Freitag, 1. August 2014

The Marvelettes - Part 1

The Marvelettes (Inkster, Michigan)
(Ref. The Darnells)

Juanita Cowart, Georgeanna Marie Tillman, Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson

Part 1: lineups, discography, biography, videos

Group members:

1st lineup (1960 – 1961):

Katherine Anderson
Juanita Cowart
Georgia Dobbins
Gladys Horton
Georgeanna Marie Tillman

2nd lineup (1961 - 1962):

Katherine Anderson
Juanita Cowart
Gladys Horton
Georgeanna Marie Tillman
Wanda Young

3rd lineup (1962 – 1965):

Katherine Anderson
Gladys Horton
Georgeanna Marie Tillman
Wanda Young

4th lineup (1965 -1968):

Katherine Anderson
Gladys Horton
Wanda Young

5th lineup (1968 – 1970):

Katherine Anderson
Anne Bogan
Wanda Young



1961 - Please Mr. Postman / So Long Baby (Tamla 54046)
1962 - Twistin' Postman / I Want A Guy (Tamla 54054)
1962 - Playboy / All The Love I've Got (Tamla 54060)
1962 - Beechwood 4-5789/ Someday, Someway (Tamla 54065)
1962 - Strange I Know / Too Strong To Be Strung Along (Tamla 54072)
1963 - Forever / Locking Up My Heart (Tamla 54077)
1963 - Tie A String Around My Finger / My Daddy Knows Best (Tamla 54082)
1963 - As Long As I Know He's Mine / Little Girl Blue (Tamla 54088)
1964 - He's A Good Guy (Yes He Is) / Goddess Of Love (Tamla 54091)
1964 - You're My Remedy / A Little Bit Of Sympathy, A Little Bit Of Love (Tamla 54097)
1964 - Too Many Fish In The Sea / A Need For Love (Tamla 54105)
1965 - I'll Keep Holding On / No Time For Tears (Tamla 54116)
1965 - Danger, Heartbreak Dead Ahead / Your Cheating Ways (Tamla 54120)
1965 - Don't Mess With Bill / Anything You Wanna Do (Tamla 54126)
1966 - You're The One / Paper Boy (Tamla 54131)
1967 - The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game / I Think I Can Change You (Tamla 54143)
1967 - When You're Young And In Love / The Day You Take One, You Have To Take The Other (Tamla 54150)
1967 - My Baby Must Be A Magician* / I Need Someone (Tamla 54158)
1968 - Here I Am Baby / Keep Off, No Trespassing (Tamla 54166)
1968 - Destination: Anywhere / What's So Easy For Two Is So Hard For One (Tamla 54171)
1968 - I'm Gonna Hold On As Long As I Can / Don't Make Hurting Me A Habit (Tamla 54177)
1969 - That's How Heartaches Are Made / Rainy Mourning (Tamla 54186)
1970 - Marionette / After All ** (Tamla 54198)
1972 - A Breath Taking Guy** / You're The One For Me Baby (Tamla 54213)

*Lead vocals by Wanda Young, background vocals by The Andantes, introduction by Melvin Franklin.
**Lead vocals by Wanda Young, background vocals by The Andantes.


 1961 – {Please Mr. Postman} Angel / I Want A Guy / Please Mr. Postman / So Long Baby / I Know How It Feels / Way Over There / Happy Days / You Don't Want Me No More / All The Love I’ve Got / Whisper / Oh I Apologize (Tamla LP TM 228)

 1962 – {The Marvelettes Smash Hits Of 62} Mashed Potato Time / Love Letters / The One Who Really Loves You / Twistin' The Night Away / Hey Baby / Twistin' Postman / Good Luck Charm / Slow Twist* / Lover Please / Dream Baby (Tamla LP TM 229)

 1962 – {Playboy} Playboy / Mix It Up / Beechwood 4-5789 / I'm Hooked / I Think I Can Change You / Forever / Someday, Someway / Goddess Of Love / You Should Know /(I've Got To) Cry Over You (Tamla LP TM 231)

1963 – {The Marvelous Marvelettes} Strange I Know / I Forgot About You / Locking Up My Heart / Which Way Did He Go / Silly Boy / It's Gonna Take A Lot Of Doing / Smart Aleck / My Daddy Knows Best / Too Strong To Be Strung Along / Why Must You Go (Tamla LP TM 237)

