Co-founded by Detroit-born vocalist Martha Reeves, the Del-Phis evolved into Reeves' hit-making group Martha & the Vandellas. While their only single, "My Baby Won't Come Back," released in 1961 on the Chess subsidiary Chess-Mate, was a commercial failure, the Del-Phis went on to sing background on Marvin Gaye's 1962 "Stubborn Kind of Fellow." Their second single, "You'll Never Cherish a Love So True ('Til You Lose It)," credited to the Vels, fared no better than its predecessor.
The Del-Phis' involvement with Motown began when Reeves won a talent contest as a solo performer in late 1961. The prize included a three-night stint at a local nightclub, Twenty Grand, during which Reeves was heard by Motown A&R man William "Mickey" Stevenson. Although she began her association with the Berry Gordy-owned label as a secretary, she soon was singing with the Del-Phis on Motown recordings.
Changing the group's name to Martha & the Vandellas, Reeves continued to work with ex-Del-Phis members Annette Sterling Beard (until 1965) and Rosalind Ashford (until 1968). After leaving the band, Ashford went on to work with Ameritech until her retirement. Beard worked as a phlebomotist at St. John's Hospital in Detroit.