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PHOTO ESSAY

Motown

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The Marvelettes

The Marvelettes in 1968 (from left: Ann Bogan, Wanda Rogers, and Katherine Anderson). Courtesy of Photofest.

In 1961 Michigan teenagers and girl-group prototype The Marvelettes recorded "Please, Mr. Postman" for Motown's Tamla label, giving the company its first song to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. ("Money [That's What I Want]," by Barrett Strong, was the company's first song to make any list, reaching number 2 on the Billboard R & B chart in 1959.) Despite a promising start, the group was quickly overshadowed by more glamorous and sonically versatile acts such as The Supremes, even though they were modeled on the Marvelettes pioneering style. Founding group members consisted of Inkster High School classmates Gladys Horton and Georgia Dobbins; by the time of their disbandment in 1970, members had included, at various points, Wyanetta ("Juanita") Cowart, Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Marie Tillman, Wanda Young, and Ann Bogan, who joined in 1968. Other notable hits include "Beechwood 4-5789" (1962) and "Too Many Fish in the Sea" (1964).

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