The Marvelettes

Formed by Michigan friends Georgia Dobbins and Gladys Horton in 1960, five-member girl group the Marvelettes – also featuring Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, and Juanita Cowart - entered their high school talent show, determined to win the prize of auditioning for Tamla/Motown Records’ Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy. They only finished fourth but tagged along to the audition anyway and were asked to return with original material. Georgia Dobbins scraped together a song with piano player William Garrett called “Please Mr. Postman” and a legend was born. The song went on to become Tamla/Motown's first number 1 hit in 1961 and a classic of the era with the Marvelettes' sugar sweet soul pop paving the way for the likes of Martha and the Vandellas and the Supremes. Although she was a founder of the group, Georgia Dobbins was restricted from singing with them by her church-going father and was replaced by Wanda Young. Juanita Cowart left the Marvelettes early on and they became a quartet. The group then went on to score follow-up hits “Playboy” (1962) and “Beechwood 4-5789” (1962), but the hits became fewer and far-between. Although the group was responsible for putting the Tamla and Motown labels on the map, they were soon eclipsed by the Supremes and other acts on the label. After some minor hits in the mid-to-late ‘60s – “Don’t Mess with Bill” (1966), “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” (1967), and “My Baby Must Be a Magician” (1968) – the group began to fall apart and officially broke up in 1972. There were several attempts to reunite the Marvelettes but none of them were successful. The Marvelettes’ recorded a string of albums over the course of their career, their most successful being their debut album, Please Mr. Postman (1961), and The Marvelettes’ Greatest Hits (1966). Georgeanna Tillman died on January 6, 1980, one month shy of her 36th birthday. Gladys Horton passed away on January 26, 2011. Georgia Dobbins died on September 18, 2020, a victim of cardiac arrest. Wanda Young passed away on December 15, 2021, at the age of 78. Katherine Anderson died of heart failure on September 20, 2023, at the age of 79, leaving Juanita Cowart as the only surviving member of the original line-up.

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Stations Featuring The Marvelettes

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