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  1. #1
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    Katherine of the Marvelettes

    It's being reported on Facebook that Kat has passed. :[[

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    Such terrible news if true.

  3. #3
    Yes, her daughter confirmed the sad news of her passing. I was just listening to The Marvelettes tonight for the first time in a while, before finding out about her passing. I'll take it as being more than a coincidence. I'm sad to hear that she passed and even more sad that she didn't live to see her group be inducted into the Rock Hall. I hope it finally happens one day soon. Rest in peace, Kat. Motown royalty in every sense, yet she was so very down to earth and real. We will continue to keep her memory and music alive.
    Last edited by carlo; 09-20-2023 at 10:53 PM.

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    Years ago, I wrote Kat asking for an autograph. I sent along a picture of the Gladys, Wanda, Katherine lineup, hoping she'd sign and return.

    She did.

    But she signed it Catherine, with a C.

    I sent her a message, questioning if her autograph was real. She sent me a nice reply, and said that's how she signed everything.

    It's sad that another Motown legend has left us. That choir is sure getting big. More sad that only Juanita [[Wynetta?) and Ann remain, and that the Marvelettes weren't inducted when Gladys, Wanda, and now Kat were still with us.

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    How sad. For all us Children of the 60s who grew up loving our Motown sound, all the great ones are just leaving us one by one. Rest in Peace!

  6. #6
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    That's such sad news to bear. Gladys, Wanda, and now Katherine -- three of my all-time favorite Motown artists called home. May they rest in peace and realize how important they were to the history of The Motown Sound.

    From Top To Bottom: Gladys, Katherine & Wanda

    https://images.app.goo.gl/CFd1i5AzHHAYcx1P9

    I think it's official: There are now more Motown artists and musicians in Heaven than there are here on earth.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 09-21-2023 at 03:36 AM.

  7. #7
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    Awful , Awful News! Rest In Music, Power & Peace Katherine Schaffner of The Marvelettes.

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    Such sad news to read.

    When Marc Taylor's book on the Marvelettes was released, I was able to correspond with Kat and she wrote me a couple of witty emails when I gave her some suggestions of bookstores in my area where she might like to do an in-person signing. I cherished having even a small contact with one of my faves and you can imagine how disappointed I was to find that my boss decided to upgrade my computer in my absence and the emails were gone.

    No matter. She and the Marvelettes left behind a great body of work and a legacy to be proud of. Condolences to her family. May she R.I.P.

  9. #9
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    May She Rest in Peace.

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    Was kinda waiting on this. When I did the E True Hollywood Florence Ballard show, she and Gladys were featured and both were so helpful and encouraging to me during the production. RIP Kat

  11. #11
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    Rest in Peace, dear Kat. Condolences to her family.

  12. #12
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    Such a heartbreak. RIP to a pioneer and class act.

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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Years ago, I wrote Kat asking for an autograph. I sent along a picture of the Gladys, Wanda, Katherine lineup, hoping she'd sign and return.

    She did.

    But she signed it Catherine, with a C.

    I sent her a message, questioning if her autograph was real. She sent me a nice reply, and said that's how she signed everything.
    Thanks for sharing that story, Mary Brewster. It's funny that I had never noticed that she would sign her name as Catherine with a 'C'.

    When I had first connected with her on Facebook back in 2009, I had written to her to let her know that it was an honour to be able to connect and that I am a big fan. I had respectfully addressed her in my message as Ms Schaffner, since she had registered her profile under the name "Katherine Anderson Schaffner". Her one and only response to me was...

    "In order for us to be friends, you have to call me Kat........Ms or mrs went to My x mother in law. Not me ............if we get that straight then we can be friends OK.....kat"

    I still smile at her response. I remember that my younger self was a bit unsure how to take it at the time. I wasn't sure if she was annoyed, especially since she ignored the rest of my nice message lol. In hindsight, I think she was just being real. I'm ok with that, Kat! [smiles]

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlo View Post
    Thanks for sharing that story, Mary Brewster. It's funny that I had never noticed that she would sign her name as Catherine with a 'C'.

    When I had first connected with her on Facebook back in 2009, I had written to her to let her know that it was an honour to be able to connect and that I am a big fan. I had respectfully addressed her in my message as Ms Schaffner, since she had registered her profile under the name "Katherine Anderson Schaffner". Her one and only response to me was...

    "In order for us to be friends, you have to call me Kat........Ms or mrs went to My x mother in law. Not me ............if we get that straight then we can be friends OK.....kat"

    I still smile at her response. I remember that my younger self was a bit unsure how to take it at the time. I wasn't sure if she was annoyed, especially since she ignored the rest of my nice message lol. In hindsight, I think she was just being real. I'm ok with that, Kat! [smiles]

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    Such a great story. As I recall, when I wrote her, I addressed her as "Mrs. Schaffner" and she responded the same way.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlo View Post
    Thanks for sharing that story, Mary Brewster. It's funny that I had never noticed that she would sign her name as Catherine with a 'C'.

