The third of 11 children, Martha Reeves was born in Alabama but raised in Detroit, Michigan where she was heavily influenced by the church where her grandfather was minister. She took vocal coaching and formed her singing group the Del-Phis with Annette Beard and Rosalind Ashford while still at school in 1957. Other groups the Sabre-Ettes and The Fascinations followed and they came to the attention of Motown when singing jazz and blues in Detroit night clubs. Reeves hooked up again with the Del-Phis, who then became the Vels and sang back-up vocals on early Marvin Gaye singles until Motown boss Berry Gordy decided to re-fashion them as Martha & the Vandellas. The group had a series of major hits with Quicksand, Nowhere To Run, Jimmy Mack and Honey Chile, achieving their greatest success in 1964 with one of Motown's all-time classics, Dancing In The Street. By the early 1970s, ill-health, drug problems and internal disputes caused the collapse of Martha & the Vandellas with Reeves launching her solo career and a self-titled album in 1974. However, she never matched her success with the Vandellas and effectively stopped recording in the 1980s, though there was a 2004 comeback with the album, Home To You and she has made occasional live appearances since.