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Gladys Horton, co-founder of ’60s girl group the Marvelettes, whose “Please Mr. Postman” was the first No. 1 for Motown Records, died Jan. 26 in Sherman Oaks. She was 66.
Her son, Vaughn Thornton, said Horton died in a nursing home where she had been recovering after a stroke.
The Marvelettes evolved from a teenage vocal group called the Casinyets — a play on “can’t sing yet” — in the Detroit suburb of Inkster. When Georgia Dobbins left the group, Horton took over lead vocal duties. She was 15 in 1961 when the Marvelettes recorded the pop classic “Please Mr. Postman.” It was remade by the Carpenters in 1974 and became one of only eight songs to top the Hot 100 by two different artists.
The Marvelettes had a pair of top 20 hits in 1962 with “Playboy” and “Beechwood 4-5789.” But then they hit a three-year spell when their singles mostly peaked in the mid-third of the pop chart, and Horton was replaced as lead singer in 1965. The following year, the group scored a No. 7 hit with “Don’t Mess With Bill,” but Horton left in 1967, and they disbanded in 1969.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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