Marvelous Marvelettes: Who They Are
Ah, the Marvelettes. Where do I even begin?
The Marvelettes were an all-female soul vocal group from the Motown label. They formed in 1961 in Inkster, Michigan and were comprised of schoolmates Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Wanda Young, and Juanita Cowart.
The Marvelettes were one of the first female groups to sign with Motown and they quickly rose to prominence, becoming a major part of the label’s early success. They had a string of hits throughout the 1960s, including “Please Mr. Postman” (which became their first and only number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100), “Beechwood 4-5789”, “Don’t Mess with Bill”, “Too Many Fish in the Sea”, and “My Baby Must Be a Magician”.
The Marvelettes were known for their strong vocal harmonies, catchy melodies, and upbeat songs. They had a unique style that was a blend of R&B, soul, and pop, with a touch of doo-wop thrown in. Their songs often featured intricate vocal arrangements, catchy hooks, and a lush musical backdrop.
The Marvelettes were also known for their striking fashion sense. The group was known for wearing sequin dresses, fishnet stockings, and beehive hairdos. They were also known for their choreographed dance moves, which were an integral part of their live performances.
The Marvelettes were Motown’s most successful female vocal group in the early 1960s, and they paved the way for other female groups such as The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas. They were one of the first female groups to have success on the pop charts and their influence can still be heard in modern music today.
Unfortunately, The Marvelettes disbanded in 1969 due to personal issues and creative differences. However, their legacy lives on and their music is still enjoyed by fans all over the world. For those who haven’t heard them yet, I highly recommend checking out their music. It’s sure to put a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
Marvelous Marvelettes: Controversies Abound
The Marvelettes have been subject to a number of controversies over the years, many of which have been in relation to their commercial success.
The first controversy came in 1962 when the group were asked to record a cover version of the classic Motown hit ‘Please Mr. Postman’. While the group were initially excited about the prospect of recording the song, lead singer Gladys Horton was eventually persuaded to let her younger sister, Georgia, sing lead on the track. This move was highly controversial at the time, with many questioning why the group had not allowed Gladys to take the lead role on one of the biggest hits of their career.
Another controversy arose in 1967 when the group released their single ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game’. The song was seen as controversial due to its lyrical content, which many interpreted as a reference to the Vietnam War. While the group denied any such reference, the single was banned from many radio stations, which further contributed to the controversy.
The most recent controversy surrounding the group came in 2011, when it was revealed that one of the group’s members, Katherine Anderson Schaffner, had not been credited with her contributions to the group. Schaffner had been a member of the group from 1961 to 1967 and had co-written some of the group’s biggest hits, including ‘Please Mr. Postman’ and ‘The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game’. However, her contributions had not been credited until 2011, with the release of a box set of the group’s work. This led to a public outcry and an apology from Motown Records.
Secrets of The Marvelettes
• The Marvelettes’ 1961 hit single “Please Mr. Postman” was the first Motown song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
• The group’s lead singer Gladys Horton went on to become a schoolteacher after the group split in 1968.
• The Marvelettes were the first Motown group to have a million-selling single with “Please Mr. Postman”.
• The Marvelettes were the first Motown group to have a Top 10 hit in the United Kingdom with “Don’t Mess With Bill”.
• The Marvelettes were the first Motown group to have a Top 10 hit in Germany with “Beechwood 4-5789”.
• In 2009, the Marvelettes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
• The Marvelettes released a total of 17 singles on Motown between 1961 and 1967.
• The Marvelettes’ final single, 1967’s “My Baby Must Be a Magician,” was the group’s final chart entry, reaching #53 on the pop singles chart.
• The Marvelettes were the first Motown group to be covered by a British act, when the Beatles recorded “Please Mr. Postman” for their debut album Please Please Me.
• The Marvelettes’ song “Too Many Fish in the Sea” was recorded by the Rolling Stones for their 1965 album Out of Our Heads.
• Gladys Horton was the group’s last surviving member when she passed away in 2011.
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