The Andantes

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The Andantes
The Andantes in 1964. Left to right: Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps.
The Andantes in 1964. Left to right: Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps.
Background information
Also known asThe Darnells
OriginDetroit, Michigan, United States
Years active1958–1972; 1989–1992
LabelsMotown, Motorcity Records
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. It is estimated they appeared on 20,000 recordings.

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. Motown began to use the Andantes as either substitute or additional background vocalists on certain recordings by its girl groups beginning with the Marvelettes recordings in 1965, Martha & the Vandellas in 1966, and major part of the Supremes recordings between 1968–1969 although Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong continued to record.

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 Music Hall of Fame in August 2014.

Barrow 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. Seven 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 seven 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 15 singles for the Marvelettes. These releases include:

The Temptations[edit]

They appeared as backing vocalists on seven 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:

Non-Motown recordings[edit]

Much like the Funk Brothers, The Andantes also appear on several notable recordings produced and/or released by record companies outside of Motown, 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"

Billboard Top Ten hit songs (US pop chart)[edit]

Year Song title US[5] Artist
1964 "My Guy" 1 Mary Wells
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" 6 Marvin Gaye
1965 "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" 1 Four Tops
"It's the Same Old Song" 5
"I'll Be Doggone" 8 Marvin Gaye
"Ain't That Peculiar" 8
"Stop! In the Name of Love" 1 The Supremes
"Uptight (Everything's Alright)" 3 Stevie Wonder
"Don't Mess with Bill" 7 The Marvelettes
1966 "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" 7 Jimmy Ruffin
"I'm Ready for Love" 9 Martha & the Vandellas
"Reach Out I'll Be There" 1 Four Tops
"Standing in the Shadows of Love" 6
"A Place in the Sun" 9 Stevie Wonder
1967 "Jimmy Mack" 10 Martha and the Vandellas
"Bernadette" 4 Four Tops
"In and Out of Love" 9 Diana Ross & The Supremes
"I Was Made To Love Her" 2 Stevie Wonder
"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" 6 Jackie Wilson
1968 "Here Comes The Judge" 8 Shorty Long
"Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" 9 Stevie Wonder
"For Once In My Life" 2
"Love Child" 1 Diana Ross & the Supremes
"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" 2 Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" 1 Marvin Gaye
1969 "I'm Livin' in Shame" 10 Diana Ross & the Supremes
"Twenty-Five Miles" 6 Edwin Starr
"What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" 4 Jr. Walker & the All Stars
"Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" 7 Stevie Wonder
"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" 4 Marvin Gaye
"That's the Way Love Is" 7
1970 "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" 1 Diana Ross
"War" 1 Edwin Starr
1971 "What's Going On" 2 Marvin Gaye
"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" 4

Billboard Top Forty hit songs (US pop chart)[edit]

Year Song title US[6] Artist
1963 "Your Old Standby" 40 Mary Wells
1964 "Baby I Need Your Loving" 11 Four Tops
"Baby Don't You Do It" 27 Marvin Gaye
1965 "Ask the Lonely" 24 Four Tops
"Something About You" 19
"When I'm Gone" 25 Brenda Holloway
"It's Growing" 18 The Temptations
"I'll Keep Holding On" 34 The Marvelettes
"Pretty Little Baby" 25 Marvin Gaye
"I'll Always Love You" 35 The Spinners
"You've Been in Love Too Long" 36 Martha & the Vandellas
1966 "I've Passed This Way Before" 17 Jimmy Ruffin
"This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)" 12 The Isley Brothers
"Whispers (Gettin' Louder)" 11 Jackie Wilson
"My Baby Loves Me" 22 Martha & the Vandellas
"Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby" 20 Stevie Wonder
"One More Heartache" 29 Marvin Gaye
"Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" 18 Four Tops
"Get Ready" 29 The Temptations
1967 "Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got" 29 Jimmy Ruffin
"Your Unchanging Love" 33 Marvin Gaye
"7 Rooms of Gloom" 14 Four Tops
"You Keep Running Away" 19
"If I Were a Carpenter" 20
"The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" 13 The Marvelettes
"When You're Young and in Love" 23
"I'm Wondering" 12 Stevie Wonder
"Travelin’ Man" 32
1968 "Forever Came Today" 28 Diana Ross & the Supremes
"Walk Away Renée" 14 Four Tops
"My Baby Must Be a Magician" 17 The Marvelettes
"I Get The Sweetest Feeling" 34 Jackie Wilson
1969 "The Composer" 27 Diana Ross & the Supremes
"I Don't Know Why" 39 Stevie Wonder
1970 "River Deep-Mountain High" 14 The Supremes and Four Tops
"Stop The War Now" 26 Edwin Starr
"The End of Our Road" 40 Marvin Gaye
"Do You See My Love For You Growing" 32 Jr. Walker & the All Stars
"Gotta Hold On To This Feeling" 21
1971 "Reach Out I’ll Be There" 29 Diana Ross
"Floy Joy" 16 The Supremes
1972 "Automatically Sunshine" 37 The Supremes


  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 January 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Doc Rock. "January to June 2015". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  4. ^ Clemente, John (2000). Girl Groups – Fabulous Females That Rocked The World. Bloomington, Indiana: Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0873418164.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2007). Top Pop Singles: 1955–2006. Record Research.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2007). Top Pop Singles: 1955–2006. Record Research.

External links[edit]