Martha & the Vandellas

(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave

Composed by Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie Holland

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
Nothing But a Man 1965
Original Soundtrack
Motown 2:45
Greatest Hits [Motown] 1966 Motown / Uni 2:44
No Image 1968
Original Soundtrack
A&M
No Image 1969
Various Artists
Gordy
Motown Story 1971
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
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 0:00
Every Great Motown Song, Vol. 1: The 1960s 1988
Various Artists
Motown 2:45
Martha Reeves/Etta James 1990 K-Tel Distribution / Dominion 2:42
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Pioneer
Live Wire! The Singles 1962-1972 1993 Motown 2:46
Motown Legends 1993 Polygram Special Products / Motown 2:47
Dancing in the Street [Charly] 1993 Charly Records 2:39
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
Motown Milestones: Martha & the Vandellas 1995 Motown 2:46
Greatest Hits [Prime Cuts] 1995 Prime Cuts 2:49
Motown Legends, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 2:45
Super Box of Soul, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:42
Leading Ladies, Vol. 3 [Box Set] 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 0:00
I Love Rock & Roll: Hits of the '60s, Vol. 2 1996
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:46
The Tamla Motown Collection 1996 Spectrum Music / Universal 2:46
Super Non-Stop Soul Dance 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Good Time Gold 1997
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:42
Nick at Nite: Beach Blanket Bash 1997
Various Artists
Nick At Nite / Sony Music Distribution 2:46
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 0:00
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
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas 1999 Motown / Uptown/Universal 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
Mega 60's 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:37
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 [Pegasus] 2001
Various Artists
Pegasus (Pinnacle) 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
Winning Combinations [Universal Special Products] 2002 Universal Special Products 2:47
Dancing in the Streets [K-Tel] 2002 K-Tel 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
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 Number 1's 2004
Various Artists
Motown / UTV 2:44
Motown Classics: Gold 2005
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
Heaven Must Have Sent You: The Holland/Dozier/Holland Story 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:46
The Motown Box 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:43
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963 2005
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
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
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Motown 2:44
Motown Remixed, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
Motown 3:09
The Definitive Collection 2008 Motown / Universal 3:45
Motown 50 Fanthology 2008
Various Artists
Universal 0:00
Divas of Motown 2009
Various Artists
Island / Motown 3:46
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
Motown the Musical: 100 Originals 2013
Various Artists
Cobalt Helladisc / Universal Music 3:46
A  Motown Thanksgiving Celebration
Various Artists
Motown 2:43
Body By Jake: Motown Workout
Various Artists
Body By Jake 3:43
Motown Hits 1960-1965
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal 2:43
Motown Hits: 1960-1965
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal 2:43
Motown Remixed Extras [No.2]
Various Artists
Universal 2:58
My Boyfriend's Back: The '60s Girl Groups
Various Artists
Somerset / Somerset Entertainment 2:44
Soul of the '60s
Various Artists
Time Life 2:43
The Motown Story
Various Artists
Universal 2:45