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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Exclusive Q&A: Don't Mess with Denise Spann-Morgan of The "Marvelous" Marvelettes

Denise Spann-Morgan is just plain fabulous! The lead singer of the magnificent, legendary girl group The "Marvelous" Marvelettes, they will be doing a series of shows at the Metropolitan Room in Manhattan. We had a wonderful chat today and here are the results:

Buddy Beaverhausen: First of all, I want to congratulate you and the Marvelettes on your new residency at the Metropolitan Room!
Denise Spann-Morgan: Thank you, Charles! It would never had happened if it weren't for you.
BB: I just knew Bernie and you were a good fit and I had to get you both together.
DSM: It was absolute magic meeting Bernie Furshpan and JoAnne. We hit it off right there.
BB: I haven't even known Bernie that long. Only since the Julie Budd show in May.
DSM: He's great. So warm. I immediately felt I knew him; like we went to school together or something.

BB: So, what can your fans and my readers expect from your Metropolitan Room shows?
DSM: Absolute magic! It's like, "Welcome to our living room!" No matter where we are are, you're in our living room. We're going to serve up a lot of great songs, a lot of memories and a side dish of comedy.
BB: You really brought the house down at the Lesley Gore tribute at 54 Below when you introduced (Isn't that the) Look of Love as "a white girl's song" and proceeded to say how a black girl would treat the situation in that song very differently.
DSM: A black girl would not be having it!
BB: Nowadays, neither would a white girl.
DSM: Right. I think they caught up!
[Both laugh.]
DSM: Our new act will be full of humor like that because I often say things people think I won't say. By the way, Tracy Stark will be joining us but not at our first show

BB: On her new tribute to girl groups album, Bette Midler covers "Too Many Fish in the Sea." Have you heard it; if so, what did you think?
DSM: No, I haven't heard that, but I love Bette Midler and will certainly listen to it now. She is just the best all-around entertainer! I love that she's doing our song.

BB: While we're talking about Marvelettes "covers," any impressions of Karen Carpenter's cover of "Please, Mr. Postman"?
DSM: That I love it! It's been covered by so many artists. My grandson went into my record collection and brought out a Carpenters album. I still have turntables, thankfully.  "Mr Postman" is on it so it was such a joy sharing that with him.
BB: Are you still waiting for that letter? Talk about snail mail!
DSM: [laughs] The only letter I really waited for was my brother's when he was in the service.

BB: I think my favorite Marvelettes song is "Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead!"
DSM: We are deciding whether to put that in our upcoming show or not, but now, it's absolutely in. For you, Charles.
BB: Thanks so much!

BB: How long have you been lead singer for the "Marvelous" Marvelettes, Denice?
DSM: Forty years. I knew, and was tutored by, the original lead singer, the late Gladys Horton.

BB: Have you had a relationship with Motown?
DSM: I've sung back-ups for many of their artists. Friends with Mary Wells. Sang with The Temptations. They were all poorly handled and disrespected. Motown was very fixated on promoting Diana Ross and the Supremes. I was influenced by Fontella Bass, Dionne Warwick and a number of other artists from that label.

BB: We both live in Brooklyn. What is your favorite thing about this borough?
DSM: That you can never see it all. It's so vast, like a world unto itself. I'll take a bus and wonder where I am sometimes. It's like its own country.
BB: You should come out to Bay Ridge and see things like the Gingerbread House.
DSM: Would love to. I mean, I've been out there and saw the Verrazano Bridge and it was, like, "Whoa!"

BB: How does it feel to sing songs that have become legendary pop classics?
DSM: Wonderful! You never know if a song will be a one-hit wonder. When Kenye West sang "Please Mr. Postman," I thought I died and went to heaven!

BB: Any last shout-outs? And, as it's Gay Pride Day and you have a large gay fan base, anything to say to your gay fans?
DSM: Absolutely! I'll be at the parade! We have a huge, faithful following of gay fans. I've had more gay boyfriends than any woman! I always say "I'm gay on Wednesdays and Saturdays." And I love being included in that community. They're open, not judgmental, just wonderful!

BB: Love you, Denice! See you at the Metropolitan Room on July 16th!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. these are NOT the ORIGINAL Marvelettes---ad should not be billed as such. If they are payingg TRIBUTE to these ladis--bill yourselves as such. The name is owned by two of the ORIGINAL Marvelettes neither ofwhich is name DENISE.. I do know that this comment will probably be deleted--but it is okay cause I will STILL say something about this mess--in the OFIFICIAL ORIGINAL MARVELETTES FAN CLUB and on my radio show--trust me...

