News

Wanda Young of Motown Group The Marvelettes Has Died

Wanda Young was part of Motown girl group The Marvelettes, known for their 1961 No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Please Mr. Postman”.

Claudette Robinson, former vocalist of Motown group The Miracles, confirmed on Instagram over the weekend that The Marvelettes member Wanda Young has died. Young was 78-years-old. Cause of death is unknown. An official report came from UDiscoverMusic, where Young was honored for The Marvelettes impact during the Motown era.

Born Wanda LaFaye Young in Michigan in 1943, Young was a graduate of Inskter High School in the 1960s when she was approached by soon-to-be group member Gladys Horton to audition for a spot in girl group The Marvels. The audition came after former Marvels member Georgia Dobbins had left. Once Young joined, the group was renamed as The Marvelettes and recorded their debut single “Please Mr. Postman” for budding Berry Gordy imprint Tamla Records, which later became Motown.

While Young sang backing vocals on “Please Mr. Postman”, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100 as the group’s first No. 1 hit which tied with the release of their 1961 debut album aptly titled after the song. “Please Mr. Postman” was later reworked into covers by The Beatles on their 1963 album With the Beatles and 1974 The Carpenters album Horizon.

In 1963, Young married Bobby Rodgers of The Miracles, who she later divorced in 1975.

According to Pitchfork, Young’s first song as lead vocalist came in 1965 on “I’ll Keep Holding On” which reached No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Marvelettes continued recording throughout the 1960s, disbanding in the 1970s at the height of the disco era. Their final album, 1970s The Return of the Marvelettes was largely recorded by Young with production by Smokey Robinson. Joining UK record label Motorcity Label, Young and Horton reformed alongside two new members to release 1990 album Now!

The Marvelettes were inducted into The Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1995 and The Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, also nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and 2015.

 

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

Share
Published by
Jaelani Turner-Williams

Recent Posts

Memphis Police Releases Bodycam Footage of Deadly Tyre Nichols Beating

The city of Memphis has released four videos showing the beating that killed Tyre Nichols… Read More

January 27, 2023

Best Songs of The Week: ft. Kari Faux, Lil Yachty and More

The Round-Up is Okayplayer’s weekly playlist of the best songs in the worlds of hip-hop… Read More

January 27, 2023

‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Bob’s Burgers’ Gets Extension for Two Additional Seasons

Fox has given two-season renewals to animated favorites The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob's Burgers… Read More

January 27, 2023

Consequence Says He’s ‘Disgusted’ With Pusha T Cutting Ties With Kanye West

In an interview with The Art of Dialogue, longtime G.O.O.D. Music act Consequence accused Pusha… Read More

January 27, 2023

A Book On Erykah Badu Album ‘New Amerykah Part Two’ Is Coming in 2024

Written by Karmeryn Alexa Carter, a book on 2020 Erykah Badu album New Amerykah Part Two… Read More

January 27, 2023

7 New Hip-Hop & Neo-Soul Albums You Should Be Listening To (Week of January 27)

Styles P and Lil Yachty have dropped projects on this New Music Friday. Additional releases… Read More

January 27, 2023