Listen: The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game / The Marvelletes MarvelettesHunter.mp3
I loved The Supremes, who didn’t? But there’s something about the underdogs that make them even more appealing to me. Happens every time.
I guess The Rolling Stones (who I always preferred) were considered second to The Beatles for a while there; and then The Pretty Things to The Stones. Or as I mentioned in an earlier post, Inez & Charlie Foxx to Ike & Tina Turner.
Like Martha & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes were certainly playing second fiddle, at best, to The Supremes over at Motown. There’s a terrific book CALLING OUT AROUND THE WORLD / A MOTOWN READER by Kingsley Abbott, detailing (and I mean detailing) those heydays of Motown. It describes the songwriting rivalries, struggles for priorities, everything. It’s a fascinating read. According to Kingsley, William Robinson, or Smokey as we know him, was always under appreciated by Berry Gordy. Even when coming off of a hit, Smokey’d be starting over. Marvin Gaye too. The girl groups were in a constant struggle to get first dibs on the strongest new songs. It’s why Mary Wells left the fold – well at least according to this book.
In the case of The Marvelettes, there were few occasions when they got those gems. Like ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game’ (another Smokey composition), many of The Marvelettes releases had a slight darkness to them – not quite as glistening with all the pop flash that those Supremes singles packed, hence their cult appeal? Probably.
Listen: I’ll Keep Holding On / The Marvelletes MarvelettesHoldingOn.mp3
Let’s face it – The Marvelettes were hip. Hats off to The Action for the brave and triumphant cover of ‘I’ll Keep Holding On’
Listen: My Baby Must Be A Magician / The Marvelettes MarvelettesMagician.mp3
And thank you to Tony King for generously giving me the UK promocopy of ‘My Baby Must Be A Magician’ pictured above.