About The Song

“Please Mr. Postman,” the debut single by The Marvelettes, is not just a catchy tune about teenage love. Released in 1961, it became a cultural phenomenon, propelling a new sound and a record company – Motown – onto the national stage.

Background: From doo-wop dreams to Motown magic

The story of “Please Mr. Postman” begins in the doo-wop scene of Detroit. In 1960, four teenagers – Katherine Anderson, Wyanetta “Juanita” Cowart, Gladys Horton, and Georgeanna Tillman – formed a group called The Marvels. They practiced singing together, honing their soulful harmonies inspired by The Chantels and other girl groups of the era.

A chance encounter with songwriter Georgia Dobbins led them to Brian Holland, a young producer at Motown (then known as Tamla Records). Holland, along with songwriting partner Robert Bateman and lyricists Freddie Gorman and William “Mickey” Stevenson, saw potential in the group. They rechristened them The Marvelettes and crafted a song that captured the teenage yearning for connection.

“Please Mr. Postman” was born out of this collaboration. The lyrics, penned by Dobbins and Garrett, expressed a young girl’s impatience for a letter from her boyfriend. The song’s infectious melody and driving beat, driven by the legendary Motown session band The Funk Brothers, were a departure from the doo-wop sound. It was a new sound, brimming with youthful energy and optimism, that would become synonymous with Motown.

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Musical Style: A Signature Sound Emerges

“Please Mr. Postman” showcased the signature elements that would define the Motown sound. The song opens with a tambourine and a handclap, setting the infectious rhythm. The driving bassline by James Jamerson and the crisp drumming by Marvin Gaye (who also played drums on some early takes) lay the foundation.

The highlight of the song is the vocal interplay between the Marvelettes. Their youthful voices, full of raw emotion, harmonize beautifully on the chorus, pleading with the postman, “Delivery for me, gotta be a letter from my Eddie.” This call-and-response style, a staple of gospel music, became a signature feature of Motown.

Brian Holland and Robert Bateman, credited under the pseudonym “Brianbert,” employed a simple yet effective production style. They layered the vocals with a catchy piano riff and punctuated the song with brass fanfares, creating a dynamic and energetic soundscape. “Please Mr. Postman” wasn’t just a song; it was a blueprint for the Motown sound that would dominate the airwaves for years to come.

Lyrics: Teenage Yearning and Universal Appeal

The seemingly simple lyrics of “Please Mr. Postman” belied a deeper emotional core. The song captured the universal teenage experience of waiting for news from a loved one, the anticipation, the anxiety, and the hope. Lines like “I’ve been waiting all day long / For the mailman to come by and sing his song” resonated with a generation.

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However, the song transcended its teenage theme. The underlying message of longing and anticipation for good news could be applied to any situation. Whether waiting for a job offer, a letter from a loved one serving overseas, or simply hoping for a positive change, “Please Mr. Postman” provided a relatable narrative that resonated with a broad audience.

The song’s playful tone, evident in lines like “But this time, Mr. Postman / Don’t pass my door by,” added a layer of charm that endeared it to listeners. “Please Mr. Postman” struck a perfect balance between teenage angst and universal appeal, making it an anthem for a generation.

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Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤

(Wait) Oh yes, wait a minute, Mr. Postman
(Wait) Wai-hey-hey-hey-it, Mr. Postman(Please, Mr. Postman, look and see) Whoa yeah
(Is there a letter in your bag for me?) Please, please, Mr. Po-oh-ostman
(‘Cause it’s been a mighty long time) Whoa yeah
(Since I heard from this boyfriend of mine)There must be some word today
From my boyfriend so far away
Please, Mr. Postman, look and see
Is there a letter, a letter for me?
I’ve been standin’ here waitin’, Mr. Postman
So so patiently
For just a card or just a letter
Sayin’ he’s returnin’ home to me

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Please, Mr. Postman
(Please, Mr. Postman, look and see) Whoa yeah
(Is there a letter in your bag for me?) Please, please, Mr. Po-oh-oh-ostman
(‘Cause it’s been a mighty long time) Whoa yeah
(Since I heard from this boyfriend of mine)

So many days, you’ve passed me by
You saw the tears standin’ in my eye
You wouldn’t stop to make me feel better
By leavin’ me a card or a letter

Please, Mr. Postman, look and see
Is there a letter, oh yeah, in your bag for me?
You know it’s been so long
Yeah, since I heard from this boyfriend of mine

You better wait a minute, wait a minute
(Wait a minute, Mr. Postman)
Whoa, you better wait a minute
Please, please, Mr. Postman (Wait a minute, Mr. Postman)
Please check and see
Just one more time for me

You gotta wait a minute (wait), wait a minute (Wait a minute, Mr. Postman)
Oh you better wait a minute, wait a minute
Please, Mr. Po-ostman (Wait a minute, Mr. Postman)
Don’t pass me by, you see the tears in my eyes

You better wait (Wait)
Wait a minute (Wait a minute, Mr. Postman)
Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute
(Wait, wait a minute, Mr. Postman)
Please Mr. Postman

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