The Marvelettes

Please Mr. Postman

Song Review by

Motown's first number one single, the Marvelettes' 1961 blockbuster "Please Mr. Postman" tailors the girl group sound to label specifications, rejecting the polished sweetness typical of the genre in favor of a tougher-minded, more urbanized approach. Gladys Horton's sandpaper vocal is equal parts attitude and anticipation, and while the song traffics in the kind of teenage melodrama so essential to the girl group idiom, it does so with a knowing irony; after all, for the unwarranted abuse the trio heaps on the poor mail carrier, they still preface all their entreaties with "please." Moreover, the beat (courtesy of drummer Marvin Gaye) is sublimely funky in ways no other girl group disc ever matched, and it all culminates in one of the single greatest line readings ("Delivah de lettah/De soonah de bettah") in rock & roll history. The Beatles later covered the song, John Lennon no doubt attracted to the sassy grit of Horton's lead, but they didn't do it any better.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1961 Must Have Records 2:26
The Marvelettes' Greatest Hits 1966 Motown / Uni 2:27
A Package of 16 Big Hits 1967
Various Artists
Motown 2:21
Souled Out 1969
Various Artists
Green Hill Productions 2:28
Motown Story 1971
Various Artists
Motown
Compact Command Performances 1982 Motown / Universal 2:27
Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound 1983
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1984
Various Artists
Motown
Every Great Motown Song, Vol. 1: The 1960s 1988
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 2:28
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Motown
Rhythm & Blues: 1961 1992
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Deliver: The Singles (1961-1971) 1993 Motown / Universal 2:29
Motown Classic Hits, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Motown 2:28
No Image 1994
Various Artists
MGM
The My Boyfriend's Back: The Story of the Girl Groups 1995
Various Artists
Life Times & Music 2:26
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1961 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:28
No Image 1995 Motown
Motown Legends, Vol.2 1995
Various Artists
Polygram / Motown 2:27
Tell It Like It Is: #1 60's Soul Hits, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
Relativity 2:25
Motown 40 Forever 1998
Various Artists
Motown 2:27
The Ultimate Collection 1998 Island/Def Jam / Motown / Universal 2:28
The Essential Collection [Spectrum] 1999 Spectrum Music 2:28
The Evolution of Soul 2000
Various Artists
Collectables
Ready Steady Go: Motown 2000
Various Artists
Polygram 2:27
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of the Marvelettes 2000 Motown 2:31
Motown: The Classic Years 2000
Various Artists
Motown 2:31
Greatest R&R Love Songs 2000
Various Artists
EMI 2:30
Girl Group Greats 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:28
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 1: 1958-1963 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
Dick Clark's #1's: 50's to 70's "When AM Radio Was King" 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:30
Motown 1960s Volume 1 2001
Various Artists
Motown 2:30
All Music Guide: Motown Memories 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 2:33
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:30
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:30
Pure 60's: The #1 Hits 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:28
Top Hits of the Sixties: Amazing Hits 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:30
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 60's Motown's Greatest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:29
Best of Soul 60s 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:29
The Motown Story, Vol. 1: The Sixties 2003
Various Artists
Motown / Ooo Universal 3:05
Respect: The Soul Generation Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:27
WCBS FM: Motown, Soul and Rock N Roll: Motown 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:31
Motown Number 1's 2004
Various Artists
Motown / Polydor / Universal 2:29
60's Soul Mix, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
Universal International 2:24
Soul Legends [Madacy #1] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:29
Best Hits in Japan: Best of 60's 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1959-1961 2005
Various Artists
Hip-O Select / Motown 2:31
Motown Classics: Gold 2005
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 2:29
Dancing in the Streets: Motowns Greatest Hits 2005
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:30
The Motown Box 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:04
Soul Divas 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Soul Legends: Motown Legends, Vol. 1-3 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:29
Ultimate 16: Classic R&B 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:25
Motown Story [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Motown 2:27
60's Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:30
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Motown 2:30
Original Divas [Madacy] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:28
Prime 17: Ultimate Soul #1 Hits 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:28
Malt Shop Memories, Vol. 5 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 2:29
Best of Motown, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Universal Distribution 2:27
Top Hits Of The Sixties: Greatest Hits 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 2:31
The 60s Collection 2008
Various Artists
Brunswick 2:29
Malt Shop Memories [Box Set] 2008
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:31
The Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Woman 2008
Various Artists
Ultimate / Union Square Music 2:30
Sweet Soul Music: 1961 2008
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 3:03
Motown for Kids 2008
Various Artists
Hip-O / Motown / Polydor / Universal 2:30
The Definitive Collection 2008 Motown / Universal 2:29
Malt Shop Memories: Dancing in the Street 2008
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:31
