Thursday, January 27, 2011

Motownobit: Gladys Horton

Gladys Horton, lead singer of the Marvelettes, has died.

A co-founder of the band originally known as the Casinyets (short for Can't Sing Yet), she took over as main vocalist when Georgia Dobbins quit the group. Rebranded The Marvelettes, Horton was just fifteen when this song was a hit:

The follow-up to Please Mr Postman was Twistin' Postman, a song which attempted to have the cake of "songs about postmen seem popular" and eat the trend for the Twist. Not even the kids were going to buy that, though. Even so, he powerhouse of Motown and hook-ups with the like of Smokey Robinson kept the band in sales and the charts through the first half of the 1960s.

The band was never a fixed grouping - Georgeanna Tillman left through ill-health, as did Juanita Cowart. In a somewhat brutal move, in 1965 a new lead singer was brought in to the band, pushing Horton more to the sidelines. In 1967 she quit the group altogether to get married.

Horton never quite left the stage. Although looking after her son meant she was sort of semi-retired, she would play as Gladys Horton of The Marvelettes (Motown had sold the band name on and so no actual Marvelette was able to perform directly under the name.)

Gladys Horton died Wednesday in Sherman Oaks, California. She was 66.