Marvelettes lead singer Gladys Horton dies at 65

Gladys Horton, one of the founding members of all-female Motown group the Marvelettes, passed away this week at a Sherman Oaks, California nursing home.

According to the New York Times, Horton “recruited” three classmates- Katherine Anderson, Georgia Dobbins, Georgeanna Tillman and Juanita Cowart- to form a group they dubbed the Casinyets, a play on words to imply “can’t sing yet.” The group went on to record the early 60’s hit “Please Mr. Postman,” in which Horton sings the iconic line: “…deliver de-letter, de sooner de better…”

Per the Times article, the group has been generally described as founded collectively by the original members, but Anderson said Horton was the real driving force behind the Marvelettes:

“We only started singing together because Gladys asked us,” she recalled. “Usually we’d go to Georgeanna’s house and play canasta.”

Horton left the group in 1967 after becoming pregnant with her first child. She is survived by two of her three children, and two grandchildren.