She was 66.
Horton’s rough, but memorable, vocals were heard on iconic hits likePlease, Mr. Postman,Beechwood 4-5789 and Too Many Fish in the Sea.
Vaughn Thornton, 40, says his mother passed away midday Wednesday, Jan. 26th, in a Sherman Oaks, Calif., nursing home where she had been recuperating from a stroke suffered in 2009.
“My mother died peacefully,” Thornton said. “She fought as long as she could.”
Following a successful talent contest to sing for Motown, Georgia Dobbins, who was the group’s first lead singer, co-wrote “Postman,” but had to leave the group after her father forbid her from singing in nightclubs.
Horton then became the lead singer and the group changed their name to The Marvelettes. Motown released the song in the summer of 1961 when Horton was only fifteen. It eventually climbed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
Through a press release earlier today, Motown founderBerry Gordy acknowledged Horton’s contributions to his young company:
I am so saddened to hear of the passing of another Motown great, one of our first, Gladys Horton, who with the Marvelettes, recorded our first #1 hit, “Please Mr. Postman,” and many others. Gladys was a very, very special lady, and I loved the way she sang with her rasp…y, soulful voice.
We will all miss her, and she will always be a part of the Motown family.