Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run” was written for them by Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland production and songwriting team. The group at this time was comprised of Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford-Holmes and Betty Kelly and “Nowhere To Run” was their fouth Top Ten hit single. The big sound and thumping beat previoulsy heard on their biggest song ever “Dancing In The Streets” influenced “Nowhere To Run.” The dramatic arrangement was used to express the urgency of an abusive relationship described in the song’s lyrics. The release of the song in 1965 was the same year the Voting Rights Act was passed and the Watts Riot took place during the Civil Rights Movement. All of the tension in the country gave “Nowhere To Run” a double meaning as it seemed to apply to a relationship and the society at the same time. The success of the single gave the group another signature song.
Martha And The Vandellas would have more than a dozen singles released after “Nowhere To Run” and by the early ’70s they were headed for retirement. Their last studio album, Black Magic was released in 1972. Their popularity during the Motown era made them one of the premier groups of the ’60s and one of the most recognized voices of their generation. Martha Reeves still performs and the group was seen most recently singing “Nowhere To Run” in the 2017 film Detroit.