    When I had first connected with her on Facebook back in 2009, I had written to her to let her know that it was an honour to be able to connect and that I am a big fan. I had respectfully addressed her in my message as Ms Schaffner, since she had registered her profile under the name "Katherine Anderson Schaffner". Her one and only response to me was...

    "In order for us to be friends, you have to call me Kat........Ms or mrs went to My x mother in law. Not me ............if we get that straight then we can be friends OK.....kat"

    I still smile at her response. I remember that my younger self was a bit unsure how to take it at the time. I wasn't sure if she was annoyed, especially since she ignored the rest of my nice message lol. In hindsight, I think she was just being real. I'm ok with that, Kat! [smiles]

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    Such a great story, Carlo! ♡

  17. #17
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    More info from DetroitFreePress.com-
    Singer Katherine Anderson Schaffner, who helped Motown Records achieve its first No. 1 pop hit with her group the Marvelettes, died Tuesday night at Corewell Health Dearborn. She was 79.
    Schaffner, the group’s second soprano and an outspoken advocate for the group’s legacy, was hospitalized in July with heart issues and was privately visited by friends and family members in the days before her death, her daughter told the Detroit Free Press.
    A memorial for the longtime Inkster resident is planned for January, tied to what would have been her 80th birthday, though it has not been determined whether the event will be open to the public.
    With the Marvelettes, which she co-founded, the Inkster native born Katherine Anderson — known to friends as Kat — was a voice on hits such as “Please Mr. Postman,” “Playboy,” “Beechwood 4-5789,” “Too Many Fish in the Sea,” “Don’t Mess with Bill” and “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game.”
    Schaffner was with the group through 1969, by which point the original lineup she’d help form with several high school friends had dissolved. She devoted herself to family life, raising two daughters and a son, though she would continue to foster the group’s legacy at awards shows, interviews, autograph signings and others events, including a Marvelettes tribute tour of England in 2017.
    “Everything turned to her family. Music was behind her at that point,” said her daughter Keisha Schaffner. “She was always 100% attached to the Marvelettes, but she detached herself from Motown when they left Detroit [[in the early 1970s).”
    Rick Sperling, founder and former director of Detroit’s Mosaic Youth Theatre, worked closely with the singer on the 2005 musical “Now That I Can Dance — 1962,” which was based on Schaffner’s telling of the Marvelettes' history. The play became Mosaic’s biggest in-house success and was reprised three times through the years.
    “Kat was an incredible storyteller and had a blunt sense of humor,” said Sperling. “I have tapes and tapes of interviews with her that I could never put in the play. But she was a wonderful historian and wonderful person who told it like it was. She was a realist and had such a life force.”
    Sperling, now head of the Detroit arts support group DEYA, called Schaffner a “real original” who “developed a really strong relationship with the young women [[in the Mosaic cast). She gave so much, and they loved her.
    “It was exciting for her that the story of the Marvelettes be told because for many years it had kind of been left out of the Motown story,” Sperling said.
    Born Jan. 16, 1944, Schaffner grew up in Inkster’s Carver Homes community.
    “As soon as you stepped outside, you could hear music coming from every apartment,” she told author Marc Myers for the 2016 book “Anatomy of a Song.” “I listened to all kinds of music back then on the radio or at friends’ houses. I couldn’t afford records and didn’t start buying them until after I was a Marvelette.”
    Her father was a cement worker, her mother a nurse’s aide, and Schaffner honed her singing skills in gospel groups and Inkster High School’s glee club. That school activity led her to link up with classmates Gladys Horton, Georgeanna Tillman, Georgia Dobbins and Juanita Cowert for a 1961 talent competition that promised a Motown audition for the winner.
    Although their group finished fourth, Schaffner and friends nevertheless secured a Motown tryout via a school guidance counselor, and the teen group landed a contract with the fledgling Detroit record company, with Dobbins replaced by singer Wanda Young.
    The Marvelettes’ buoyant first single, “Please Mr. Postman,” was released in summer 1961 and became Motown’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first chart-topping pop song by a Black-owned record company and would go on to be famously covered by the Beatles two years later.
    “We may have been from Inkster, but we kicked the door open for everyone else at Motown to walk through,” Schaffner told Myers.
    During their ‘60s run, Schaffner and the group worked with a variety of Motown’s songwriters and producers at the company’s Hitsville, U.S.A., studio, including Smokey Robinson, Robert Bateman, Norman Whitfield and Brian and Eddie Holland.
    Schaffner and the Marvelettes were honored with the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 1995 and inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. The group was an inaugural inductee to the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2013 and has been twice nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
    “She really kept the story of the Marvelettes alive for so many other people,” Sperling said. “We were honored and privileged to be able to tell her story to a larger audience.”
    Schaffner is survived by her daughters, Keisha Schaffner and Kalaine Schaffner Tamlin. No funeral is planned, according to Keisha Schaffner.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Years ago, I wrote Kat asking for an autograph. I sent along a picture of the Gladys, Wanda, Katherine lineup, hoping she'd sign and return.

