MOTOWN'S FIRST EVER NUMBER ONE!
December 11, 1961 - The Marvelettes went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Please Mr Postman'. Notable as the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.
In April 1961, the Marvelettes (then known as "The Marvels") arranged an audition for Berry Gordy's Tamla label. Marvels member Georgia Dobbins needed an original song for their audition, and got a blues song from her friend William Garrett, which she then reworked for the group. Dobbins left the group after the audition and was replaced, Gordy renamed the group and hired "Brianbert"—Brian Holland and Robert Bateman's songwriting partnership—to rework the song yet again. Freddie Gorman, another songwriting partner of Holland (before Holland became part of the Holland–Dozier–Holland team) was also involved in the final reworking.
The Marvelettes recording features lead singer Gladys Horton hoping that the postman has brought her a letter from her boyfriend, who is away at war. Accompaniment is provided by the Funk Brothers, including 22 year old Marvin Gaye on drums.
Please Mr. Postman has been covered frequently, including a version by English rock group the Beatles on their With the Beatles album. Sung by John Lennon, their version reverses the genders. The Marvelettes' version appears in a bar fight scene in Mean Streets (1973), directed by Martin Scorsese. Later, a second hit version was recorded by the Carpenters, whose version took the song again to number one on the Hot 100 in early 1975. The Pat Boone Family released their version of the song at approximately the same time, resulting in both versions appearing simultaneously on the South African Hit Parade. The Carpenters' cover version was also sampled by rapper Juelz Santana for his single, Oh Yes.
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