In the days before the Beatles hit the radio, one of my favorite songs was Beechwood 4-5789 by The Marvelettes. It was a big hit on AM radio in the summer of 1962. Co-written by Marvin Gaye, who also played drums on the track, the song got to number 17 on the pop charts that summer.
Although The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas ultimately had more success, it was The Marvelettes in 1961 who had the first number one hit with Please Mr. Postman. They got the ball rolling for the Motown girl groups.
In an interesting connection, The Beatles recorded Please Mr. Postman on their album With The Beatles. With John Lennon on lead vocals, the boys from Liverpool did a pretty good job on their version:
In the next couple of years, The Marvelettes had hits with Too Many Fish in the Sea (#25 in 1964), Don't Mess With Bill (#7 in 1966), The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game (#13 in 1967) and My Baby Must Be a Magician (#17 in 1968). These are all very good examples of the Motown sound of that era. In fact, I prefer these songs to many of Motown's bigger hits by the Supremes and other groups.
DON'T MESS WITH BILL
TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA
The Very Best of The Marvelettes is available on iTunes and from Amazon.