Founder of the the all-female Motown vocal group, The Marvelettes, Gladys Horton, would’ve been 74 years old today. The group was known for their song, ‘Please Mr. Postman’ which became a hit when Horton was only fifteen years old. The singer died in 2011 at the age of 65. The Marvelettes were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and in 2015.
Today, 56 years ago, the first night of a two month Motown Records package tour, The Motortown Revue, started in Washington, DC. Early 1960 tours included performances from Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Marvelettes, Mary Wells, Barrett Strong and The Contours as headlining acts. Some of the then-second-tier artists who were given the chance to improve their skills included Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and The Temptations. Occasionally, even non-Motown performers such as Otis Redding, Dusty Springfield, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Shirelles and Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles were featured on the tours. In the early years of the Motortown Revue, most venues were situated along the “chitlin circuit” in eastern and southern America. Racism at the time, was an issue and African American performers faced threats and attacks from local white residents. Later tours from the mid 60’s branched out to the entire US and later the rest of the world as well.