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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Something New: Motown Lost & Found

Disc 1

1. (You Can) Depend On Me

2. Why Do You Want To Let Me Go

3. Money (That's What I Want)

4. Is It Me Or Is It You

5. I've Got A Story

6. Guarantee (For A Lifetime)

7. To Lose You

8. Cinderella (It's Twelve O'Clock)

9. When Your Lover Comes Back

10. I Want You 'Round

11. My Heart Is Like A Clock

12. Goodbye And Good Luck

13. Forgive And Forget

14. I'll Be Available

15. Can You Fix It (My Broken Heart)

16. Have A Little Patience (And Wait)

17. Free From Your Spell

18. My World Of Dreams

19. Your Loss, My Gain (You Lost The Sweetest Boy)

21. Prove It

22. One Block From Heaven

23. That's Why I Love You (Like I Do)

24. Drop In The Bucket

25. Everybody Needs Love

26. Honey Boy

27. When I'm Gone

Disc 2

1. Back In My Arms

2. All I Got

3. You Can Dance

4. I'm Yours, You're Mine

5. Oh Lover

6. Let's Talk It Over

7. In Case You Need Love

8. The Second Time Around

9. This Is Something New

10. I've Grown Accustomed To His Face

11. Again

13. The Party's Over

14. I Wanna Be Around

15. I Remember You

16. Teach Me Tonight

17. Secret Love

18. All I Do Is Dream Of You

19. Always

20. A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening

x

Track List: The Definitive Collection

1. My Guy

2. You Beat Me To The Punch

3. Two Lovers

4. Your Old Stand By

5. What's Easy For Two Is Hard For One

6. Operator

7. Laughing Boy

9. I Don't Want To Take A Chance

10. The One Who Really Loves You

11. You Lost The Sweetest Boy

12. Old Love (Let's Try Again)

13. Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

14. What Love Has Joined Together

15. Oh Little Boy (What Did You Do To Me)

17. Whisper You Love Me Boy

18. Bye Bye Baby

x

Track List: Mary Wells: The Ultimate Collection

1. Bye Bye Baby

2. I Don't Want To Take A Chance

3. Strange Love

4. The One Who Really Loves You

5. You Beat Me To The Punch

6. Old Love (Let's Try Again)

7. Two Lovers

8. Operator

9. Laughing Boy

10. Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

11. Goodbye And Good Luck

12. Your Old Stand By

13. What Love Has Joined Together

14. You Lost The Sweetest Boy

15. What's Easy For Two Is So Hard For One

16. My Guy

17. Oh Little Boy (What Did You Do To Me)

20. Whisper You Love Me Boy

21. I'll Be Available

22. When I'm Gone

25. Dear Lover

x

Track List: You Beat Me to the Punch

1. You Beat Me To The Punch

2. Two Lovers

3. My Guy

5. I'll Still Be Around

6. He's The One I Love

7. Operator

8. Laughing Boy

9. Guess Who

10. How? When My Heart Belongs To You

11. Everybody Needs Love

x

Track List: The Two Sides Of Mary Wells

1. Satisfaction

2. Love Makes The World Go Round

3. In The Midnight Hour

4. My World Is Empty Without Your Babe

5. Good Lovin'

6. Dear Lover

7. Where Am I Going

8. Sangri-La

9. On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)

10. The Shadow Of Your Smile

11. The Boy From Ipanema

12. Sunrise Sunset

x

Track List: Servin' Up Some Soul

1. Soul Train

2. Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie

3. Stag-O-Lee

4. Make Me Yours

5. Two Lovers History

6. Can't Get Away From Your Love

7. The Doctor

8. Don't Look Back

9. Sunny

10. Woman In Love

11. 500 Miles

12. Bye, Bye Baby

Comments

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Mary Wells, the Queen.
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The delfronics loving them play it love is so great.Gloria
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Old Love . . . . .
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Two Lovers ....
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RIP Mary Wells, you were the Queen.
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Your the man i will always and forever love till then my love RIP MY LOVE :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(
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Littlejoe
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Remember Cruzin my old ranflas when I was younger not that old but hella good times oldies are the most
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❤❤❤❤❤
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I love, love,love this song!!!
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Hey let do the Cha Cha \ Ballroom, still sounds good!
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you have started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
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Was in the service with a guy who was going with her
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. Butt
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marin01m
Great song
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Went to Mary Wells high school no connection though!!!
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Beat me to the punch �� every time I hear this I think of cooley high when they was riding in that stolen car lol.... Good song
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There's only one Mary Wells. You are the greatest.Lov e to your family,God bless all.
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I can wait to see you !
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I talked to my baby Evaristo Saucedo, love you honey
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Such a beautiful and fun to boot voice. Listening to Mary Wells, on first awakening, starts the new on an upward note. With song on my lips accompanied with a smile, there is no way anything could wrong. Wow!!!
paa1945@cox. n e t
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Love you so much
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My Girl... Mary Wells... ��
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Laughing boy is one of all time favoritas
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I fell in love with Mary's voice, the first time I heard her, what a singular style and voice, smooth as silk... an underrated Legend ..xoxo
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I'm 61my sister were always playing this music so it stuck to me cause I liked the vocal and rithem
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Great song from the past.
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A classic from days gone bye.
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She's my secret love too
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She was my secret love 1964
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BEAUTIFUL LADY I HAD A OPPORTUNITY TO SEE HER IN CONCERT WITH MY MOMZ 1987 sAN Jo CALIFAz:: Shaowwww
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You are a great singer I love you
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My grandma is in love with your music I've always loved your music I'm so sorry that you died
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Oldies is the best s**t ever!!
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Love this artist. Want to do the cha cha.
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freddyorozco 7 2
When does that rat come out the sewer hole and man up C.
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Mary Wells is a Woman ⛵️
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Are you Mary Wells
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MARY WELLS IS AN ICON OF THE SIXTIES
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dragonlady60 8 8
Excellant
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Cruise Jamms looking FINE ALL THA TIME
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Nothing like getting f**ked up with the boys & getting yayed out!!!
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Dam these Rolas bring back memories kicking it with home girls and home boy's getting skunk drunk on nite train and thunder bird. So many memories growing up in the 818 on the 12600 block of La Calle Pierce.
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Corona music cruising the varrio on fourth st park back in the mid 70s partying till 6am with bonfires in middle of park drinking budweiser those were the days CVLS CORONA CROWN TOWN PUTTING IT DOWN SINCE THE EARY 1940S
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There only one for me B
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I made 2 kids to this kind of music
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Always will
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Old school baby I think about my baby ms gata
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clairesabati e r 2
Bitchen
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dragonlady60 8 8
Bitchen
Show more

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