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Wanda Young of Motown Marvelettes, dead at 78

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Wanda Young of Motown Marvelettes, dead at 78

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Wanda Young, best known as a member of popular and chart-topping Motown group, The Marvelettes, has died aged 78.

Young’s daughter Meta Ventress told the New York Times that her mother died on December 15 in Garden City, Michigan.

She told the outlet that the cause of death was linked to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The artist and his fellow Marvelettes were teenagers when they recorded their hit “Please Mr. Postman” for Motown Records boss Berry Gordy Jr. in 1961, marking the label’s first definitive pop hit.

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Wanda Young of the Marvelettes has passed away.
(James Kriegsmann / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

The all-girl group was signed by Motown to their label Tamla earlier that year and included Georgeanna Tillman, Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart, according to the Motown Museum.

The teens were students at Inkster High School outside of Detroit and, along with graduate Georgia Dobbins, were members of a singing group called The Casinyets. Young replaced Dobbins when Gordy signed the group.

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Songs like “Twistin ‘Postman”, “Playboy” and “Too Many Fish In The Sea” followed “Please Mr. Postman”. The group would later record hits such as “Don’t Mess With Bill”, “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” and “My Baby Must Be A Magician”.

Wanda Young of Motown Marvelettes, dead at 78

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Wanda Young (center) of the Marvelettes, has died aged 78.
(James Kriegsmann / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

Young sang the lead role on “Don’t Mess With Bill”.

“I kept telling him, ‘All these people love you,'” Ventress told The Times. “And she would say ‘Wow.'”

“She didn’t wake up everyday thinking about Marvelettes, but she never lost that glamor,” Ventress added.

The Motown Museum posted on its Facebook page that Young “helped the Marvelettes become one of Motown Records’ many success stories.”

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Wanda Young of Motown Marvelettes, dead at 78

 | Top stories

Wanda Young of the Marvelettes has passed away.
(Cyrus Andrews / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

After the dissolution of the Marvelettes in the early 1970s, Young recorded under another label.

Young and Horton performed on the 1990 album “The Marvelettes: Now!” according to the Times.

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In addition to Ventress, Young is survived by the children Robert Rogers III and Bobbae Rogers; seven grandchildren; a great-grandson; four sisters and four brothers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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