Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Third Finger Left Hand (1967)

 |   |  1 min read

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Third Finger Left Hand (1967)

Beyonce's thrilling Bollywood-influenced dancefloor hit Single Ladies; Put a Ring On It reminded of the long tradition of songs about wedding rings, or the lack of them, or how tarnished a memory can be . . .

Elsewhere has already posted a number of such songs: Gary Lewis and the Playboys' pop hit This Diamond Ring and Freda Payne exceptional and ambiguous Band of Gold.

And into this lineage we now acknowledge the great Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Although best known for the clarion cry to a generation with Dancing in the Streets (which also became a socio-political text) and the dancefloor fillers Nowhere to Run and Heatwave, their star was steadly falling as the Sixties rolled on.

But they had one last decent chart success with the poppy Jimmy Mack which had been previously recorded in 1964 but went unissued until Berry Gordy felt the time was right in early '67. Then the lyric about a long gone or distant lover took on new meaning with so many black soldiers in Vietnam.

On the flipside however was Third Finger Left Hand, the title of which it also shared with a 1940s romantic comedy. In many ways it is a fairly standard slice of Motown pop and the romantic sentiment seemed a little passe in 1967.

Yet it is exactly that kind of sentiment which also makes it timeless.

As long as there are people wanting to get married this song will always have a place, just as when people separate or have troubles in the marital bed This Diamond Ring and Band of Gold will make sense too. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Rod Stewart: Don't Come Around Here (2001)

Rod Stewart: Don't Come Around Here (2001)

In his candid autobiography, Rod Stewart humorously dismisses or is highly critical of some of his albums. In 2000 after a skirmish with cancer, he returned with the album Human, which included... > Read more

Peter Posa: World Without Love (1965)

Peter Posa: World Without Love (1965)

The sheer pervasiveness of the British Invasion in the early Sixties is wel illusrtated in the catalogue of New Zealand guitarist Peter Posa. Posa first emerged in the late Fifites with his... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection (Alligator/Southbound)

Various Artists: Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection (Alligator/Southbound)

The Alligator collections are always worth hearing because they serve two purposes; a catch-up with the Chicago label's recent signings and some terrific tracks from the label's enormous and... > Read more

Nga Trang, Vietnam: He wears my ring

Nga Trang, Vietnam: He wears my ring

Within an hour of us meeting, Mama Thiu was knocking me up for money. Then her brother had a go. It was at Nga Trang in Vietnam and Mama ran a small, outdoor restaurant at the northern end of... > Read more