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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Marvelettes

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The Marvelettes' debut single, 1961’s “Please Mr. Postman,” was the first Motown song to hit No. 1. It’s an R&B-soul/doo-wop classic, to be sure, but a closer listen reveals just how lead singer Gladys Horton’s scorching lead vocal was an obvious influence on John Lennon’s early style, both his delivery and phrasing. And she was all of 16 when she recorded the song! One can’t overlook the sadness in the lyrics, about a girl waiting for a letter from her boyfriend who's off at war. Then there’s Marvin Gaye’s able, simple-beat drumming and Funk Brother James Jamerson’s dancing basslines. That stuff is inescapable. All 11 songs here are similar masterpieces, and each was an A-side hit single. The cautionary “Playboy” features another scary-soulful Horton vocal atop a relentlessly pounding piano. The Norman Whitfield–produced “Too Many Fish in the Sea” shows how beautifully arranged trade-off vocals can work, and the girl group’s 1966 comeback song—Smokey Robinson’s “Don’t Mess with Bill”—sports one of the best, if not shortest, sax solos ever put down. Robinson also wrote and produced the tender, Wanda Rogers–sung “My Baby Must Be a Magician.”

Customer Reviews

buy Beechwood 4-5789!!!!!

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Good music

Nothing like oldies... Great music!!!


I love this song. I was in a show called Megahits of the 60's for a theatre group i'm in and my friends did this song, and it rocked!!! You should buy this song.


Formed: 1960 in Inkster, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Probably the most pop-oriented of Motown's major female acts, the Marvelettes didn't project as strong an identity as the Supremes, Mary Wells, or Martha Reeves, but recorded quite a few hits, including Motown's first number one single, "Please Mr. Postman" (1961). "Postman," as well as other chirpy early-'60s hits like "Playboy," "Twistin' Postman," and "Beechwood 4-5789," were the label's purest girl group efforts. Featuring two strong lead singers, Gladys Horton and Wanda Young, the Marvelettes...
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