R.I.P. Marvelettes co-founder, "Please Mr. Postman" writer Georgia Dobbins Davis

Photo courtesy Facebook

She was a founding member of one of the pioneering female vocal groups, and she co-wrote Motown’s first #1 hit. Tonight we say a sad goodbye to Georgia Dobbins (Davis), an original member of the Marvelettes and the co-writer of the smash “Please Mr. Postman.”

A Detroit teenager, Dobbins formed a vocal group at Inkster high school with Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart. Calling themselves The Marvels, the group auditioned for Motown head Berry Gordy, Jr., who asked for them to return with an original song.

Dobbins then took a blues song from her friend William Garrett and reworked it into an early version of "Please Mr. Postman," which the group performed for Gordy. Gordy knew he had a hit, but asked Brian Holland and Robert Bateman to further refine the song for radio. He also signed the group, renaming them The Marvelettes.

She was a founding member of one of the pioneering female vocal groups, and she co-wrote Motown’s first #1 hit. Tonight we say a sad goodbye to Georgia Dobbins (Davis), an original member of the Marvelettes and the co-writer of the smash “Please Mr. Postman.”

A Detroit teenager, Dobbins formed a vocal group at Inkster high school with Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart. Calling themselves The Marvels, the group auditioned for Motown head Berry Gordy, Jr., who asked for them to return with an original song.

Dobbins then took a blues song from her friend William Garrett and reworked it into an early version of "Please Mr. Postman," which the group performed for Gordy. Gordy knew he had a hit, but asked Brian Holland and Robert Bateman to further refine the song for radio. He also signed the group, renaming them The Marvelettes.

Unfortunately, Dobbins’ father forced her to leave the group because he was worried about the teens playing in nightclubs, and so Gladys Horton took over as the lead singer, and Dobbins faded from the musical spotlight.

“Please Mr. Postman” was not only a 1961 hit, it was Motown’s first #1, and help set the label up for a decade of radio dominance in the 60s.

Ultimately, very few fans ever knew the name Georgia Dobbins, but she played a pivotal, and unsung, role in the development of the greatest soul music label of all time. And today we salute her contribution, and give her family our deepest condolences.

By Chris Rizik

 
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