The Marvelettes’ debut album on Tamla in ’61.
The Beatles recorded “Please Mr. Postman for their second
UK Parlophone album “With The Beatles” in ’63; The track was released
here in ’64 on “The Beatles’ Second Album” on Capitol of which the above
illustration was not the front cover.
The British Royal Mail has created a series
of postage stamps to honor Paul McCartney.
Of course, there’s a whole generation of young folks
who never use stamps and letters but before emails and
texts existed, mailing physical communications was an
essential part of daily and business life.
So with all this in mind, I thought I’d put together a random
group of some of the many songs which reference postmen,
letters and telegrams…
PLEASE MR. POSTMAN
(Brian Holland/Robert Bateman/
Georgia Dobbins/William Garrett/Freddie Gorman)
by The Marvelettes
Pro: Brian Holland & Robert Bateman
Gladys Horton sings lead on this, the very first Motown
chart topper and on which Marvin Gaye played drums.
Co-writer Freddie Gorman was a postman in real life!
follow-up single was “Twistin’ Postman”.
PLEASE MR. POSTMAN returned to #1
on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1975
when revived by The Carpenters.
LETTER FULL OF TEARS
by Gladys Knight & The Pips
A Bobby Robinson/Marshall E. Sehorn Prod.
An R&B & Pop success in early ’62, this was only
the second song ever to chart for Gladys Knight.
SEND ME SOME LOVIN’
(Leo Price/John Marascalco)
by Little Richard
Pro: Robert Blackwell
‘Send me your picture/Send it my dear’
(BLAME IT) ON THE PONY EXPRESS
(Tony Macaulay/Roger Greenaway/Roger Cook)
by Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon/
Pro: Tony Macaulay
Arr & Dir: Lew Warburton
TAKE A LETTER MARIA
by R.B. Greaves
Pro: Ahmet Ertegun
String Arr: Arif Mardin
R.B. was the nephew of Sam Cooke.
by Lloyd Price
Released as the flipside of Lloyd’s
breakthrough classic “Lawdy Miss Clawdy’.
GREETINGS (This Is Uncle Sam)
(Robert Bateman/Ronald Dunbar/
Lawrence T. Horn/The Valadiers)
by The Valadiers
Pro: Berry Gordy
‘Please, please write everyday’
HEY MR. POSTMAN
(Don Raye/Paul Weston)
by Ella Mae Morse w/Freddie Slack & Rhythm Section
by Rusty York
Rockabilly singer Rusty York with a song
bv country singer/songwriter Marty Robbins
remembered for his own million-selling
“El Paso” that same year.
‘I got a letter from my baby’
(Wayne Carson Thompson)
by The Box Tops
Pro: Dan Penn
This topped the Hot 100 in September ’67.
Alex Chilton was lead singer. Song went
Top Ten again in 1970 via a version by
HEY WESTERN UNION MAN
(Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff/Jerry Butler)
by Jerry Butler
Pro: Gamble & Huff
Arr: Bobby Martin
STRAWBERRY LETTER 23
by The Brothers Johnson
Pro: Quincy Jones
Song originally recorded by Shuggie Otis
whose version was produced by his father,
‘A present from you/Strawberry letter 22’
WRITE ME A LETTER
by The Ravens
Lead singer was the much celebrated Jimmy Ricks.
I’LL BE HOME
(Stan Lewis/Ferdinand Washington)
by The Flamingos
A Top 5 R&B hit here in ’56.
Successfully covered that year by Pat Boone
whose version hit #1 in the UK that June.
‘So darling, as I write this letter
Here’s hoping you’re thinking of me’
THE POSTMAN JUST PASSES ME BY
(Cowboy Copas/Hal Compton)
by Cowboy Copas
I WISH I’D NEVER LEARNED TO READ
(Mamie Thomas/Leroy Kirkland)
by The Five Keys with Howard Biggs & His Orchestra
‘I’m just holding your letter/Right next to my heart’
WHY DON’T YOU WRITE ME?
by The Feathers
(Show Time: 1955)
Song was successfully covered by The Jacks
(aka The Cadets) whose version hit on RPM
was a major R&B hit the same year.
A LETTER TO MYSELF
(Eugene Record/Sandra Drayton)
by The Ch-Lites
Pro: Eugene Record
Dir: Willie Henderson & Quinton Joseph
Reached #3 R&B & #3 Pop here in early ’73.
(Brook Benton/Clyde Otis)
by Brook Benton
Pro: Clyde Otis
Arr &Cond: Belford Hendricks
‘I wrote you a six-page letter
I called you on the phone’
(Danny Dill/Mel Tillis)
by Bobby Bare
Pro: Chet Atkins
(RCA Victor: 1963)
Song initially released as “I Wanna Go Home”
by Billy Grammer in ’62. DETROIT CITY later
revived by Tom Jones in ’68.
‘Homefolks think I'm big in Detroit City
From the letters that I write, they think I'm fine’.
THE LETTER EDGED IN BLACK
by Johnny Cash
Song first recorded by its composer in 1897.
