The Marvelettes – “Please Mr. Postman” Pop #1, R&B #1
It took six songwriters, but Motown finally, swept the top of the charts with this song. The Marvelettes were a group of high school who entered a 1961 school talent contest for the chance to audition for Motown. While this original performance is certainly memorable, the group definitely isn’t, which is probably why both the Beatles and the Carpenters were successful with their covers.
For the Beatles, the song was a tribute to American Motown music free of specific artistic association (it wasn’t “The Beatles doing Smokey,” like their cover of “You Really Got A Hold On Me”). For the Carpenters, it was a chance to revisit the schoolgirl longing and nostalgia the song represented. (By the way, this entry contains way more than I ever thought I’d write on the Carpenters. Let us promise never to speak of them again.) — by Joel Francis