*The July 25th announcement by community activist Najee Ali – that President Trump signed a bill into law to have a Los Angeles post office renamed after the late great Marvin Gaye Jr. – reminded me of an interesting Motown connection. Remember the song “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes?
One of the principle writers of the song, Freddie Gorman, was an actual postman before signing on with Motown Records. And guess who the drummer was on that song, Motown’s first number one Pop hit!? It was none other than a young 22-year-old Marvin Gaye!
Wednesday’s press release read in part: “Marvin Gaye’s music has transcended generations and gave the [‘60s] ’70s and ’80s a sound,” said U.S. Representative Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, who introduced HR 1496 to rename the Dockweiler post office located at 3585 S. Vermont Avenue, the Marvin Gaye Post Office.
Gorman was a member of Motown’s male group The Originals. Working with Gaye as their writer/producer, they scored such hits as “Baby I’m For Real,” “The Bells” and others. After his career in entertainment came to an end, Gorman returned to the post office and opted for the quiet life.
In the sixties, Gaye was dubbed “The Prince of Motown” after his great successes with hits like “Hitch Hike,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “Too Busy Thinking ‘Bout My Baby” and the phenomenal “Heard It Through The Grapevine.” He began the seventies with the blockbuster “What’s Going On” (which, says Smokey Robinson, is “one of the greatest albums ever recorded!”). He also shared great successes from duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross.
In the eighties Gaye won a Grammy for “Sexual Healing.” He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was also a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ali says an official ceremony renaming the post office will be held sometime in the fall.
Take another listen to The Marvelettes singing “Please Mr. Postman” – Gladys Horton on lead vocals, and Marvin Gaye on drums!
*Note: Songwriting credits for “Please Mr. Postman” seem to have changed over the years. The original Tamla 45 single for the Marvelettes’ version credits “Dobbins/Garett/Brianbert” as the songwriters, and credits “Brianbert” as producer. The original With the Beatles album cover credited it to just Brian Holland. The 1976 Beatles discography book All Together Nowcredits the songwriting to Holland, Bateman, and Berry Gordy. The 1992 Motown boxed set Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection credits Dobbins, Garrett, Holland, Bateman, and Gorman as the composers. The Songwriters Hall of Fame credits “Please Mr. Postman” to just Holland, Bateman, and Gorman. EMI Music Publishing, the current music publisher of the song, list all five writers in their catalog. Wikipedia