Martha & the Vandellas

(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave

Composed by Brian Holland / Eddie Holland / Lamont Dozier

Song Review by

”Heat Wave was the title track on Martha & the Vandellas second album and established the full-throated, up tempo sound that would become the group’s trademark. Written and produced by the Motown hit-making team of Holland-Dozier-Holland the song features Martha Reeves’s star-making lead vocals combined with a tightly harmonic chorus and a big, horn-rich instrumental backing. Yes, ”Heat Wave” is at its core unambitious commercially popular dance music, but it’s some of the best dance music of the mid-sixties and its still fun to listen to many years out of its generational context. The album indicates that Motown maybe wasn’t quite ready to commit more than one really good song at a time to the group before it proved itself on the singles charts. This is the only Holland-Dozier-Holland written song on the album, most of which is filled with nondescript cover versions easy listening hits such as ”Danke Schoen” and a remarkably misplaced version of ”If I Had a Hammer”. Incidentally, the title to this song appears inconsistently over various albums, with many giving the track listing as ”(Love is Like a) Heat Wave”.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Heat Wave 1963 Motown 2:43
The Motortown Revue Live, Vol. 2 1964
Various Artists
Motown
Nothing But a Man 1965
Original Soundtrack
Motown 2:45
No Image 1968
Original Soundtrack
A&M
No Image 1969
Various Artists
Gordy
Motown Story 1971
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1974 Motown
No Image 1976
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1979
Various Artists
MCA 2:42
Collection of 16 Big Hits, Vol. 2 1982
Various Artists
Motown 2:41
No Image 1985
Various Artists
MGM
No Image 1987
Various Artists
Motown
Every Great Motown Song, Vol. 1: The 1960s 1988
Various Artists
Motown 2:45
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1963 - Still Rockin' 1989
Various Artists
2:46
Rhythm & Blues: 1963 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Pioneer
Live Wire! The Singles 1962-1972 1993 Motown 2:46
Motown Legends 1993 Motown / Universal 2:44
Shake Me, Wake Me - a Tribute to Holland Dozier Holland 1994
Various Artists
Hippo / Hot Productions 4:10
Motown Classic Hits, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
Motown 2:43
The My Boyfriend's Back: The Story of the Girl Groups 1995
Various Artists
Life Times & Music 2:41
Motown Legends: Girl Groups 1995
Various Artists
PSM 2:45
Ultimate Driving Collection: Motor City Motoring 1995
Various Artists
Arsenal 2:45
Motown Legends, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
UMVD / Umvd Special Markets 2:45
Super Box of Soul, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:42
Unforgettable Hits 60s: He's a Rebel 1996
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 2:39
The World of Soul [ZYX] 1996
Various Artists
ZYX Music 3:59
Songs of Summer [Deuce] 1996
Various Artists
Deuce 2:39
I Love Rock & Roll: Hits of the '60s, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:46
Super Non-Stop Soul Dance 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Good Time Gold 1997
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:42
Rock n' Roll Reunion: Class of 63 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:43
WOGL 10th Anniversary, Vol. 2: Best of the 60's 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:48
Rockin' Jukebox, 1963 1997
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 2:42
Motown 40 Forever 1998
Various Artists
Motown 2:43
The Ultimate Collection 1998 Motown 2:45
Rockin' Wedding 1998
Various Artists
Boomerang Records / Beacon Records 2:39
Super Box of Soul 1998
Various Artists
Dominion / K-Tel Distribution
Detroit: Motor City Frenzy 1998
Various Artists
Hot Productions 2:46
Mods Vs. Rockers 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:40
Sound & Sensation: Rock'n'Roll Beach Party 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:45
Respect: A Century of Women in Music [Sampler] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:46
Millennium Party Madness 1999
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:43
WOGL Oldies 98.1FM: Summer Fun 1999
Various Artists
Collectables 2:47
The Evolution of Soul 2000
Various Artists
Collectables 2:45
Classic Soul Crate 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:44
Songs of Summer [Direct Source] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:39
Motown: The Classic Years 2000
Various Artists
Motown 2:45
Roots of Rock 'N Roll: Best of the Girl Groups 1957-1963 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:44
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 1: 1958-1963 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:43
Mega 60's 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:37
In Crowd: Ultimate Collection 1958-67 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:44
A Decade in Sound 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:40
The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 60's 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 2:48
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Motown 1960s, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Motown 2:45
This Is Soul: Soul for Dancing 2001
Various Artists
Pegasus 2:41
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:47
The Soul Box 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:43
Pure 60's: The #1 Hits 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:43
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 60's Motown's Greatest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:44
Best of Soul 60s 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:46
WSNI: FM's Sunny's Summer Hits 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:47
The Motown Story, Vol. 1: The Sixties 2003
Various Artists
Motown 3:44
Motown Mod Fave Raves, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Motown Number 1's 2004
Various Artists
Motown 2:44
Best Of Soul [Madacy Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 2:46
Motown Classics: Gold 2005
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 2:43
Heaven Must Have Sent You: The Holland/Dozier/Holland Story 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:46
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O / Motown / Select / Universal 2:50
Motown Story [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Motown 2:43
Body + Soul: Battle of the Groups: The Ladies 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music / Warner Bros. 2:43
The Soul Story, Vol. 4 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:44
Essential Playlist: 20 Non-Stop Hits R&B 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:38
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Motown 2:44
Ultimate R&B [Madacy] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:38
Soul Story Infomercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:44
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:42
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 2:45
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:42
Divas of Motown 2009
Various Artists
Island / Motown 3:46
Be My Baby, Vol. 2: More Music from the Girls of the Sixties 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:46
Dick Clark's Jukebox Gems: Heat Wave 2012
Various Artists
Life / Time 2:43
Dick Clark's Jukebox Gems 2013
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:43
Dancing in the Street 2013 Motown / Uni 2:43
Motown the Musical: 100 Originals 2013
Various Artists
Cobalt Helladisc / Universal Music 3:46
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:45
Motown Hits 1960-1965
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal 2:43
The Motown Story
Various Artists
Universal 2:45
blue highlight denotes editor's pick