 1963 – {The Marvelettes Recorded Live On Stage } Beechwood 4-5789 / Strange I Know / Someday, Someway / Locking Up My Heart / Twistin' Postman / Tossing And Turning / So Long Baby / Playboy (Tamla LP TM 243)

 1963 – {Recorded Live At The Apollo Vol. 1} Medley: Strange I Know / Someday, Someway (Various Artists) (Motown MT 609)

 1964 – {Recorded Live The Motortown Revue Vol. 2} Medley: Please Mr. Postman / Playboy / Strange I Know / Someday, Someway (Various Artists) (Motown MT 615)

 1966 – {The Marvelettes’ Greatest Hits} Don't Mess With Bill / You're My Remedy / Locking Up My Heart / As Long As I Know He's Mine / Too Many Fish In The Sea / Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead / Please Mister Postman (alternate take) / Playboy / Strange I Know / Forever / Twistin' Postman / Beechwood 4-5789 (Tamla LP TM 253 / TS 253)

 1967 – {The Marvelettes} Barefootin' / Message To Michael / The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game / When You're Young And In Love / I Know Better / I Can't Turn Around / He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' / The Day You Take One (You Have To Take The Other)/ When I Need You / Keep Off, No Trespassing / This Night Was Made For Love / I Need Someone (Tamla LP TM 274 / TS 274) {aka “The Pink Album”}

 1968 – {Sophisticated Soul} My Baby Must Be A Magician / Destination: Anywhere / I'm Gonna Hold On Long As I Can / Here I Am Baby / You're The One For Me Bobby / Reachin' For Something I Can't Have / Your Love Can Save Me / You're The One / Don't Make Hurting Me A Habit / What's Easy For Two Is Hard For One / The Stranger / Someway Somehow (Tamla LP TM 286 / TS 286)

 1969 – {Full In Bloom} Seeing Is Believing / Sunshine Days / That's How Heartaches Are Made / The Truth's Outside My Door / I Have Someone (Who Loves Me Too)/ Uptown / At Last I See Love As It Really Is / Now Is The Time For Love / Too Many Tears Too Many Times / Rainy Mourning / Everybody Knows (But You)/ Love Silent Love Deep (Tamla LP TS 288)

 1970 – {The Return Of The Marvelettes} So I Can Love You / Marionette / That's How Heartaches Are Made / A Breath Taking Guy** / No More Tear Stained Make Up / Uptown / Someday We'll Be Together ** / After All** / Our Lips Just Seem To Rhyme Everytime / Fading Away / Take Me Where You Go / I'll Be In Trouble (Tamla LP TS 305)

**Lead vocals by Wanda Young, background vocals by The Andantes.


1962 – I Can’t Help It (Tamla Motown)
1962 – My Baby Won’t Come Back (Tamla Motown)
1962 – From Now On (Tamla Motown)
1963 – Don’t Fence Me In (Tamla Motown)
1963 – That’s The Way I See Him (Tamla Motown)
1963 – One Kiss Led To Another (Tamla Motown)
1963 – You Better Behave (Tamla Motown)
1963 – Queen Of The Fools (Tamla Motown)
1963 – Dance A While, Cry A While (Tamla Motown)
1963 – Johnny Do Right (Tamla Motown)
1963 – You Better Cool It (Tamla Motown)
1963 – Grass Seems Greener (On The Other Side) (Tamla Motown)
1964 – Knock On My Door (Tamla Motown)
1964 – You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar (Tamla Motown)
1964 – Finders Keepers Losers Weepers (Tamla Motown)
1964 – The Train That’s Bringing My Baby (Tamla Motown)
1964 – Because I Love Him (Tamla Motown)
1964 – I Just Can’t Let Him Down (Tamla Motown)
1964 – I Should’ve Known Better (Tamla Motown)
1964 – On The Other Side Of Town (Tamla Motown)
1965 – Little Girls Grow Up (Tamla Motown)
1965 – The Boy From Crosstown (Tamla Motown)
1965 – Learning To Forget You (Tamla Motown)
1965 – Maybe I Dried My Tears (For The Last Time) (Tamla Motown)
1966 – Just One More Kiss (Before You Leave Me) (Tamla Motown)
1966 – So Glad It’s Summertime (Tamla Motown)
1966 – You Lost The Sweetest Boy (Tamla Motown)
1966 – I Hope You Have Better Luck Than I Did (Tamla Motown)
1966 – Poor Little Rich Girl (Tamla Motown)
1966 – Sugar’s Never Been As Sweet As You (Tamla Motown)
1966 – The Boy From Crosstown (Tamla Motown)
1966 – There Is No Tomorrow (Only Tears And Sorrow) (Tamla Motown)
1969 - Breakthru (I've Got My Freedom) (Tamla Motown)
1969 – I Can’t Wait Till Summer Comes (Tamla Motown)
1969 – Love Is Good (Tamla Motown)
1969 - Caught You Putting The Game On Love (Tamla Motown)
1969 – When My Love Was Born (Tamla Motown)
1969 - Why'd You Do It (Tamla Motown)
1970 – Change Of Heart (Tamla Motown)


