The 1950s and early 1960s are a fun time to write about because of all the pioneering in music going on. “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes is one of the great golden oldies and hails from the early Motown songs.
There were no smart phones — or even e-mail yet. There’s just the hope that the postman has a letter from her boyfriend who is “so far away.” Whether he is in military service or just somewhere traveling, you can feel the urgency in the words. This song by The Marvelettes, a girl group from Michigan, was their debut single on Motown’s Tamla label. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (the first Motown song to reach that position) and #1 on the R&B Chart in 1961. The Marvelettes had personnel changes over the years, but for this song, the group included Gladys Horton (lead), Wanda Young, Georgeanna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, and Katherine Anderson. “Please Mr. Postman” features instrumentation from The Funk Brothers (session musicians), which included Marvin Gaye on drums.
The Marvelettes were school mates from Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. They had hits with “Please Mr. Postman,” which earned an RIAA Gold Record, as did “Don’t Mess with Bill.”