    1. I totally agree with you - I left a message earlier, but was too hot under the collar and made many spelling errors in the process that I didn't catch before I hit enter and therefore removed it. I will return ! I will also pass the word about this fake group, because they are going to return to play in NYC again at the same Metropolitan Room in a few weeks - maybe some local fans can show up and spread the word to people waiting to get in.

  3. Beaverhausen: I left a message yesterday that I deleted because of too many spelling errors I couldn't edit out. I've also had a chance to cool down and re-read your "interview" above. At first I thought you were just some dizzy queen who didn't check her facts before doing this article (as well as the other related one you did, but after re-reading it I see that you actually had a big hand in setting up this big charade at the Metropolitan Room. Now is your chance to correct this before their next scheduled appearance there in a few weeks.

    This woman has never ever sung at Motown Records Corporation (please note that she has recently changed her Facebook URL to "ineverworkedatmotown" because so many people have gone to her Facebook site and challenged her claims (all comments she has since deleted, but maybe she knew it was wise to stop pretending she ever worked there)
    She is not, nor has she ever been a member of the group The Marvelettes and telling stories that make it appear that way or alluding in stories like that, claiming to have sung with Mary Wells and others there is just plain B.S. I had to laugh out loud when she said she said something about knowing Fontella Bass and Dionne Warwick while they were working at Motown - they were never ever on that record label.
    So unless you help call out this woman on her deceptions, we can only believe that you are actually aware of this and/or just don't care. You never ever want to piss off a fan of the real Marvelettes (who have been wronged too many times throughout their career and it seems to continue to this day, with fake versions of them popping up contiously) or of Motown Records Corp. - most of us know the name of just about everyone who has ever worked there, including the background singers and this woman's name has never, ever cropped up before.

  4. WELL SAID WEDIGO!!! WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER--CONTACT ME---Patricia Sweet Pea Washington----

  5. This woman, and her "Marvelettes," are a complete fraud. Unfortunately, they can legally work under the name (technically, because they put quotation marks around "Marvelettes," AND their official group name is "The Marvelous 'Marvelettes'"), but they have ZERO affiliation with Motown OR any of the original members of the group. Denise cleverly never comes out directly and claims that she or any of the women she sings with were actual Marvelettes, but INFERS it, which is even sneaker and more dishonest: these people KNOW they're defrauding the public, and are careful to only go SO far so as not to break any laws or invite any lawsuits. Listen, we all need to make a living, but if you've got talent and chutzpah, you can do it without literally stealing the food out of someone else's mouth, AND riding the coat tails of someone else's hard work and legacy.

  6. This is Denise Spann Morgan & The "Marvelous" Marvelettes' Facebook page. I commented on it with the text I will share below, but my comments were deleted and I was blocked from commenting further. I strongly encourage others to continue to comment on their FB page, if only to let them know that their fraudulent behavior is known, and won't be tolerated.

  7. And this is what I wrote on Denise Spann Morgan & The "Marvelous" Marvelettes' page, which subsequently got deleted:

  8. On Behalf of Denise Spann MorganAugust 25, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    To My Friends and the Many Supporters of The Marvelettes,

    As the headliner and producer of Denise Spann Morgan and The “Marvelous” Marvelettes, I have performed under this name without incident since 2013 and most recently at The Metropolitan Room in New York City.

    I’ve received a lot of exposure during the course of this year—some great and some not so great. I’m going to talk about the “not so great”.

    There are devoted supporters of The Marvelettes who have expressed dissatisfaction and confusion over the representation of Denise Spann Morgan and the “Marvelous” Marvelettes. From my understanding, the primary concern expressed is clarity on whether Denise Spann Morgan and The “Marvelous” Marvelettes is a tribute band or a band featuring at least one Marvelette from any of their canonical recordings.

    Some have perceived an attempt to exploit or misrepresent; however, that has never been the intent. My desire is to be faithful to The Marvelettes, specifically my personal friend, collaborator, and mentor Gladys Horton.

    To me, Denise Spann Morgan and The “Marvelous” Marvelettes is and will always be a band to honor the great people from the golden age of Motown with whom I have professionally worked with in various capacities over various stages of their careers. This music and these musicians have had a profound and deeply personal influence over every aspect of my life.

    I believe we all share great respect and fondness for The Marvelettes, their music, and its legacy.

    In that spirit, moving forward I will ensure that my co-producers and promoters will more clearly represent Denise Spann Morgan and The “Marvelous” Marvelettes as a band paying homage to The Marvelettes and dedicated to keeping their incredible music alive!

    Thank you to fellow supporters of The Marvelettes who have expressed their concerns to me constructively, so that I can continue honoring their legacy in way that we all can enjoy and share.

    Denise Spann Morgan and The "Marvelous" Marvelettes—paying homage to the best music in the world!

    Denise Spann Morgan

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