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Sandra Tilley (May 6, 1943 – September 9, 1981) was an American R&B and soul singer, known for being a member of Motown girl groups the Velvelettes and Martha and the Vandellas. She was a native of Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents were both ex-Vaudeville dancers who were killed in an auto accident when she was a baby, and she was raised by her grandmother.
Tilley joined the Velvelettes after one of the original members of the group left in 1966. She left the group to replace original Vandellas member Rosalind Ashford in 1969. Although her picture was on the cover of Sugar 'n' Spice, released in February 1970, it is unlikely she sang on the album. The first song she recorded with the Vandellas was "Something", which appeared originally on the 1970 album Natural Resources. She sang on the chart hit "Bless You", "Your Loves Makes It All Worthwhile" and the album Black Magic before the group splintered altogether following a farewell tour in 1972.
Tilley's highlights as a Vandellas member included performing at the Copacabana in New York with Judy Garland and F. Lee Bailey in the audience. She also toured the UK with the group when "Forget Me Not" became a top ten hit in the UK in 1970. Other highlights include appearances she made with the group on various television programs including The Mike Douglas show and popular dance show, Soul Train.
Death and legacy
Tilley retired from the music industry and got married in July 1972. She developed a brain tumor, and died after brain aneurysm surgery was performed at a hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1981, at the age of 38. She had no children, and was survived by her husband and grandmother.
In 1995, she was posthumously inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Vandellas.
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed May 2010
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 240. CN 5585.