THE ANDANTES: The Girl Group Left Behind
by Touré, AARP The Magazine
The hidden figures of Hitsville sang on some of Motown’s biggest hits
(Article was suggested to SheVille by Lytingale)
En español | Can she sing? Marlene Barrow and Jackie Hicks sounded downright skeptical. It was the summer of 1961, and the young women — then 19 and 21 years old, respectively — were at the Motown recording studio on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Barrow, tall and slender, and Hicks, bubbly and full-figured, had grown up singing in the choir of the Hartford Avenue Baptist Church.
They had been to the Motown studio before, had laid down some backup vocals at the fledgling label as two-thirds of a trio, but then the high soprano in their group had quit suddenly, and Barrow and Hicks weren’t too interested in working without her.
A studio staffer, thinking of a young soprano in the studio’s choral ensemble, made a suggestion: “We’ve got a girl in here who can sing.”
Barrow and Hicks had the same question. “Can she sing?”
“Oh, yeah” came the reply. “She can sing.”
More than 50 years later, no one remembers which song the three worked on that day, but the new girl, Louvain Demps — a reserved Catholic woman of 23 — still remembers how it went. “We just seemed to click right away,” she says.
“First time,” Hicks adds. “First song, perfect blend.”
That’s how Louvain Demps joined the Andantes, which would become perhaps the most important singing group you’ve probably never heard of. Click here to continue reading