Wanda Young, member of Motown’s The Marvelettes, dies at 78
Free Press wire reports | 1/6/2022, 6 p.m.
DETROIT - Wanda Young, a member of Motown’s chart-topping The Marvelettes, died Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, in suburban Detroit. She was 78.
Meta Ventress said that her mother died in Garden City, Mich., of complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
As a teenager, Ms. Young joined The Marvelettes just after they signed with Motown Records, as they were working on the song that would make them stars, “Please Mr. Postman.” Ms. Young sang backup vocals on the track, which became the first No. 1 pop hit for Berry Gordy Jr’s Motown Records in 1961.
The all-female group was signed by Motown to its Tamla label earlier that year and included Georgeanna Tillman, Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart, according to the Motown Museum.
The teens were students at Inkster High School outside Detroit, and along with Georgia Dobbins, a graduate, were members of a singing group called The Casinyets. Ms. Young replaced Ms. Dobbins when Mr. Gordy signed the group.
Songs like “Twistin’Postman,” “Playboy” and “Too Many Fish In The Sea” followed “Please Mr. Postman.”
Ms. Young went on to sing lead vocals on several of The Marvelettes’ singles, including the million-selling “Don’t Mess with Bill” as well as “I’ll Keep Holding On,” “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game” and more.
“I told her constantly, ‘All these people love you,’ ” her daughter told the New York Times. “And she’d say, ‘Wow.’ She didn’t wake up every day thinking of The Marvelettes, but she never lost that glamour,” Ms. Ventress added.
The Motown Museum posted on its Facebook page that Ms. Young “helped The Marvelettes become one of the many success stories at Motown Records.”
After The Marvelettes disbanded in the early 1970s, Ms. Young recorded under another label.
Ms. Young and Ms. Horton sang on the 1990 album “The Marvelettes: Now!” according to the Times.
In addition to Ms. Ventress, Ms. Young is survived by children Robert Rogers III and Bobbae Rogers; seven grandchildren; a great-grandson; four sisters and four brothers.