Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street

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Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street

Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Street

Motown R&B

The song was written by shapers of the Mowton sound Marvin Gaye, William”Mickey” Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunter.  Martha and the Vandellas recorded it on the Gordy label , and in 1964 it went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #4 in the U.K. It was released on their 15 album titled Dance Party. “Dancing in the Street” was preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry.  The song took on double meanings during those turbulent 60s, as it was just a simple “let’s get up and dance” song as well as a civil rights anthem with a call to protest. For example, H.Rap Brown would play the song while organizing demonstrations.

On the track were Martha Reeves (lead vocals) with background vocals by Betty Kelly, Rosalind Ashford, Williams “Mickey” Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunger. Instrumentation was provided by the fabulous Motown Funk Brothers, which in this case were Marvin Gaye (drums); James Jamerson (bass guitar); Jack Ashford and Ivy Jo Hunter (percussion); Henry Cosby and Thomas “Beans” Bowles (sax); Russ Conway and Herbert Williams (trumpet); Paul Riser and George Bohannon (trombone); and Robert White, Eddie “Chank” Willis, and Joe Messina (guitar).

The song has been covered by numerous artists, including The Mamas & The Papas, Van Halen, “David Bowie and Mick Jagger (duet), The Kinks, The Everly Brothers, The Graeful Dead, and Black Oak Arkansas, among others.

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Here are the lyrics to “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas:

Calling out around the world,
Are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right
For dancing in the street.
They’re dancing in Chicago,
Down in New Orleans,
In New York City.

All we need is music, sweet music.
There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing,
Dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear,
Just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl.
Everywhere around the world
They’ll be dancing.
They’re dancing in the street.

It’s an invitation across the nation,
A chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging,
Dancing in the street.
Philadelphia, P.A.
Baltimore and D.C. now.
Can’t forget the Motor City.

All we need is music, sweet music.
There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing,
Dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear,
Just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl.
Everywhere around the world
They’re dancing.
They’re dancing in the street.

Way down in L.A. ev’ry day,
They’re dancing in the street.
(Dancing in the street.)
Let’s form a big, strong line, get in time,
We’re dancing in the street.
(Dancing in the street.)
Across the ocean blue, me and you,
We’re dancing in the street.

For another song by Martha and the Vadellas: “Heat Wave,” which is on Pass the Paisley’s sister site The Daily Doo Wop.

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas.

1 Comment

  1. […] another song by Martha and the Vandellas: “Dancing in the Street,” which is on The Daily Doo Wop’s sister site Pass the […]

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