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Mary Wells

Time and legions of other soul superstars have obscured the fact that for a brief moment, Mary Wells was Motown's biggest star. She came to the attention of Berry Gordy as a 17-year-old, hawking a song she'd written for Jackie Wilson; that song, "Bye Bye Baby," became her first Motown hit in 1961. The full-throated approach of that single was quickly toned down in favor of a pop-soul sound. Few other soul singers managed to be as shy and sexy at the same time as Wells (Barbara Lewis is the only other that springs to mind), and the soft-voiced singer found a perfect match with the emerging Motown production team, especially Smokey Robinson. Robinson wrote and produced her biggest Motown hits; "Two Lovers," "You Beat Me to the Punch," and "The One Who Really Loves You" all made the Top Ten in the early '60s, and "My Guy" hit the number one spot in mid-1964, at the very height of Beatlemania.

Mary turned 21 years old as "My Guy" was rising to the top of the charts, and left Motown almost immediately afterward for a reported advance of several hundred thousand dollars from 20th Century Fox. The circumstances remain cloudy years later, but Wells and her husband-manager felt Motown wasn't coming through with enough money for their new superstar; she was also lured by the prospect of movie roles through 20th Century Fox (which never materialized). It's been rumored that Wells was being groomed for the sort of plans that were subsequently lavished upon Diana Ross; more nefariously, it's also been rumored that Motown quietly discouraged radio stations from playing Wells' subsequent releases. What is certain is that Wells never remotely approached the success of her Motown years, entering the pop Top 40 only once (although she had some R&B hits). Motown, for their part, took care throughout the rest of the '60s not to lose their big stars to larger labels.

Wells' departure from Motown was so dramatic and unsuccessful that it has tended to overshadow the quality of her later work, which has almost always been dismissed as trivial by critics. True, it didn't match the quality of her Motown recordings -- Smokey Robinson could not be replaced. But her '60s singles for 20th Century Fox (whom she ended up leaving after only a year), Atco, and Jubilee were solid pop-soul on which her vocal talents remained undiminished. She wrote and produced a lot of her late-'60s and early-'70s sessions with her second husband, guitarist Cecil Womack (brother of Bobby), and these found her exploring a somewhat earthier groove than her more widely known pop efforts. She had trouble landing recording deals in the '70s and '80s, and succumbed to throat cancer in 1992. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Mary Wells the real Queen of Soul
She is one great singer. Love that song 4
The Queen of Chicano Oldies,Ms.Ma r y Wells
Marry wells the s**t.tripps de comptone,var r i o txflats
Legend... ��������
Good best
Hell no vato, she left ur a**! N now u want me to take leftovers fk u!!! :)
Good beat
GREAT OLDIE
No one like MARY WELLS GREAT SINGER SHE THE BOMB
My favorite singer of All Time......
LOVE YEA YOU BETTER WAKE UP BEFORE WE BREAK UP JEJEJE .....
LAUGHING BOY GREAT CUT FROM PBSX3 WEST SIDE HAHAHA
MARY WELLS IS IN THE HOUSE LOVE HER VOICE THIS IS CARLOS LOCK JEJEJE
U beat me to the punch ohhhhhh after emm going down to memory lane..... Let my heart surrender. Oh yeah I'll beat u to the punch next time.
SING IT MARY WELLS KUZ KNOW ONE LIKE YOY LOVE YOU MUCH HOMIE G
Tenth Mary wells song today !
About the TENTH Mart
I love the song My Guy, used to play every day. I also like I beat you to the punch!!! Just love her songs. She was Great!!!
My mom's favorite artist right here �� grew up listening to her everyday
AY MARY WELLS YOU'RE THE BOMBA THIS CARLOS WEST SIDE LOS ANGELES PBS RIDE 13 SIMON EY HAHAHA ........
Oh yea
I JUST LOVE THIS SONG
I will always love Mary Wells music.
Mary wells will never be forgotten espeacially this song watsonville johnny
gabyjudy73
I will always be your only stand by Julio Maldonado aka Wuicho Huntington Park Ca Malabar st
<3
She WAS Motown! Her and Martha Reeves belted it out, Ms. Ross chirped her way through great material. Bye Bye Baby
The nighters tbestoftheni g h e r s
I guess im just gona move out of state. Theres nothing or no one here.for.me! ! Fk it. I give up. Im done trying. I feel like im begging you and your probably laughing at me. IM LETTING GO OF WHATEVER HOPE I HAD LEFT..
BECAUSE WHERE ARE YOU THAT I NEED YOU..
Ive done all I could, and yet theres still nothing between me and you!!
Now this is real music!!!
Old-school music. Is always in...in my heart
taniahalaby1 2
Tony tony tony
taniahalaby1 2
Marywells
Jam ����
Loved Mary Wells.
funkwize
This was a favorite of my brother. Today would've been his 63rd birthday.
No LOVE
arionna1217
love this old school music>>>>mus i c with meaning
Ggggggggg
" I AINT ASHAMED"
WEST SIDE LONGO tHAng
Great voice!!!
He is the one I have. ..
It was about the days u was free in your mind f**k the reality!
One of my favorite ladies! RIP, Mary.
The one who really loves you!!!
GOOD OLD DAYS LOVE THIS SONG
This reminds me of my dear mothers get togethers...
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