Gladys Horton, pictured top right, with the Marvelettes
News is breaking that Metro-Detroit native Gladys Horton, former lead singer of the Marvelettes, died late Wednesday evening at a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, CA. Her son, Vaughn Thorton, said she'd been recovering from a recent stroke. Horton was only 66 years old.
My mother died peacefully," Horton's son said in a statement issued this morning by the Motown Alumni Association. "She fought as long as she could."
Horton, who was born in Detroit but raised in Inkster, rose to fame as a teenager when the Marvelettes released their hit single, "Please Mr. Postman," back in 1961 on Motown Records. The song grew into one of the most recognizable Motown songs of all time and was eventually covered by groups like the Carpenters and even mega rockers, the Beatles. Although Horton was the lead singer on that song and others such as "Too Many Fish in the Sea" and "Beechwood 4-56789," she was later replaced by Wanda Young and sang back up until she eventually left the group in 1967. She had other singing successes as an independent vocalist but always returned to do Motown revues and sing some of the Marvelettes classics. Below, check out some of the more heralded songs that Horton was a part of during her career.
Gladys Horton with the Funk Brothers -- "Please Mr. Postman"