyric Opera.
Reeves is the recipient of the Dinah Washington Award, a Rhythm n’ Blues Foundation Pioneer Award, a Black Woman in Publishing Legends Award, and has been inducted in the Alabama, Soul, Rock and Roll, and Vocal Group halls of fame. “Dancing in the Street” has been entered into the Library of Congress Registry of Historical Recordings and the Grammy Hall of Fame. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas are listed among Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Immortal Artists” and Martha herself was named one of the “30 Top Lead Singers of all Time.”
From 2005-2009, Martha served on the Detroit City Council, as an advocate for the city’s seniors and fighting for the Motor City’s educational and economic future. She continues to be an international ambassador for Detroit, making sure that you “can’t forget the Motor City.”
Tickets for the Legendary Ladies of Motown featuring Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and Mary Wilson of The Supremes at Cary Memorial Hall in Lexington on Sunday, April 22 at 3pm are $59-$99 and go on sale Friday, March 2 at 10am at www.caryhalllexington.com or by calling 617-531-1257.
CARY MEMORIAL HALL
The Cary Memorial Building is a historic structure located in Lexington Center at 1605 Massachusetts Avenue. The Cary Memorial Building, named for Isaac Harris Cary, was built in 1928 with a donation from his two daughters. The Colonial styled building, with its grand auditorium, has provided the community with a year-round site for musical programming and popular events for eighty years and is home to the Lexington Symphony. The building is handicapped accessible, and is fully air-conditioned. www.caryhalllexington.com
Spectacle Management is a full-service booking, marketing and promotion company with offices in Boston and Lexington. For more information, please contact Pete Lally, firstname.lastname@example.org and 617-531-1257.www.spectacleshows.com