Martha and the Vandellas, 1967
First printing lithograph, Excellent condition
Part of Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revoultion Museum Exhibition
Framed dimensions: 27 1/4" tall x 17 1/4" wide
frame at angle
reverse with info related to Museum Exhibition
Original Ad from 1966 for Art Instruction Schools that likely inspired this piece
NOTE: This poster, as framed, hung in the Historical Society of New York Museum from February 2020 to January 2021 as part of the Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution Exhibition. A chance to own a Museum piece.
The gothic style employed by Bonnie MacLean was a common motif for the woman who stepped in to replace Wes Wilson as Bill Graham’s “go-to” Fillmore poster designer (she was also his wife). The drawing of the women’s faces reveals just how talented MacLean was as she demonstrated the ability to draw the faces at three different angles. In fact, to the right is a 1966 advertisement by Art Instruction Schools of Minnesota, the famous correspondance art school that would advertise and challenge people to “Draw Me.”
Motown hitmakers Martha and the Vandellas ("Heat Wave," “Nowhere to Run,” "Dancing in the Street") came to San Francisco's Fillmore for a pair of shows on May 19 and 20, 1967 – they had also played there on Labor Day in 1966. The Vandellas' popularity helped the group get spots on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Mike Douglas Show, American Bandstand and Shindig!. Throughout this period, the Vandellas had also become one of the label's most popular performing acts. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, only the second female group to receive that honor.
Martha Reeves, the group’s lead singer got there in an unusual way. Soon after graduating from high school, she performed in clubs as "Martha Lavaille." One night, Motown A&R director Mickey Stevenson heard her and invited her to audition for the then-fledgling label. The highly-motivated Reeves arrived the next morning. Upon learning that auditions had yet to be scheduled, she made herself valuable by answering phones and taking messages.
Reeves soon become an invaluable administrator, interacting with musicians and performers, scheduling sessions, and making sure that business was taken care of. And she waited her turn to sing. One day, when Mary Wells missed a session, Martha stepped up to the mic, got noticed and a contract becoming one of Motown's most enduring and beloved stars.