DANCING IN THE STREET: Confessions of a Motown Diva by Martha & Mark Bego Reeves

DANCING IN THE STREET: Confessions of a Motown Diva

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A less-than-average celebrity memoir of the averagely famous Motown singer, written with the coauthor of Micky Dolenz's I'm a Believer (1993). Reeves scored hits with the anthemic ""Dancing in the Street,"" the rollicking ""Heat Wave,"" and the gutsy ""Nowhere to Run (Nowhere to Hide)."" Her father was a sharecropper and, like many Southern blacks, brought his family to Detroit after WW II in search of a better life. In high school, Reeves formed the Del-Phis, and they cut one local single. When she lucked into a job as a secretary at fledgling Motown Records, she began working as a background singer with two of her friends; the trio was soon renamed Martha and the Vandellas. They toured with the first ""Motortown Revue""; Reeves tells of performing for a segregated house in the South: ""We [sang] all of the songs twice; once in one direction, and the same song about-face."" She crossed paths with many Motown legends, from Marvin Gaye (whom the Vandellas accompanied on many early recordings) to Mary Wells, the Temptations, and Smokey Robinson, but tells little about their personalities or their music. Those hoping for catty details of how young ""Diane"" Ross pushed her way into the spotlight will find only the occasional crumb. ""Diane [stole] onstage adlibs from everyone,"" Reeves complains, going on to assert that the Supremes once copied the Vandellas' gowns, forcing them to quickly come up with new outfits. She gives only a sketchy description of her descent into pill addiction and the bad LSD trip that precipitated a late-'60s nervous breakdown. Her ""comeback"" in the '80s and '90s has mostly consisted of rehashing her old hits. Motown historians will glean little new about Reeves's life; fans of the kiss-and-tell genre will be disappointed by the dearth of dirt.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1994
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Hyperion