Georgia Dobbins, who co-wrote Motown's first No. 1 hit 'Please Mr. Postman,' dies at 78
Georgia Dobbins, co-writer of Motown's first No. 1 hit "Please Mr. Postman" as part of The Marvelettes, died on Sept. 18 from cardiac arrest. She was 78.
Dobbins' daughter Kimberly Ann Watts confirmed the news to Rolling Stone. According to an obituary posted by a funeral home in her local Inkster, Mich., her family will celebrate her life at a service to be held on Sept. 29.
Even though Dobbins spent a short time with the quintet she helped found in the early 1960s, it was thanks to "Please Mr. Postman" that record executive Berry Gordy, Jr. gave the group a contract at his Motown Records.
"I started to sing and then he said, 'Hold it.' He ran upstairs and he brought down Berry, Diana Ross, and Martha Reeves," Dobbins said about auditioning "Please Mr. Postman" for Smokey Robinson in TV One's Unsung: The Marvelettes. "They all came down and Berry said, 'Let's sign them up.'"
But life in the spotlight wasn't in the cards for the budding singer/songwriter. At the time The Marvelettes were offered a record contract, they were all minors and Dobbins' father refused to give her permission. The high school graduate served as caretaker of her six brothers while her father worked two jobs and her mother "couldn't get up some days," she said in Unsung.
The opening in the group was filled by Wanda Young, and the rest is history.
Dobbins wrote the song without any previous songwriting experience. The lyrics were inspired by her real experience waiting for the mailman, who she hoped would bring a letter from her boyfriend in the Navy.
Although her name was lost in music history, Dobbins' song would go on to become a hit cover for The Beatles in 1963 and the Carpenters in 1975.