Saturday, May 11, 2019
8:00pm (Doors 7:00pm)
$79, $59, $49

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Mary Wilson of The Supremes with Martha Reeves and The Vandellas

 Motown Mother’s Day Weekend Concert starring Mary Wilson of The Supremes and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas!  With over 50 Top 40 hits between them, Mary Wilson and Martha Reeves are sure to put on an incredible concert featuring songs such as “Baby Love, “Dancing in the Street”, “Stop In The Name of Love”, “Heatwave”, “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Nowhere to Run”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “Jimmy Mack”, “Come See About Me”, and so many more!

Mary Wilson:

Ms. Mary Wilson still performs with the same passion as she did singing with the original Supremes, but the world renowned celebrity is now using her fame and flair to promote humanitarian efforts to end hunger, raise AIDS awareness and encourage world peace.

While Ms. Wilson is best known as a founding member of the world’s most famous female trio – they recorded 12 No.1 hits from 1964 to 1969 – the legendary singer’s career did not stop there, and she continues to soar to untold heights.

Ms. Wilson is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman, former U.S. Cultural Ambassador, the recipient of an Associate Degree from New York University in 2001, and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. In 2007, Ms. Wilson was named international spokeswoman for the Humpty Dumpty Institute, a platform she uses to condemn the death and destruction caused by hidden landmines and unexploded ordnances in less developed countries.

The true of Mary Wilson and The Supremes story began nearly 50 years ago when Ms. Wilson started singing as a teenager while living in Detroit’s Brewster-Douglass Projects. Performing at an elementary school talent showcase, she befriended Florence Ballard. They made a pledge to remember each other if they joined a singing group. The opportunity came in 1959 when Milton Jenkins, the manager of a male singing group, the Primes, decided to organize a spin-off girls’ group. A friend of the Primes, Betty McGlown, was the first person asked, and then Florence Ballard, who invited Ms. Wilson. One of the Primes, Paul Williams, recruited Diane Ross, who just happened to be a neighbor of Ms. Wilson’s, to round out the quartet ‘The Primettes’. After doing many rock and roll DJ shows around the Detroit area, performing songs by popular artists, such as Ray Charles and the drifters, at sock hops, social clubs and talent shows, the Primettes decided to audition for the up and coming Motown record company. Unfortunately Mr. Gordy told them to come back and see him after they all graduated from high school.

Determined to leave an impression on Motown President, Berry Gordy, Jr., and join the stable of rising Motown stars, the Primettes frequented his Hitsville, USA recording studio every day after school. Eventually, they convinced Mr. Gordy to sign them to his label. Much to their surprise Paul Williams and another ’Prime’ member Eddie Kendricks, had joined Otis William & the ’Distants’ to become members of the ‘Temptations’.

Although Gordy signed the girls to his label- it was under one condition, that they changed their name of the group. At this time Betty had left the group and was replaced with Barbara Martin. On January 15th 1961 the Primettes officially became The Supremes. On the day of the signing when Gordy asked them for their new name Florence was the only one who had collected a list of names from her family and friends and chose the ‘Supremes’.

In the spring of 1962, after regarding a few songs for their first album, Barbara Martin left the group to start a family. Thus the newly named Supremes continued as a trio; which to this day remains one of their trademark signatures.

1961 to 1963, the Supremes recorded many songs and released eight singles. At Motown the Supremes were jokingly referred to as the “no-hit Supremes.” But their fate changed dramatically in late 1963 when the song “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes,” written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, peaked at number 23 on the Billboard pop chart. The next year, the Supremes released the single “Where Did Our Love Go,” which reached number one on the U.S. pop charts in August 1964 and number three in the United Kingdom. After that hit, the Supremes released four more number one hits, including: “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop In the Name of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again,” making them the only group to have five consecutive number one hits.  

Their success attracted promotional opportunities. The Supremes were one of the first pop groups of the 1960’s to do commercial endorsements. They endorsed Coca-Cola, Arrid deodorant, and they had their own “Supreme” white bread and brand of wigs.  The Temptations and the Supremes regarded two of the first TV Specials by any Pop stars. TCB and GIT were TV trends that are still popular today for pop artist.  

The year 1967 was pivotal for the group. Mr. Gordy renamed them “Diana Ross and the Supremes”, Ms. Ballard left the group and was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. January 1970 Diana Ross performed for the last time with the Supremes before pursuing a solo career. Ross’ departure left Ms. Wilson as the only original member of the Supremes. Ms. Wilson continued performing with Cindy Birdsong and Jean Terrell as the “New” Supremes, better known today as the “70’s Supremes.”The “New” Supremes scored a number of hits including “Up the Ladder to the Roof” (US number 10, UK number 6), “Stoned Love” (US number 7, UK number 3) and “Nathan Jones” (US number 16, UK number 5). These three singles were also R&B Top Ten hits, with “Stoned Love” becoming their last number one hit in December of 1970. Songwriting/production team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson produced another Top 20 hit for the group, a Supremes/Four Tops version of Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep – Mountain High.”In 1972, the Supremes had their last Top 20 hit single release, “Floy Joy,” written and produced by Smokey Robinson, followed by the final US Top 40 hit, “Automatically Sunshine” with Ms. Wilson on lead vocals, (US number 37, UK number 10).

The 70’s found Mrs. Wilson getting married and starting a family.In June 1977, Ms. Wilson embarked on her own solo career and toured Europe and Asia while raising three new babies. Ms. Wilson has recorded two solo albums, including her self-titled debut in 1979 with the single “Red Hot,” and her 1990 release “Walk the Line.”

Martha Reeves:

t’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.”  

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