Johnny Cash’s previously unreleased version
was issued by Legacy in 2006 in a
2-CD set titled “Personal File”.
A DEAR JOHN LETTER
(Lewis Tally/Fuzzy Owen)
by Jean Shepard
Recitation by Ferlin Huskey
SOLDIER’S LAST LETTER
(Ernest Tubb/Henry Stewart)
by Ernest Tubb
This reached #1 Country. Years later in 1950, Ernest Tubb
charted with a song he co-wrote with Arbie Gibson titled
“Letters Have No Arms”.
GOING UP TO THE COUNTRY,
PAINT MY MAILBOX BLUE
by Taj Mahal
Pro: David Rubinson
From Taj’s second album.
(Victor Young/Edward Heyman)
by Ketty Lester
Pro: Ed Cobb
Arr: Lincoln Mayorga
The Victor Young melody was the theme
of the 1945 romantic film “Love Letters”.
The subsequent lyric by Edward Heyman
was a success that year for Dick Haymes.
Lincoln Mayorga’s arrangement for the Ketty Lester
version was virtually recreated for
Elvis Presley’s 1966 revival.
P.S. I LOVE YOU
(Gordon Jenkins/Johnny Mercer)
by Jimmy Witherspoon
Pro: Peter Paul
Arr: Roger Kellaway
Song originally published in 1934.
From Jimmy’s album “Blues For Easy Lovers”.
(The Beatles also recorded a Lennon & McCartney song
withthe same title; it was originally issued on UK Parlophone
in ‘62 as the B-side to “Love Me Do”).
AIR MAIL SPECIAL DELIVERY
(Gene Pitney/Aaron Schroeder)
by Gene Pitney
Pro: Aaron Schroeder
Released as the B-side of the movie song
“Town Without Pity”
by Johnnie Ray with The Four Lads
Pro: Mitch Miller
Song became Johnnie Ray’s signature tune.
‘If your sweetheart sends a letter of goodbye
It's no secret you'll feel better if you cry’.
LONELY BLUE BOY
(Ben Weisman/Fred Wise)
by Conway Twitty
Song originally sung under the title “Danny”
by Elvis Presley for inclusion in his 1958 movie “King Creole”
but it was dropped from the final film. Several other artists
recorded “Danny” including Britain’s Cliff Richard but under
therevised title LONELY BLUE BOY, it became a Top Ten
smash here in 1960 for Conway Twitty.
‘I'm writing this letter to someone unknown’.
RETURN TO SENDER
(Otis Blackwell/Winfield Scott)
by Elvis Presley with The Jordanaires
Pro: Steve Sholes & Chet Atkins
From Elvis’s film “Girls! Girls! Girls”.
‘I gave a letter to the postman
He put it in his sack’
COTTAGE FOR SALE
(Larry Conley/Willard Robison)
by James Brown
Pro: James Brown
From James’ album
“Thinking About Little Willie John
And A Few Nice Things”.
COTTAGE FOR SALE was first published in 1930.
‘The key's in the mailbox, the same as before’.
I’M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN
AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER
(Fred E. Ahlert/Joe Young)
by Billy Williams
Chorus & Orch Dir: Dick Jacobs
Song dates from 1935 when it was a huge success
by singer/pianist Fats Waller. Billy Williams’
version went Top Ten R&B and Pop in ’57.
A LETTER TO THE BEATLES
(Ivan Ulz/Glenn Larson/Bruce Belland)
by The Four Preps
Pro: Stu Phillips
Arr & Cond: Ray Pohlman
“I Want To Hold Your Hand”.
A LETTER FROM BETTY
(Bob Feldman/Jerry Goldstein/Richard Gottehrer)
by Bobby Vee with The Johnny Mann Singers
Pro: Snuff Garrett
Arr & Cond: Ernie Freeman
LETTER TO LUCILLE
by Tom Jones
Pro: Gordon Mills
Arr: Johnnie Spence
A LETTER TO YOU
by Shakin’ Stevens
Pro: Peter Collins
LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND
(Nick Kenny/Charles Kenny/J. Fred Coots)
by Pat Boone
Pro: Randy Wood/Orch Cond Billy Vaughn
This was the fourth of six Pat Boone records that topped
the Billboard Hot 100. Song dates back to 1931 and was featured
by Pat Boone in his first feature film “Bernadine”.
TEARDROPS ON YOUR LETTER
by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters
Pro: Henry Glover
(Michael Rabon/Norman Ezell/John Durrill)
by The Five Americans
Pro: Dale Hawkins
A decade earlier, rockabilly singer Dale Hawkins
had lit up the charts himself with the song “Suzie-Q”.
As in all my postings, the recordings listed and referenced
above are in no way intended as definitive collections.
Please send any comments or suggestions to
© Alan Warner, 2021.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material
without express and written permission from this site’s
authorand/or owner is strictly prohibited.
Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full & clear credit
is given to Alan Warner with appropriate and specific direction
to the original content.