Story of the song - Jimmy Mack, Martha & the Vandellas (1967)

Robert Webb
Friday 28 August 2009 00:00
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"Jimmy Mack" dozed on a shelf for two years before Motown's boss, Berry Gordy, realised he had a sleeping giant. ,/p>

"Get this thing ready to go out right away," he is reported to have said when he heard the song. "This is a damn hit record." Gordy was right: 40 years on, it remains one of the label's defining releases, helping to create the sound of Sixties America. It was recorded by the 25-year-old Martha Reeves and her Vandellas (Rosalind Ashford and Betty Kelly), formerly the Del-Phis, in June 1964 and was included on their 1966 album, Watchout!. It finally made it as a single the following year. Although "Jimmy Mack" is credited to Motown's writing/production team of Lamont Dozier and the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, it was Dozier who came up with the original idea. At a music industry awards dinner in 1964, Dozier saw the mother of the songwriter Ronnie Mack accept an award for her son, who had recently died, for his composition "He's So Fine", a No 1 for the Chiffons. Under pressure to come up with a hit for Reeves and the Vandellas, Dozier and the team wrote "Jimmy Mack", in part a tribute to Mack the writer. The Vietnam war may have helped propel the nostalgic longings of "Jimmy Mack" into the charts

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