Thursday, January 27, 2011


After a 2010 stroke, former Marvelettes lead singer Gladys Horton, 66, died yesterday in a Los Angeles nursing home, Reuters reports.

Signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown during its soulful heyday, the quartet landed the label’s first No. 1 single on Billboard‘s Hot 100 singles chart–1961′s “Please Mr. Postman.” And before leaving the group in 1967, Horton also was featured on other hits like “Too Many Fish in the Sea.”

The Marvelettes were a teenaged girl group who went from an Inkster High School talent show to scoring Motown’s first pop No. 1, “Please Mr. Postman,” their first time out, in 1961. Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, and Juanita Cowart were unstoppable in the early 1960s, hitting big with “Playboy,” “Beechwood 4-5789,” its flip side “Someday, Someway,” and many more. With Smokey Robinson at the helm later in the decade, the Marvs hit big with “Don’t Mess with Bill” featuring Wanda Young in the lead. Motown’s first success story, the Marvelettes became the prototype for the company’s girl groups to follow, from the Martha and The Vandellas to The Supremes.

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