The Marvelettes were one of the first of the fabulous girl
groups to put great rock-and-roll songs on the charts in the 60's. The group was
formed by Gladys Horton and others at Inkster High School in Inkster, Michigan
[a suburb of Detroit] in the early 60's, and chose as the group name the "Casinyets,"
a contraction of "can't sing yet." They originally got together to enter a
talent contest, but a teacher put them in touch with Berry Gordy. Gordy liked
what he saw, changed their name to the Marvelettes, and signed them to a
contract with Tamla. Georgia Dobbins had co-written a song that was to become
their first -- and biggest -- hit in 1961.
Pease Mr. Postman launched a career that would see the group
put 23 songs in the top 100 before disbanding. The song rocketed up the charts
to number one and remained on the charts for fifteen weeks. It was later covered
by the Beatles. A short time later, Georgia dropped out of the group to care for
her mother and was replaced by Wanda Young. Young and Horton both served as lead
singers, making the Marvelettes different from other groups in that they had two
outstanding lead singers. Following the success of Please Mr. Postman, Cowart
left the group in 1962; there were other personnel changes throughout the 60's.
Georgeanna Tillman, also known as Georgeanna Gordon [she married Billy Gordon of
the Contours], left in 1965 and died fifteen years later. Gladys Horton left in
1967 and was replaced by Anne Bogan. Wanda Young married Bobby Rogers of the
The group withstood the personnel changes, and
persisted in putting songs in the top forty throughout the decade of the 60'sThe
hits continued to come -- Beechwood 4-5789, Too Many Fish In The Sea, and
another top ten in 1966 with Smokey's Don't Mess With Bill. There are groups
touring today as the Marvelettes that do not include any members who sang with
the Marvelettes in the 60's. The girls from Inkster High certainly made their
mark on pop music in the 60's. Please Mr. Postman was the first Motown record to
to cross over from the R&B charts and reach number one on the pop charts, an
accomplishment of which the original members of the group are very proud.