The Marvelettes Biography
Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, and Georgia Dobbins were the initial members of the Marvelettes, an all-girl ensemble. In 1959, they met in a high school glee group in Inkster, Michigan, where they both grew up. They auditioned for year-old Motown Records in 1960, where founder Berry Gordy commended their talent but advised them to write an original song. In 1961, Georgia Dobbins responded with “Please Mr. Postman.” The girl group was signed to Motown Records, making them the label’s first all-girl group. “Please Mr. Postman” was released, and it became their first number one R&B single.
The following year, they published “Twistin’ Mr. Postman,” which reached the top 50 on the pop charts, and “Playboy,” which reached No. 7 on the pop charts, capitalizing on the nationwide dance craze known as the twist. Nonetheless, by 1963, their career had come to a halt, and they claimed that they had been overshadowed by other Motown performers such as Mary Wells, the Supremes, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Internal conflict among the Marvelettes resulted from this worry, and Georgia Dobbins departed the group in 1964.
The Marvelettes returned to the top ten on the R&B and mainstream charts with “Don’t Mess With Bill,” released in 1965. The Supremes also made blunders, such as passing on Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-song Holland’s “Where Did Our Love Go” in 1964, which was later recorded by the Supremes and became their second million-selling hit.
The Marvelettes were similarly affected by personnel changes. Juanita Cowart departed the group in 1963 due to an emotional breakdown, and Georgeanna Tillman contracted sickle cell disease in late 1964, forcing her to retire from performing in 1965, leaving only three Marvelettes to record and tour. Even as the group faced multiple adversities it still produced three hit records between 1966 and 1967, “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game,” “When You’re Young and in Love,” and “My Baby Must Be A Magician.” Gladys Horton left the group in 1967 to marry, and Anne Bogan took her place.
“Destination Anywhere,” the last Marvelettes hit, was published in 1968. Despite the fact that the group had stopped composing music by 1969, they continued to perform and Motown released four songs by them between 1969 and 1971, none of which were commercially successful. The Marvelettes officially split in 1972 after some of its members refused to relocate to Los Angeles when Motown did.
Gladys Horton started a solo career and then tried unsuccessfully in the early 1980s to resurrect the Marvelettes, but the other members were not interested. Horton signed a contract with Motorcity Records, a modest Detroit company, with whom he remained until 1990. In January of 1980, Georgeanna Tillman died of sickle cell anemia. Katherine Anderson married Joe Schaffner, the Temptations’ manager, and Wanda Young, a founding member but not an original Marvelette, married Bobby Rogers of the Miracles.
The group has garnered numerous awards, including entry into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award. The RIAA awarded million-selling Gold records to two of the group’s most successful recordings, “Please Mr. Postman” and “Don’t Mess with Bill,” in 2005. The Marvelettes were inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame’s first class on August 17, 2013, at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.
|The Definitive Collection|
|The Return of the Marvelettes|
|In Full Bloom|
|The Marvelettes Recorded Live on Stage|
|The Marvelous Marvelettes|
|The Marvelettes Sing (aka Smash Hits of ’62)|
|Please Mr. Postman|
Frequently Asked Questions
Are The Marvelettes In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?
No, the Marvelettes are not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, they have been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame.
How Many Members Are In The Marvelettes?
The Marvelettes were a popular Motown girl group in the early 1960s, and they had several hits including “Please Mr. Postman” and “Beechwood 4-5789.” The original lineup of the group consisted of Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, and Juanita Cowart, but there were a few lineup changes over the years. The group disbanded in 1972, but reformed in the 1980s with only two original members. The current lineup of the Marvelettes consists of Wanda Young Rogers, Lois Reeves, and Saronna Monique.
Who Were The Original Members Of The Marvelettes?
The original members of the Marvelettes were Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson, Gladys Horton, Juanita Cowart, and Georgeanna Tillman. The group was formed in 1961 and signed with Motown Records in 1962. They scored their first hit with “Please Mr. Postman” in early 1963. Tillman left the group later that year and was replaced by Michelle Rogers. The Marvelettes went on to have several more hits throughout the 1960s before disbanding in 1970. Young, Cowart, and Rogers all returned for a reunion album in 1981, but it was not commercially successful. Another reunion album followed in 1992, this time with Horton as the only original member. The Marvelettes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005.
What Are The Marvelettes Musical Influence?
The Marvelettes were most likely influenced by the sounds of Motown. The group’s first hit, “Please Mr. Postman,” was written by Motown founder Berry Gordy. The song features a Motown-style groove and was one of the label’s first big hits. The Marvelettes went on to have several more hits on the Motown label, including “Beechwood 4-5789,” “Playboy,” and “Don’t Mess with Bill.” The group’s sound was definitely influenced by the sounds of Motown.
What Happened To The Lead Singer Of The Marvelettes?
The Marvelettes were a successful Motown girl group in the early 1960s. The group scored their first big hit with “Please Mr. Postman” in 1961. However, by 1963, the group’s popularity was beginning to wane. The following year, the group’s lead singer, Gladys Horton, left the group to start a family. The Marvelettes never recovered from Horton’s departure and disbanded a few years later.