    She did.

    But she signed it Catherine, with a C.

    I sent her a message, questioning if her autograph was real. She sent me a nice reply, and said that's how she signed everything.

    It's sad that another Motown legend has left us. That choir is sure getting big. More sad that only Juanita [[Wynetta?) and Ann remain, and that the Marvelettes weren't inducted when Gladys, Wanda, and now Kat were still with us.
    Thanks for sharing that wonderful story MaryBrewser. It was so nice of Katherine to sign that autograph for you. And Yes Indeed, it's so sad to lose another Motown Legend like Katherine.

  19. #19
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    "She devoted herself to family life, raising two daughters and a son, though she would continue to foster the groupís legacy at awards shows, interviews, autograph signings and others events, including a Marvelettes tribute tour of England in 2017."

    "Schaffner is survived by her daughters, Keisha Schaffner and Kalaine Schaffner Tamlin."

    Did Kat lose a son?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    "She devoted herself to family life, raising two daughters and a son, though she would continue to foster the group’s legacy at awards shows, interviews, autograph signings and others events, including a Marvelettes tribute tour of England in 2017."

    "Schaffner is survived by her daughters, Keisha Schaffner and Kalaine Schaffner Tamlin."

    Did Kat lose a son?
    In the liner notes of the Marvelettes' Motorcity 12" releases, it said that Katherine "now runs a crime-prevention programme following the tragic death of her son and has declared she will never return to singing."
    Last edited by reese; 09-22-2023 at 09:03 AM.

  21. #21
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    Yes her son Jason “Tony” Schaffner was murdered in Detroit in the 90s I think. The newspaper headline at the time stated he “never met a stranger,” according to his mother.

    RIP Kat “the tall one”.
    Last edited by kenneth; 09-22-2023 at 04:50 PM.

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    Thinking of Keisha and their family and friends, such sad news. I was honored to get to work with her several times throughout the last few years and she was always warm and welcoming. Whatever opinions everyone may hold about the continuation of legacy groups with new members, I am thrilled that she was able to return to music and receive her flowers on stage, enjoying her music being performed to fans new and old. Thankful to Katherine for all of the wonderful music!!!

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    RIP Mrs. Anderson! I’m sorry you and your friends didn’t receive your flowers while you were here and thank you for the great music you and your childhood friends gave us.

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    Here's a nice article in the Detroit News regarding Kat's passing:
    https://www.detroitnews.com/story/en...n/70928988007/

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    Ms. Katherine, thanks for contributing to the girl-group sound. I love the backup vocals to "Your Cheating Ways". You've now reunited with marvelous angels.

  26. #26
    I was saddened to hear of Katherine's death - am I right in thinking that just leaves Juanita Cowart and Ann Bogan as the Marvelettes who are still alive?

    Also, are there any Marvelettes experts out there who can say if there were any parts/lines on songs that Katherine sang solo? For example, which [[if any), of the "short ones/tall ones/fine ones/kind ones" lines did she sing on "too many fish"?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychedelic jacques View Post
    I was saddened to hear of Katherine's death - am I right in thinking that just leaves Juanita Cowart and Ann Bogan as the Marvelettes who are still alive?

    Also, are there any Marvelettes experts out there who can say if there were any parts/lines on songs that Katherine sang solo? For example, which [[if any), of the "short ones/tall ones/fine ones/kind ones" lines did she sing on "too many fish"?
    Katherine sang the "tall ones" line.

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    A song where you can hear Kat in the backgrounds is "A need for Love".

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    Oh man, another legend gone...my favorite female group of all time...rest in peace miss katherine and thank you for all the great songs and eternal musical memories...the marvelettes forever!!

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    I just heard the news of Katherine's passing today. There are not many classic Motown stars left now. Time keeps passing by does it not? Life is very fleeting. Here today and gone tomorrow. Better listen to me some Motown tunes today as tomorrow may never come.

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    Adam White's West Grand Blog remembers Katherine Anderson Schaffner & The Marvelettes with his latest post.

    Delivering Motown History — Adam White [adampwhite.com]

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