Wanda Young, one of the original Marvelettes on Motown’s Tamla label in the 1960s and later the group’s lead singer, has died. She was 78 and passed on Dec. 15 in Garden City, Michigan from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to her daughter.
Young joined the Marvelettes as they signed their first record deal with Motown. The group scored Motown’s first song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1961. The song also was No. 1 on the R&B chart.
“Please Mr. Postman” became the Marvelettes signature, and has since been covered by many acts, most notably the Beatles. Young was not the lead singer on “Please Mr. Postman,” but was the lead vocal on “So Long, Baby,” the B-side of the single.
Young was part of the group’s success on such hits as “Locking Up My Heart,” “Too Many Fish in the Sea,” “I’ll Keep Holding On,” “Don’t Mess with Bill,” “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game,” “When You’re Young and In Love” and “My Baby Must Be a Magician.”
Her stint with the group ended in 1968, and Young moved on to a moderate solo career in the early 1970s. She eventually left music altogether.
Survivors include three children, several grandchildren, and a great-grandchild, plus brothers and sisters. No memorial plans have been revealed.