Is or is not "Please Mr. Postman" the greatest song in rock'n'roll history? Bouncing immediately to the irresistible chorus with ferocious energy and an effortlessly tight rhythm section, it certainly hits the ground running.
OK, so maybe that's hyperbole - it's not the greatest song of all time (arguable), but it is
the greatest girl-group song of all time (and don't bring up The Ronettes, and The Shangri-La's "Leader of the Pack" is just a silly novelty number). "Please Mr. Postman" was also Motown's first No.1 hit single, so for that alone The Marvelettes earn at least a footnote in the history books.
The group never managed another hit anywhere near as smashing as that chart debut - how could they follow that up? But they nevertheless had plenty more good to great material in their reportoire, from their Top 10 hits, to the entries on the lower rungs of the Top 40 (or even 100), to worthy album tracks and B-sides that deserved wider exposure.
Apparently, The Marvelettes had five lineup changes over the course of their career (this compilation ends in 1970, after which they quietly split up for several years, after a dry spell of non-hits), so I'm not going to discuss who's who on what lead or backing vocal. As with most Motown performers, they maintained a consistent sound due to Berry Gordy's assembly line production ethic.
What counted was the song, and The Marvelettes received quality material for their A-sides from top-of-the-line songwriters Dozier/Holland and Smokey Robinson, among others.
At 25 tracks, there are bound to be a few misfires in The Ultimate Collection
, notably the quickie cash-in "Twistin' Postman", but mostly The Marvs delivered the goods - why they weren't promoted as successfully as The Supremes is a mystery (actually not, Berry Gordy had the hots for Diana Ross).
by Reviewer: Creative Noise
(blogging at Creative Noise
)13th August 2017