Gladys Horton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gladys Horton
Gladys Horton 1963 (cropped).jpg
Horton in 1963
Background information
Birth nameGladys Catherine Horton
Born(1945-05-30)May 30, 1945 or (1944-05-30)May 30, 1944
Gainesville, Florida, United States
DiedJanuary 26, 2011(2011-01-26) (aged 65)
Sherman Oaks, California, United States[1]
GenresRhythm and blues, rock and roll, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, dancer
Years active1960–2009
LabelsTamla, Motown
Associated actsThe Marvelettes, The Casinyets, The Marvels, The Darnells

Gladys Catherine Horton (May 30, 1945[2] – January 26, 2011) (various sources cite her year of birth as 1944)[1] was an American R&B and pop singer, famous for being the founder and lead singer of the popular Motown all-female vocal group The Marvelettes.[3]


Born in Gainesville, Florida, she was raised in the western Detroit suburb of Inkster by foster parents. By the time of her high school years at Inkster High School on Middlebelt Road, Gladys had taken a strong interest in singing, joining the high school glee club. In 1960 Horton formed a group with her former highschool glee club members Georgeanna Tillman, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart. She also invited Georgia Dobbins to join her new group.

Early years[edit]

Formerly calling themselves The Casinyets (can't sing yet), the group eventually auditioned for Motown after a talent contest, and while the audition was successful, the group was requested to return to Hitsville with an original song. After member Georgia Dobbins co-created the song "Please Mr. Postman", Dobbins suddenly left the group after her father forbade her to be in nightclubs. Dobbins, who was also the group's original lead singer, gave Horton the spotlight to be the lead vocalist, a spot Horton was not comfortable with in the beginning. The group changed their name to the Marvelettes shortly after Motown signed the act and released "Please Mr. Postman" in the summer of 1961 when Horton was reportedly just fifteen years old.

Popular Success[edit]

The single eventually hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – becoming Motown's first No. 1 Pop hit – and turning the group into instant Motown stars. Horton would later sing lead on Marvelettes' classics such as "Playboy", "Beechwood 4-5789" and "Too Many Fish in the Sea". Horton's position as lead vocalist ended in 1965 with Wanda Young, who had replaced Dobbins, taking over from then on as lead vocalist. Horton left the group in 1967 and was replaced by Cleveland, Ohio vocalist Anne Bogan.

In the late 1980s, Horton and Wanda Young Rogers reunited to collaborate on the 1990 Marvelettes album for Ian Levine's Motor City Records label titled The Marvelettes...Now! though Young didn't take part in the group's performances. The Marvelettes released the single "Holding On With Both Hands" in 1990, which was sung on record by Wanda but performed by Gladys in public due to Wanda's severe personal problems.[4]

Later years and death[edit]

Gladys and former Marvelette Katherine Anderson were involved with Marc Taylor's official biography of the group. She remained semi-retired from the business to take care of her disabled son. However, she still performed on occasion as "Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes". She had resided in Southern California since the 1970s.

Gladys Horton died on January 26, 2011, in a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, California, following several strokes and years of declining health.[1]

The Marvelettes were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and again in 2015.


  1. ^ a b c Weber, Bruce (January 27, 2011). "Gladys Horton, Marvelettes' Lead Singer, Is Dead". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce (January 27, 2011). "Gladys Horton, Marvelettes' Lead Singer, Is Dead". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Biography: The Marvelettes". AllMusic. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  4. ^ Taylor, Marc (2004). The Original Marvelettes – Motown's Mystery Girl Group. New York: Aloiv Publishing Company.

External links[edit]