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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

Sister Act
Two lovers!!YEA! !
This song reminds Me of a girl I wen't steady with back in 62. She was one of My friends sister. I should have kept that one. Why do the good ones always get away?
i could hear all day long
slyh321
Cruising or hanging out at orange park with the homegirls... b a c k in the day was better! Oldies 4ever! .ssf
Stone-Cold Super-Badd Super-Star Soul-Sissta
"He's The One I Love"Young-G i r l z z z take notez
From A Pro MW.LOVE'S Disciple*~6m 1 4 y ~
reminds me of my true love i miss you mary
I only have one lover. He is my nest friend brother lover my everything he's been out of life too long we text butt it's not the same. My heart skips a beat for his love every time I see him umm...
I have two lovers and I'm not ashamed I have two lovers and I love them both the same lmao
Mary wells my favorite artist good music famous Tubby
H-Town Lo-Rollazzz to Galveston
Beaches
From the 60's to the End 11.1k*978*4m 1 4 y ~
*~ love her songs~*
lalailk
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you do not post this you will die in 2 days. Now you have started reading this don't stop. This is so scary put this on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on this screen in big letters this is so scary because it works
THANK U FOR USING SONG IN COOLEY HIGH THE MOVIE. R.IP MS.MARY WELLS THANK YOU FOR THE BEAUITFUL MUSIC
the great voice i love her music growing up in n.j
love mary she had soul
What a year. ? The draft. I was to young at the time.
Rhealynn , thank God we met 24 years ago , this song is all about me , I didn't have a thing but my soul to offer you , babie thanks for picking me babie for your best of friends
P**che Mary Wells es firme homes
Ur love!!
ORALE MARY WELLS!!
To my baby Joe I love u so mch
maryo438
Love this jam....!!!! :)
carolina7251
Love this song



<3<3<3<3<3<3 :-(
Mary, you're my favorite Mo-town artist!
Puras linche oldies never die
mi14ke2001
la pestosa is what we call her
We are going to bring the Golden Era Back, 50's-60's-70 ' s stay tuned
Quevo!!! La mera-mera % SANCHA...tak e care of your ruca vatos,
Mary Wells playing on the car stereo crusin' San Fran Mission 24th back in the great days. Q Vo baby dolls, all you lovelys hanging out & the fellas crusin' around looking for you! Those were the days!
I love you Mary wells,,but I also love Barbara mason despensa!!! Both you hinias can blow!!! La Tusa Ariza....
HES THE ONE I LOVE FIRME MARY WELLS!!
La original marry J Blog...
Me and my one and only rolling in the lowrider
I AM NOT TIRE OF THIS
I LIKE THIS TRACK
GREAT VOICE
I miss Mary songs
I love you. Jose the love uve. My life I will Stand. By
Love his song,I little girl does too!
Love this jam oohh wee GUADALUPE, AZ
My amores, he's the 1 I love. Me & u against the world
He's the one loooovvveeee ! ! ! !
heart n soul,,since 1963 your drugged brain has not improved I got your homies..get a job lug nut
smooth voice
This is the jam right here. Kicking back at the homies pad chugging some beer, smoking some weed listening to the oldies all day. Those where the days. (P.s to that piece of s**t scrap down in Orange County ain't about S**T!!!! Your JUST gang banging online) like a real scrap would. F**k all sureNoz!!!!! !
MR.SMOKEY lissteningg to MARY WELLS on Pandora jusst chillingg in the BIGG BAD GRANDE GROVE CA. VARRIO HARDTIMES GANG ORANGE COUNTY SURENOS TRECE
Motown is great! But don't think of driving through Los Angeles without playing her music.
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