Martha Reeves invited to sit onstage with the Rolling Stones in Detroit

Susan Whitall
Special to The Detroit News

Martha Reeves put out an “invitation across the nation” in 1964 with “Dancing in the Street,” and now she has her own invitation, to sit onstage with the Rolling Stones at their Nov. 15 Ford Field concert.

And maybe sing? Reeves says she’s scheduled to go through their careful COVID-19 procedures (she is triple-vaccinated, as well), and that the Stones have put “Dancing in the Street” in their set, so she’s hopeful.

Jagger has been talking about Martha for the past few weeks, including in Dallas, telling people that he’s going to see her in Detroit, and maybe even sing with her.

Motown legend Martha Reeves

“I’ve heard he’s been mentioning my name, so yes I’m anxious to see him and join them,” Reeves said. “Maybe I can sing my part onstage. I love him so much. I’m jealous that he’s done so many things with Tina Turner. But there’s enough of him to go around!”

Jagger has “Dancing in the Street” down — he covered the Motown hit as a duet with David Bowie in 1985, so he’s used to singing it that way.

And it was written in a male singer’s key, Reeves says, by Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter and Mickey Stevenson. Although it was written in Gaye’s key, on impulse,  he had Martha sing it.

“Marvin saw me standing there, admiring him — I always had such a crush on him,” she said. “Everybody knew that. He said, ‘Hey man let’s try this song on Martha.’ So that song was given to me by Marvin Gaye. Mickey and Ivy, the co-writers, were excited that I could sing it in Marvin’s key.

“I think I nailed it,” Reeves said.

That’s an understatement. “Dancing in the Street” was one of Motown’s biggest hits, reaching No. 2 on the pop charts in 1964, and one of the most recognizable components of the classic Motown sound.

It’s been a while since Reeves saw Jagger. It was in the early ‘60s, she reckons, at a British variety show that featured Kim Weston, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Lulu and the Lovers, among others.

Musicians Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones perform Aug.1, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J.

She did attend the 2015 Rolling Stones show at Comerica Park, but “I was nowhere near him, I was in one of the club rooms,” she said.

“I’m hurting in my  heart, because I heard he’s said he might retire? He should never retire, he should sing until the wheels fall off! I’m waiting to dance with him.”

Susan Whitall is a longtime Detroit music writer. You can reach her at