The Andantes

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The Andantes
Also known asThe Darnells
OriginDetroit, Michigan, United States
GenresPop, R&B, soul, psychedelic soul, doo-wop, disco
Years active1958–1972; 1989–1992
LabelsMotown, Motorcity Records
Associated actsMartha and the Vandellas, Four Tops, the Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, the Supremes
Past membersJackie Hicks (1958–1972; 1989–1992)
Marlene Barrow (1958–1972; 1989–1992)
Emily Phillips (1958–1961)
Louvain Demps (1961–1972; 1989–1992)
Pat Lewis (1989–1992)

The Andantes were an American female session 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,[2] including songs by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Jimmy Ruffin, Edwin Starr, the Supremes, the Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers, among others.

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, but Wilson and Birdsong continued to sing on recordings as well. They were also called upon to overdub and smooth out the Marvelettes' background vocals records beginning in 1965.

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). In addition to various awards, the Andantes were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame which was held in Canton, Ohio August 2014.

Marlene Barrow-Tate died on February 23, 2015 at the age of 73.[3]


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[edit]

Brenda Holloway[edit]

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

  • "When I'm Gone"
  • "Operator"
  • "You Can Cry on My Shoulder"
  • "Together 'Til the End of Time"
  • "Just Look What You've Done"

The Four Tops[edit]

The Andantes appeared as backing vocalists on 16 singles for the Four Tops. These releases include:

The Supremes[edit]

They appeared as backing vocalists on six singles for The Supremes. These releases include:

Martha & the Vandellas[edit]

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

The Marvelettes[edit]

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

The Temptations[edit]

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

Marvin Gaye[edit]

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

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell[edit]

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"[4]

Stevie Wonder[edit]

The Andantes have also appeared as backing vocalists on numerous Stevie Wonder recordings, including:

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 Hicks, Barrow and Demps (from 1989 to 1992).

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

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 Lewis 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 (October 25, 2007). Motown - From the Background. Bank House Books. ISBN 978-1904408291.
  2. ^ a b c d Touré (January 2019). "The Andantes: The Critical Motown Trio You Don't Know". AARP. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  3. ^ Doc Rock. "January to June 2015". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2015-02-25.
  4. ^ Clemente, John (2000). Girl Groups - Fabulous Females That Rocked The World. Bloomington, Indiana: Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0873418164.

External links[edit]