California– Gladys Horton gave Motown Records its first No. 1 hit, as the lead voice of the Marvelettes on the 1961 classic “Please Mr. Postman.”
She spent the last several decades of her life in a frustrating attempt to get the group’s name back, after Motown sold it to a promoter who assigned it to an unrelated group that sang Marvelettes songs.
Horton died Wednesday night at a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., where she had been recovering from a stroke and pneumonia.
She was 66 and while she never did get the Marvelettes’ name back, she will be remembered for defining the sound of Motown’s breakthrough female vocal group.