The Andantes were an R&B trio consisting of Louvain Demps, Jackie Hicks and the late Marlene Barrow (d. 2015).  Although they did release a couple of songs under their own name, this act has gone down in history as being invaluable employees of Motown Records during the 1960s.  That is to say that, according to some estimates, The Andantes served as backup vocalists on over 20,000 Motown songs.  So they can very much be considered an inseparable part of the sound which endeared the label to music lovers and established it as an industry powerhouse.

One of the artists The Andantes worked heavily with is Stevie Wonder.  They provided backup vocals on his albums:

In other words, they were amongst Stevie’s regular collaborators during the latter half of the 1960s.

The Andantes are also on record as having participated on Wonder’s 1965 track Kiss Me Baby (which eventually made its way onto a couple of compilation albums), as well as 1962’s Sunset (from Tribute to Uncle Ray, Stevie’s second album).  So it is very much possible that they backed him on other songs or project that not listed here at the moment but will be as time progresses.

The Andantes do have at least one single under their own name, that being 1964’s Like a Nightmare.  The previous year, they also collaborated with The Marvelettes on a track titled Too Hurt to Cry, Too Much in Love to Say Goodbye.  Apparently, neither of those songs hits.

However, The Andantes did participate on seven different Motown track that went on to top the Billboard Hot 100.  Those are:

  • My Guy (1964) by Mary Wells
  • Stop! In the Name of Love (1965) by The Supremes
  • I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) (1965) by the Four Tops
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1966) by Marvin Gaye
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967) by Diana Ross
  • Reach Out, I’ll Be There (1967) by the Four Tops, and
  • Love Child (1968) by Diana Ross & The Supremes.

To reiterate, The Andantes were not affiliated with any singular act.  As such, as much as they may have contributed to the success of various Motown artists, they did not tour with any.  Rather, as BlackPast put it, they “practically lived at the studio for numerous years”, complete with “a room with beds in case recordings ran late into the night”.  Also on occasion they would perform live shows, on their own, in Motown’s base city of Detroit.

By the looks of things, despite putting in innumerable hours of work and undoubtedly contributing to come-up of Motown, Berry Gordy and co. failed to make The Andantes good, at least at first.  Instead, upon the company deciding to go Hollywood (i.e. get into filmmaking) and relocating to the west coast in 1972, the ladies lost their contracts and were resultantly forced to pick up day jobs to make ends meet.

The Andantes did reunite circa the early 1990s, that time around with a fourth member, Pat Lewis, under Motorcity Records.  Lewis had a previous history with the group, as she participated in the recording of Up-Tight on behalf of one of the Andantes who couldn’t make it to the studio.  When they reunited later on, she served as the lead singer.  And they did reportedly record an entire album, though one which obviously was never released.  However at that time they did drop a single titled Lightning Never Strikes Twice.

The Andantes also went on to be recognized by the Motown Museum, where they made an appearance in 2013.


  • Prior to the formation of The Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow were already affiliated, both being longtime choir members of Detroit’s Hartford Avenue Baptist Church and having already provided backup vocals for some Motown songs before Louvain Demps joined them during the summer of 1961.
  • Smokey Robinson verified that Motown artists, during the label’s early years, were like “kids growing up… together” and that “the Andantes were part of that family”.  Furthermore, he went on to argue that they were so talented that “any of them could have been a lead singer or solo artist”.
  • The Andantes were reportedly “paid upward of $10 an hour” by Motown, which back then was considered “good money”.  However, it’s not clear if they were paid that individually or as a group.
  • Eventually, i.e. circa the early 2010s, The Andantes were formally credited for participating on Motown songs they provided vocals to upon said tracks being were reissued, and they also began to receive residual checks, i.e. royalties.


“The Andantes”.  Wikipedia.  Last edited on 4 January 2024.

“The Andantes: The Girl Group Left Behind”.  AARP.  28 November 2018.

“The Andantes (1958-1992)”.  BlackPast.  14 December 2021.

“The Andantes”.  Motown Museum.  Accessed on 12 January 2024.

“Pat Lewis”.  Wikipedia.  Last edited on 24 October 2023.