Sunday, June 18, 2006

Postman Fred

Freddie Gorman, one of the lesser known Motown pioneers, has died. He was working appropriately as a postman prior to co-writing the Marvelettes classic Please Mr Postman in 1961 with Holland Dozier and Holland. (Interestingly the original Fontana single that I have credits Dobbins, Garrett and Brianbert as songwriters. I wonder who they were!) Apparently Freddie met Berry Gordy delivering mail to his mother's house and went on to record a number of solo records for the Ric Tic label as well as writing sings for other Motown acts including the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and the Four Tops. He achieved greater fame with the Originals who had a major hit with Baby I'm for real. Sadly I never saw Freddie live, although I believe he performed at a Northern soul gig in Manchester a few years back.
Since writing this I came across the following on Wikipedia which explains the songwriting puzzle:
In early 1961, The Marvelettes (then known as "The Marvels") arranged an audition for Berry Gordy's Tamla/Motown label. Marvels member Georgia Dobbins needed an original song for their audition , and got a blues song from her friend William Garrett, which she then reworked for the group. Dobbins left the group after the audition and was replaced, Gordy renamed the group and hired "Brianbert" - Brian Holland and Robert Bateman's songwriting partnership - to rework the song yet again. Freddie Gorman, another songwriting partner of Holland (before Holland became part of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team) was also involved in the final reworking. The song features Marvelettes lead singer Gladys Horton hoping that the postman has brought her a letter from her boyfriend, who is away at war. Marvin Gaye played drums on the Marvelettes' recording of this song. Songwriting credits for "Please Mr. Postman" seem to have changed over the years. The original Tamla 45 single for the Marvelettes' version credits "Dobbins/Garett/Brianbert" as the songwriters, and credits "Brianbert" as producer. The original With the Beatles album cover credited it to just Brian Holland. The 1974 Beatles discography book All Together Now credits it to Holland, Bateman, and Berry Gordy. The 1992 Motown boxed set Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection credits Dobbins, Garrett, Holland, Bateman, and Gorman as the composers. As of 2006, the Songwriters Hall of Fame credits "Please Mr. Postman" to just Holland, Bateman, and Gorman.


At 10:18 am , Blogger DaveC said...

I understand that Richard Searling put the Originals on in Manchester to celebrate his birthday. Shrewsbury's noted Soulsville resident went and sent me some photos. I imagine that he must have reviewed it for In The Basement.


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