Though they were overshadowed at Motown by the much longer-lived Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas, nevertheless the plaintive girl group harmonies of the Marvelettes – the original foursome of Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman and Wanda Young – deserve their rightful spot in rock history. They gave Motown/Tamla its first official Number One Hot 100 hit in the late-summer of 1961, “Please Mr. Postman” (famously featuring Marvin Gaye on drums); and recorded Motown’s first Holland-Dozier-Holland chart single, “Locking Up My Heart.” The Marvelettes went on, despite tremendous odds, to sing (and occasionally co-write) hit after hit for The Sound Of Young America for another seven years. Their signature tunes became classics of the next generation: “Please Mr. Postman” (Beatles, Carpenters), “Beechwood 4-5789” (Carpenters), “Too Many Fish In The Sea” (Mitch Ryder, Rascals), “Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead” (Bonnie Raitt), “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” (Jerry Garcia, Grace Jones, Blondie) and more. The Marvelettes did more than their fair share to put Motown on the map, and bring the heart of soul to rock and roll.
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