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Nowhere to Run by Martha & the Vandellas

Album: Dance PartyReleased: 1965Charted:
  • This is a tale of a woman who knows her boyfriend treats her badly but she can't help but love him.
  • Along with a tambourine and drums, snow chains were used as percussion for this song.
  • All the instruments were played by the Funk Brothers, who were session musicians for Motown.
  • Because of its brassy sound and chorus, this song is one of many which are popular at sporting events, where the original version is played, or a marching band performs it.
  • The song was particularly popular during the Vietnam War, and was featured in the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for all above)
  • Janet Jackson intended on recording a remake of this on her 1990 Rhythm Nation 1814 album before being persuaded by her songwriters Jam and Lewis to record a song with a similar beat. The end result was her American chart-topper "Escapade."
  • One of the inspirations for this song was an encounter that Lamont Dozier had with a frightened teenager who was on his way to Vietnam. He recalled to The Guardian: "His friends asked if I would throw a party for him at my house before he was shipped out. We had the party, but he was very solemn, just sitting with his girlfriend. He had a premonition that he wouldn't be coming back. I told him to be positive, but he was adamant. I found myself thinking about how he was feeling trapped – nowhere to run. Sure enough, two months later they shipped his body back. I think he stepped on a land mine. Nineteen years old."
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Comments: 8

On April 7th 1965, Martha and the Vandellas performed "Nowhere to Run" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
At the time the song was in its first of two weeks at #8 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, and that was also its peak position on the chart {See next post below}...
R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill {Shindig's host, 1940 -2013}.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
On February 21st 1965, "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #73; and six weeks later on April 4th, 1965 it peaked at #8 {for 2 weeks} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #5 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
Between 1963 and 1971 the group had twenty-three* songs make the Top 100; six made the Top 10 with "Dancing in the Street" being their biggest hit, it peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} in 1964, the two weeks it was at #2 the #1 record for both those weeks was "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by Manfred Mann...
* With their last eight records to make the Top 100 the group was known as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Yeoww! That drum intro on "Nowhere To Run" really is tough & cool. Mercy - those snow chains really added some "attitude" to this hit. I'll always love it. Great to dance to. Later that year when I began college, I found it on nearly every jukebox on campus & off campus. It was originally on their "Dance Party" album which my brother bought in '65 & as I recall, the album had some really cool dance songs on it. I can even remember that back in high school one friend always liked to say that if ya didn't get up & dance to this song - you're probably dead.Elmer H - Westville, Ok
I think this is probably the best meshing of Martha, H-D-H and the funk brothers. Gospel rooted, extremely funky, extremely sexy. Singular.Buddah - New York, Ny
This song was a centerpiece in the classic 1978 cult film THE WARRIORS.John - Nashville, Tn
Martha and the Vandellas presented this song on a CBS special entitled "It's What's Happening, Baby" on June 28, 1965 - In what could be called the early form of the music video, they were shown singing the song at a Ford Automobile Plant, dancing and bouncing to the song while a 1965 Ford Mustang was being built around them.Kristin - Bessemer, Al
LOVE THAT ROUSING DRUM INTRO! and the snow chains "whipping" throughout the tune - magnificient!Kristin - Bessemer, Al
A classic love obsession song! Who doesn't this song?Tanya - La Verne, Ca