The Andantes

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The Andantes
Origin Detroit, Michigan,
United States
Genres Pop, R&B, soul, psychedelic soul, doo-wop, disco
Years active 1958 - 1973; 1989 - 1992
Labels Motown
Associated acts Martha and the Vandellas, Four Tops, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, The Supremes
Past members Jackie Hicks (1958-1973; 1989-1992)
Marlene Barrow (1958-1973; 1989-1992)
Louvain Demps (1961-1973; 1989-1992)
Emily Phillips (1958-1961)
Pat Lewis (1989-1992)

The Andantes were a prolific female sessions group for the Motown record label during the 1960s. Composed of Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps,[1] the group sang background vocals on numerous Motown recordings, including songs by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Jimmy Ruffin, Edwin Starr, The Supremes, The Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, among others. Barrow also substituted for Florence Ballard of The Supremes in concert on several occasions.

The Andantes provided back-up singing on Motown singles starting in 1962. The group was most prominently used on all of the Four Tops' Holland–Dozier–Holland-produced hits, including "Baby I Need Your Loving", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)", "Reach Out I'll Be There", and more. The Andantes were used as vocal substitutes for Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong on many of The Supremes' recordings done in 1968 and 1969. They were also called upon to overdub and smooth out The Marvelettes' background vocals records beginning in 1965 and replaced them completely in the studio by 1967. The final Marvelettes album, The Return of The Marvelettes, was recorded by Marvelette Wanda Young with the Andantes, not her groupmates, on backgrounds.[citation needed]

In 1963, The Andantes, with The Marvelettes released the single "Too Hurt to Cry, Too Much in Love to Say Goodbye" b/w "Come on Home" as credited to The Darnells. In 1964 they released a single of their own called "(Like A) Nightmare" b/w "If You Were Mine", though none of the actual Andantes sang lead on either track (future Marvelette Ann Bogan performed the lead vocals).

The Andantes are also featured on some records that were not produced by Motown Records, the most prominent example being Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (Pat Lewis substitutes for Louvain Demps on this track).


Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, The Andantes appeared as backing vocalists on many of Motown's recorded singles, as The Funk Brothers also had when providing instrumentation. Five of these singles that they provided background vocals for would go on to chart at the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 popular music chart.

Chart-topping Hits

Brenda Holloway

The Andantes appeared on many singles for Brenda Holloway. These include:

Four Tops

The Andantes appeared as backing vocalists on 14 singles for the Four Tops. These releases include:

Diana Ross & the Supremes

They appeared as backing vocalists on seven singles for Diana Ross & the Supremes. These releases include:

Martha & the Vandellas

They appeared as backing vocalists on seven singles for Martha & the Vandellas. These releases include:

The Marvelettes

They appeared as backing vocalists on 14 singles for the Marvelettes. These releases include:

The Temptations

They appeared as backing vocalists on four recordings for the Temptations.

  • "It's Growing"
  • "Last One Out is Broken Hearted"
  • "Just Another Lonely Night"
  • "That'll Be The Day"

Marvin Gaye

They appeared as backing vocalists on (at least) 15 singles for Marvin Gaye. These releases include:

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

They also appeared as backing vocalists on these following recordings and singles for Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell:

  • "This Poor Heart Of Mine"
  • "Give In, You Just Can't Win"
  • "When Love Comes Knocking At My Heart"
  • "Two Can Have A Party"
  • "Come On And See Me"
  • "Oh How I'd Miss You"
  • "Love Woke Me Up This Morning"

<^ Clemente, John (2000). Girl Groups -- Fabulous Females That Rocked The World. Iola, Wisc. Krause Publications. pp. 276. ISBN 0-87341-816-6. ^ Clemente, John (2013). Girl Groups -- Fabulous Females Who Rocked The World. Bloomington, IN Authorhouse Publications. pp.623. ISBN 978-1-4772-7633-4 (sc); ISBN 978-1-4772-8128-4 (e).>

Motorcity Records[edit]

As part of the Ian Levine's Motorcity Records project in the late 1980s and early 1990s, The Andantes were signed to the label and once again provided a service in recording backing vocals to former Motown artists. By this time, Pat Lewis had joined Jackie, Marlene and Louvain (from 1989–1992). The women had not worked together in a number of years, although all had been busy providing demo and backing vocals for numerous artists on various labels.

Levine also recorded several songs with The Andantes, issuing a new single "Lightning Never Strikes Twice", which featured Louvain Demps on lead vocals. Most other songs recorded by the group at Motorcity had Pat Lewis on lead vocals.

Motorcity Recordings[edit]

Original Recordings

  • "Lightning Never Strikes Twice"
  • "Hurricane"
  • "Throw Love Away"
  • "Step Into My Shoes" - also recorded by Martha Reeves and The Vandellas
  • "Two Sides Of Love"
  • "One Drop Of Rain"
  • "Will You Always Be There"
  • "Love Is A Bumpy Road"
  • "All Around The Motorcity"

Cover Versions

  • "Girls Are Out To Get You"
  • "Superstition"
  • "Mercy, Mercy Me"
  • "I Wish" - cover of the Stevie Wonder classic
  • "My World Is Empty Without You"
  • "The Boss"
  • "Last Dance"
  • "Little Darlin'"
  • "Why Am I Loving You"

Unreleased Tracks

  • "Back In My Arms Again"
  • "In And Out Of Love"
  • "I Wish It Would Rain"
  • "Waste of Time" (Instrumental only)

Louvain Demps - Better Times

Whilst under contract to Motorcity Records, Louvain was given the opportunity to step up to the microphone and record a full album, which was released in 1992 under the title 'Better Times', which includes original tunes and one cover of the Diana Ross hit "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)".

  • "On The Front Page"
  • "Better times"
  • "One Shot At Happiness"
  • "Lost & Found"
  • "Good Intentions"
  • "Blind Love"
  • "On The Beach"
  • "My Heart Won't Say No"
  • "No Time For Tears"
  • "Reach Out & Touch Somebody's Hand"

Louvain recorded two further tracks with Motorcity which did not appear on the above album:

  • "On Top Of The Mountain"
  • "Sight And Sound"

Pat Lewis

Ian Levine has cited that he has recorded more songs with Pat Lewis than with any other artist. Several songs recorded by Pat whilst with Motorcity Records are:

Cover Versions

  • "I Want You Back"
  • "Don't Leave Me This Way"
  • "I'll Be There"
  • "Selfish One"
  • "Rescue Me"

Original Recordings

  • "No Right Turn"
  • "Hungry For You"
  • "Something's Telling Me"


  1. ^ Wright, Vickie (2007). Motown - From the Background. Bank House Books. 

External links[edit]