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Marvelettes (fl. 1960s)

Marvelettes (fl. 1960s)

American popular music group of the early 1960s whose songs "Don't Mess With Bill," "Please Mr. Postman," and "Beachwood 4–5789" reached the top of the charts . Part of the Motown sound of the early 1960s; originally comprised of Wanda Rogers, Katherine Schaffner, and Gladys Horton (later replaced by Ann Bogan).

During the late 1950s, while Wanda Rogers, Katherine Schaffner and Gladys Horton were in high school in Detroit, Michigan, they often sang harmonies at parties. Spotted at a talent show, the friends were brought to the attention of Berry Gordy's Motown recording studio and the Marvelettes were born. With Rogers singing lead vocal and Schaffner and Horton (who was later replaced by Ann Bogan ) on backup vocals, the Marvelettes' first album, Please Mr. Postman, was released in November 1961. It was a great success, with the title song reaching #1 the following year. The group's sound influenced the most important popular musicians of the day, and "Please Mr. Postman" was covered by the Beatles on their second album.

The Marvelettes produced an astonishing three albums in 1963, with Live on Stage released in June and Marvelettes Sing and Playboy released in November. These albums proved less successful than their first release, however, and the group's popularity fell off markedly. Motown waited three years to release their next album, Marvelettes' Greatest Hits. The group returned to the studio in 1967 to produce The Marvelettes, but the record did not prove a success. Their last recording, Sophisticated Soul, was released in 1968. Despite the group's brief career, the Marvelettes' songs have remained part of the American popular music scene, and their work can still be heard regularly on radio stations dedicated to music of the 1960s.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan

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