Motown 50 Fanthology 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music 2:28
Motown: The Complete No. 1's 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Island/Def Jam / Universal Music 2:29
Woman to Woman 2008
Various Artists
Universal International 2:30
Now That's What I Call Motown! 2009
Various Artists
Motown 2:29
Forever: The Complete Motown Albums, Vol. 1 2009 Motown 2:29
Motortown Review 2009
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:31
Motown 50: Love 2009
Various Artists
Universal 2:29
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:28
Total Motown 2010
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:30
The  Golden Age of American Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 12 2010
Various Artists
Ace
The Ultimate Oldies But Goodies Collection 2010
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:30
The Motown Collection 2010
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:30
100 Party Hits of the 60's 2011
Various Artists
Audiosonic 2:30
Heartbreakers 2012
Various Artists
Go Entertain
Be My Baby: The Girls of the Sixties 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:29
Icon: Motown Classics 2012
Various Artists
Motown 2:29
Jukebox Favourites: Hits of the 50's & 60's 2012
Various Artists
AP Music
Sixties Hits 2012
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 2:31
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 12: 1961 2012
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:30
Motown Anthems 2012
Various Artists
Universal Music TV
Dick Clark's Jukebox Gems: Heat Wave 2012
Various Artists
Life / Time 2:31
Dick Clark's Jukebox Gems 2013
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:31
Motown the Musical: Originals – The Classic Songs That Inspired the Broadway Show 2013
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 2:30
Sweet Soul Music 2013
Various Artists
Delta / Performance
She's So Fine: The Rise of the Girl Groups 2013
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:31
Street Corner Symphonies: The Complete Story of Doo Wop, Vol. 13: 1961 2013
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:30
Playboy/Please Mr. Postman 2013 Soul Jam 2:30
Girls of the '60s: Dedicated to the One I Love 2013
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:28
Motown the Musical: 100 Originals 2013
Various Artists
Cobalt Helladisc / Universal Music 2:31
100 Hits: Legends of Rock 'n' Roll 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:30
Ultimate Collection: 60s Classics [2014] 2014
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection / Union Square / Universal 2:30
From Motown With Love 2015
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:28
Greatest Ever 60s Party 2015
Various Artists
USM Media
You Make My Heart Sing 2016
Various Artists
Gopher
60s Classics: The Ultimate Collection 2017
Various Artists
Union Square
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:25
101 Kids Songs
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
16 #1 Hits From The Early 1960's
Various Artists
Motown 2:26
1950's & 1960's Golden Memories
Various Artists
Play 24-7 2:31
202 Motown Songs: The Complete #1's
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal Music 2:29
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:24
American Sounds of the 60's, Vol. 2
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:28
Beatles Beginnings, Vol. 6: Beatlemania 1963
Various Artists
History of RnB Records / Rhythm and Blues 2:30
Best of Motown Classics
Various Artists
Universal 2:30
Best of the 60's, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Polygram
Classic Motown
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:29
Classic Movies [Spectrum]
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:31
De Pre Historie: 1961, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 2:25
No Image
Various Artists
Rare Jazz Music Ltd 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:24
High Society: We Got the Soul
Various Artists
Universal
I Just Love Soul Music
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:28
Icon: Motown Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Motown 2:30
In the Beginning: The Mod Story
Various Artists
Not Now Music
Introduction to the Motown Elite 9000 Series
Various Artists
Motown 2:29
Motor City Memories [K-Tel]
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:27
Motown - in the Beginning
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Classics & Jazz 2:31
Motown Collection, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:31
Motown Hits 1960-1965
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal 2:29
Motown Hits: 1960-1965
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal 2:29
No Image
Various Artists
Motown
Oldies Hits A to Z, Vol. 7
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:25
Puppy Love [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 2:31
No Image
Various Artists
Allegro / Allegro Corporation / Rolling Stone
Rock 'n' Roll USA, Vol. 2: 1959-1962
Various Artists
Acrobat 2:30
Rock Around the Clock: Early Rock 'n' Roll Jukebox
Various Artists
Universal 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Rare Jazz Music Ltd 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Rare Jazz Music Ltd 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Com-Es Musik Schallplatten 2:28
Soda Shop Songbook
Various Artists
Universal 2:31
Soul Party [Not Now]
Various Artists
Not Now Music
Soul of the '60s
Various Artists
Time Life 2:30
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:30
Teenage Queens, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Cherished Records 2:29
The  Sockhop Collection: I Hear a Symphony
Various Artists
StarVista 2:31
Twist and Shout: 60 Songs That Influenced the Beatles
Various Artists
Big 3 2:31
Ultimate Rock 'n' Roll Love Songs
Various Artists
One Day Music
Way It Was: Let's Dance the 60's
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:25
What Made Mods
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:31
Will You Love Me Tomorrow: The Girl Groups of 50s & 60s
Various Artists
One Day Music
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