Fans of classic American music were hit with tragic news this weekend when reports revealed legendary Motown singer Wanda Young had died earlier this month. She was 78.
According to Fox News, Young’s daughter, Meta Ventress, confirmed in a statement to The New York Times that her mother had passed away Dec. 15 in Garden City, Michigan.
Ventress said Young died of complications associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
“Never lost that glamour”
Speaking with the Times, Ventress said she brought up her mother’s success frequently throughout her life. “I told her constantly, ‘All these people love you.’ And she’d say, ‘Wow.’”
Ventress added that Young, who was best known for being the co-lead singer of the chart-topping Motown group The Marvelettes, “never lost that glamour.”
Young was still in her teenage years when she replaced Georgia Dobbins in the group. By that point, The Marvelettes had already recorded their 1961 No. 1 hit single, “Please Mr. Postman.”
The New York Post reported Sunday that Young was also known as “a frequent collaborator” with legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson, who wrote many of the songs performed by The Marvelettes over the years.
“I knew if I could get a song to her, it would be a smash,” Robinson once said of Young, according to The New York Times.
Leaving a legacy
Other hits to come, according to Fox News, included “Twistin’ Postman,” “Playboy,” “Too Many Fish In The Sea,” “Don’t Mess With Bill,” “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game,” and “My Baby Must Be A Magician.”
On its website, the Motown Museum explains that The Marvelettes were “the earliest Motown girl group to achieve stardom” and had “charted a glamorous course for groups such as the Supremes and Martha Reeves & the Vandellas to follow.”
The Marvelettes “continued to produce hits for Motown well into the 1960s,” even as health problems resulted in changes to the group’s membership, the museum notes. The group was “inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and in 2013, The Marvelettes were inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame,” the museum said.
According to the New York Post, Young is survived by three children, seven grandchildren, a great-grandson, and eight siblings: four sisters and four brothers.