Wanda Young, member of Motown's first girl group The Marvelettes, has died

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Wanda Young, a singer with Motown's The Marvelettes who scored big with songs such as "Please Mr. Postman" and "Don't Mess With Bill," has died. She was 78. 

Young, an Inkster native, joined the Marvelettes in 1961 and sang backup vocals on "Postman" before eventually becoming the group's lead singer. The Marvelettes were considered Motown's first girl group and scored the label's first No. 1 hit with "Postman."

"We are so saddened by the news of Wanda Young of the Marvelettes passing," said Motown in a statement on Twitter on Friday. "What an impact she has had on the world of Classic Motown and the lives of so many. Her legacy will continue to live on."

Wanda Young, center, with fellow members of The Marvelettes, Gladys Horton, left, and Katherine Anderson, right.

A cause of death for Young was unclear Wednesday.

Aside from "Postman," the Marvelettes had several big hits: "Beechwood 4-5789," "The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game" and "My Baby Must Be a Magician."

In 2013, the group — which included Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Juanita Cowart, Georgeanna Tillman and Young — was nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Young — also known as Wanda Young-Rogers — sang lead on some of the group's later hits, including "Don't Mess with Bill." Young and the rest of Marvelettes' original members were all students at Inkster High School when the group formed.

But even with big hits such as "Postman," the group never officially got a gold record because Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. didn't report his sales to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which accredits and issues gold records. That changed in 2004 when Motown presented the group's remaining members with gold records for "Postman."

The Marvelettes are considered one of Motown's top girl groups along with the Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the Velvelettes.