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Motown’s unsung female trio finally gets acclaim

April 5, 2013 • Entertainment


This March 12, 2013 photo shows The Andantes, from left, Jackie Hicks, Louvain Demps, and Marlene Barrow-Tate during a visit to in Hitsville USA’s Studio A at the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. In their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the ground-breaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early ’70s before the label moved to Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (AP) — More than 40 years have passed since the recording of Marvin Gaye’s “Save the Children,” but a replay of the song in the studio where it was recorded compressed time and brought tears to the eyes of Louvain Demps.

Demps was no mere fan visiting what’s now the Motown Historical Museum. She was one of the women singing the angelic, high harmonies on the recording — and hearing it in Hitsville USA’s Studio A was too much.

“It’s my heart, it’s my heart,” she said.

For Demps and her fellow Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow-Tate, moments like these have been private, since the wider world knew only their voices, not their faces. But now in their 70s, the unsung backing group who sang on thousands of Motown songs is finally getting acclaim for its contributions to the groundbreaking, chart-topping music made in Detroit in the 1960s and early ’70s before the label moved to Los Angeles.

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