The Marvelettes were a big part of all the excitement. From the early days of Motown through the end of its first and best decade, this group from the Detroit suburb of Inkster, Michigan delivered a steady stream of hit records noted for strong lead vocals by two of Hitsville U.S.A.'s best, though sometimes overlooked, singers, Gladys Horton and Wanda Young. Those two in particular would bring the goods, time and again, hitting the "sweet spot" that sometimes made them more compelling than the bigger Motown acts.

Gladys Horton

It all started around 1960 when Galdys Horton and aspiring songwriter Georgia Dobbins set out to put together a high school girl group. The Shirelles were red-hot at the time, and the two close friends had caught the bug... what did it matter if they couldn't sing? Ambition and drive would get them 90 percent of the way there. Georgeanna Tillman, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart threw in with them, and the five called themselves The Casinyets (as in "Can't Sing Yet"). They quickly discovered they could sing, and very well at that. The group's founding members performed together at their glee club at Inkster High School in Inkster, Michigan.

Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart. Gladys Horton

In the spring of 1961, while The Miracles' "Shop Around," the first big Tamla label hit, was still on the charts, the girls auditioned successfully for the label using the name The Marvels, resulting in Brian Holland and Robert Bateman producing their first record under the pseudonym Brianbert. Bossman Berry Gordy suggested a name change to the more female-sounding Marvelettes. Dobbins and pianist William Garrett came up with "Please Mr. Postman" (with lyrics like 'deliver de letter de sooner de better,' a good fit for Gladys's brassy vocal style). Georgia Dobbins left the group just before the recording, because her Christian father didn't want her to sing in night clubs. Yet her replacement, Wanda Young, developed into such a dynamic vocalist it would seem the switch was key to the long-term success of the group.

Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Wanda Young, Georgeanna Marie Tillman

The record got off to a slow start on the charts in September, took a slight but disheartening drop a month later, then rebounded into the top 40, overcoming yet another backwards bump before getting to the top ten. Finally, in December 1961, "Please Mr. Postman" went where even Bill "Smokey" Robinson and his Miracles had not: number one on the pop charts, a first for the fledgling company. The 'lettes were Gordy's pets after that, though I have to question the wisdom of releasing "Twistin' Postman" as the follow-up... quickie sequels of that type have often stalled an artist's career. In this case, talent and the newfound clout Motown had with record distributors (not unusual when coming off a number one hit) kept things on track. They were back in the top ten in June 1962 with "Playboy" and the hit streak continued in the fall with "Beechwood 4-5789," perhaps the most famous phone number in rock music history.

Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Marie Tillman, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson

The whole gang at Hitsville headquarters came up with songs for the Marvelettes, including Mickey Stevenson, Marvin Gaye, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Freddie Gorman. Smokey put in his two cents with "He's a Good Guy (Yes He Is)" and "You're My Remedy," yet in 1963 the group went into a slump, both creatively and commercially. The act began to splinter; Juanita Cowart left the group due to constant teasing about a silly comment that she made on Dick Clark's show American Bandstand - she said that that Inkster was "a suburb of Detroit." Motown reported that her departure was caused by a nervous breakdown. The group continued as a quartet. Romantic entanglements among label staff led to the marriages of Wanda Young (to the Miracles' Bobby Rogers) and Georgianna Tillman (to Billy Gordon of The Contours).

Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson

Single releases weren't catching on like before, and suddenly there was in-house competition from Martha and the Vandellas and The Supremes, both starting to break into the top 40 at that time. An experimental release using the name The Darnells, "Too Hurt to Cry, Too Much in Love to Say Goodbye" failed to hit, but remains a curiosity. The Marvelettes' actual input at the session has been questioned, and at least partial vocals from Motown backing group The Andantes is a likelihood. The entire project seems to have been a sort of goulash stew where contributions came from whoever happened to wander into the studio that day. The flip, "Come On Home," is one of those strange group efforts that sounds unrehearsed: mostly an instrumental, what vocals are heard are by male singers, possibly members of The Temptations and Contours, Eddie Holland and others.

Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson, Gladys Horton

Down to four members in 1964, they got back on track with the Eddie Holland-Norman Whitfield song "Too Many Fish in the Sea," advising women to not just settle for the first guy that comes along (much like the Miracles' mom had recommended in "Shop Around"). It was a hit late in 1964, and the start of a newfound momentum for three members at least, as health problems soon forced Georgeanna Tillman to quit. The girls continued with Anderson backing two lead singers, Horton and Young. In fact, this pared-down version of the group, with Wanda taking most of the lead vocals starting with "I'll Keep Holding On," returned them to the heights of the original lineup's first two years. Smokey's (autobiographical?) "Don't Mess With Bill" went top ten in March 1966 (for the first time since "Playboy" nearly four years earlier) and he penned several follow-up hits, including "You're the One," 1967 career highlight "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game," "My Baby Must Be a Magician" ('cause he's sure got the magic touch') featuring Melvin Franklin of The Temptations as the illusionist-of-love, and "Here I Am Baby," all with Wanda's appealingly sultry lead vocals.

Katherine Anderson, Gladys Horton, Wanda Young

Van McCoy's "When You're Young and in Love" (a minor hit a few years earlier by Ruby and the Romantics) was one of the group's 1967 hits, and the following year Ashford and Simpson contributed to the Marvelettes' stockpile with "Destination: Anywhere." Around this time Gladys Horton married and left the group (replaced by Anne Young for a short time). By the start of the 1970s, Wanda Young was the only one left; the other members had each moved on to new chapters of their lives. Motown made solo recordings with Young, releasing these one-woman-group efforts under The Marvelettes' name for the next year or so. She left Motown in 1972 at about the same time Gordy was moving the operation from Detroit to Los Angeles.

Anne Bogan, Katherine Anderson, Wanda Young

Wanda Young’s personal problems with drug addiction and alcohol led to her downfall. Her marriage to Bobby Rogers ended in the early 1970s and Wanda dropped out of sight completely. Gladys Horton settled at Los Angeles taking care of her handicapped son while occasionally singing as “Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes” and also battling against the fake groups performing as the Marvelettes. Katherine Anderson settled for social work in Detroit. Georgeanna Tillman died from her battle with lupus dying in 1980 at the age of just 35. Juanita Cowart’s whereabouts haven’t been known. Georgia Dobbins also settled for social work after splitting from the Marvelettes. In 1989, Gladys Horton and Wanda Young put together a new Marvelettes group. The resulting LP, "The Marvelettes... Now!" was released in 1990 on Motorcity Records.

Anne Bogan, Katherine Anderson, Wanda Young

Similar to the story of Ten Little Indians, they had started with five and gradually worked their way to one, then none. But Motown's first girl group, the marvelous Marvelettes, claimed a unique place in music history along the way. The group has received several honors, including the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2005, two of the group's most successful recordings, "Please Mr. Postman" and "Don't Mess with Bill" earned million-selling Gold singles from the RIAA. In 2012, the Marvelettes were nominated for 2013 induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


Photo gallery:

Marvelettes (American Bandstand host Dick Clark is flanked by the Marvelettes, with Barney Ales and local promotion man Buzz Curtis at the far left and right respectively)

Wanda Young, Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, Katherine Anderson

Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Marie Tillman

Gladys Horton, Wanda Young, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Marie Tillman



Mr. Postman

Too Many Fish In The Sea

Hits Medley

Don’t Mess With Bill

2 Kommentare:

  1. Juanita Cowart's whereabouts have been very much known for years. She's in Inkster, Michigan and has attended events where the Marvelettes have been honored.