About the song

Ah, yes, Please Mr. Postman (1961) by The Marvelettes. This iconic song is not only a cornerstone of early Motown but a cultural touchstone, capturing the youthful yearning and infectious energy of a bygone era. Released in August of 1961, it became the very first Motown single to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a remarkable feat that cemented the label’s arrival as a major force in the music industry.

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The Marvelettes themselves were a group of teenagers – four high school friends from Inkster, Michigan – discovered by Motown founder Berry Gordy. Their youthful exuberance and powerful vocals, particularly lead singer Gladys Horton’s soaring voice, were a perfect fit for the burgeoning Motown sound. Please Mr. Postman was written and produced by the legendary songwriting team of Brian Holland, Robert Bateman, Freddie Gorman, and Georgia Dobbins, known collectively as Brianbert. This team, along with lyricists like Lamont Dozier, would become the architects of the Motown sound, crafting countless hits that defined a generation.

Please Mr. Postman is deceptively simple on the surface. The lyrics tell the story of a young woman anxiously awaiting a letter from a loved one, pleading with the mailman to deliver it. Lines like “Baby, I get so lonely, you know I can’t stand it” and “Deliver my letter, move it on over” are delivered with a charming innocence, yet their longing resonates deeply. The song’s true genius lies in its infectious energy. The driving beat, courtesy of the legendary Funk Brothers – Motown’s core group of session musicians – is irresistible. The handclaps, tambourines, and call-and-response vocals create an atmosphere of youthful anticipation.

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Please Mr. Postman was more than just a catchy tune. It was a song that spoke to a generation. In the early 1960s, teenagers were a growing demographic with their own voices and desires. This song gave them an anthem, a way to express their hopes, anxieties, and dreams. It resonated not just with young women yearning for news from boyfriends, but with anyone waiting for a life-changing message, a job offer, a college acceptance letter.

The song’s impact transcended the charts. It became a cultural phenomenon, covered by countless artists, including The Beatles. It has been featured in movies and television shows for decades, a testament to its enduring appeal.

Please Mr. Postman stands as a landmark achievement, a song that perfectly captures the essence of early Motown. It’s a joyous celebration of teenage love, a testament to the power of youthful longing, and a reminder of the enduring magic of music.

Video

Lyrics

“Please Mr. Postman”

(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

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)

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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