Post by Forever Motown on Jan 27, 2011 21:15:43 GMT -5
Marvelettes co-founder Gladys Horton dies at 66 Thu Jan 27, 4:20 PM EST
Gladys Horton, a co-founder of the Marvelettes who helped put fledgling Motown Records on the musical map with its first No. 1 hit "Please Mr. Postman," has died at age 66.
Horton died Wednesday at a nursing home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, where she had been recovering from a stroke, her son Vaughn Thornton said.
Horton was a teenager in the Detroit suburb of Inkster when she and friends formed a group they called "The Casinyets," short for "Can't Sing Yet."
By the time she was 15, Motown had given the group a new name and a hit song in "Please Mr. Postman." The tune, more pop-oriented than much of Motown's early recordings, was later covered by the Beatles and others.
"Gladys was a very, very special lady, and I loved the way she sang with her raspy, soulful voice," Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement. "We will all miss her, and she will always be a part of the Motown family."
He noted that "Please Mr. Postman" was the first No. 1 hit for the record label that would become known as Hitsville USA and produce such other popular all-girl groups as the Supremes and Vandellas.
The Marvelettes also had a hit with "Beachwood 4-5789." Their other popular songs included "Playboy," "Too Many Fish in the Sea" and "Twistin' Postman."
By the mid-1960s, however, the group's success began to wane as it was eclipsed by the Supremes and other Motown acts.
Horton was replaced as the group's lead singer in 1965, and she left the Marvelettes two years later.
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Post by Forever Motown on Jan 27, 2011 21:21:58 GMT -5
Gladys Horton, the Detroit native whose voice led such Marvelettes hits as "Please Mr. Postman" and "Beechwood 4-5789," died late Wednesday at a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. She was 66.
"My mother died peacefully," Horton's son, Vaughn Thornton, said in a statement issued this morning by the Motown Alumni Association. "She fought as long as she could."
Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. paid tribute to Horton this afternoon, lauding her as one of the first Motown greats.
"Gladys was a very, very special lady, and I loved the way she sang with her raspy, soulful voice," Gordy said through a spokesperson. "We will all miss her, and she will always be a part of the Motown family."
Horton had lived in the nursing facility since a stroke last year.
She had retired from the music business in spring 2009, noting that travel was no longer enjoyable, effectively ending the 48-year reign of the original Marvelettes.
"Love comes in two directions, from your hearts to us and from our hearts to you, and it has always been that way!" she wrote in a statement at the time.
As a student at Inkster High School, Horton helped found the group that would eventually become the Marvelettes, linking up with fellow glee club members Katherine Anderson, Juanita Cowart, Georgeanna Tillman and Georgia Dobbins.
A successful audition for Motown Records was followed in 1961 by the group's debut single, "Please Mr. Postman," with 17-year-old Horton on lead vocals. It became Motown's biggest pop crossover hit to that point, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100.
Horton was the lead singer on follow-up hits such as "Beechwood 4-5789," "Playboy" and "Too Many Fish In The Sea" before losing her lead role to Wanda Young in 1965. Horton departed the group in 1967 and moved to the Los Angeles area in the early 1970s.
She performed in later years as Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes, though she complained that her ability to tour was hampered by other "Marvelettes" incarnations with dubious ties to the original group. Her example was frequently cited amid legislative attempts to protect the naming rights of original artists.
Horton is survived by two sons. Funeral arrangements have not yet been set.
Post by Forever Motown on Jan 27, 2011 21:26:11 GMT -5
Gladys Horton, the powerful soul singer who co-founded the all-female Motown ensemble the Marvelettes, died late Wednesday in a nursing home outside of Los Angeles. The 66-year-old's cause of death is unknown, though she was recovering from complications due to a stroke she suffered last year, her son told the Associated Press.
Horton was born in 1944 in a suburb of Detroit and raised by foster parents. She joined a glee club in high school and almost immediately recruited four club members, including Georgia Dobbins, to create the modestly named the Casinyets (as in, can't sing yet).
The group's big break came in 1961 with an audition for Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson of the then-startup label Motown. They weren't originally given the opportunity -- they had placed fourth in their high school's talent show, with the top three receiving auditions -- but were granted an exception.
The quartet wowed the label with a second audition, performing what would become their first hit single, 'Please Mr. Postman,' co-written with Dobbins' friend and songwriter William Garrett. They settled on a new band name, the Marvelettes, and recorded the song with the famous Funk Brothers backing them. The song and its eponymous album skyrocketed to the top of the charts.
While the group released several records over the next six years, with successful singles such as 'Playboy' and 'Don't Mess With Bill,' they failed to reach the top of the charts again. During that time, one member, Juanita Cowart, had a nervous breakdown and quit. Another, Georgeanna Tillman, was diagnosed with lupus and left. At the same time, Motown began to shift its focus to newer artists better positioned to compete with suddenly popular English rock bands like the Beatles.
Horton left the group in 1967 to get married, and never returned fully to music. She devoted herself to taking care of her handicapped son, and largely stayed out of the public eye, even during the controversy that surfaced when the Marvelettes chose to continue performing with no original members. She performed only occasionally in the ensuing decades with no apparent interest in launching a solo career, billing herself simply as "Gladys Horton from the Marvelettes."
"My mother died peacefully," Horton's son, Vaughn Thornton, said Thursday morning in a statement released by the Motown Alumni Association. "She fought as long as she could." She is survived by Vaughn and another son. Funeral arrangements are pending.