Mary Wells Biography

The first female star to emerge and leave Motown

Biography

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Mary Wells live


Mary Wells

Mary Wells was the first female superstar of Motown. Her first three singles all charted in the top 10.

Working closely with Smokey Robinson and songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, Mary’s career was flying high between 1960 and 1964.

She even headlined Motown’s revue tours in 1962, meaning she was seen as the labels biggest act.

To top the success off she released ‘My Guy’ which became such a big hit it even charted in the UK.

She even joined The Beatles, who had declared her their favorite singer, on their U.K tour in 1964, making her Motown’s first artist that performed overseas.

This all seemingly went to Mary’s head as she started to demand more money from Berry Gordy. Lawsuits followed and Mary Wells career came to a halt.

Apparently, the argument started with that the money Berry made from her success was clearly invested in Berry’s new discovery, Diana Ross and her band The Supremes.

Wells left Motown in 1964 to pursue her recordings with other labels. After ten years of mainly flops, Mary called it a day in 1974 to raise children.

In 1977, she made a comeback with Gigolo, a disco tune that reached #2 in the charts. This must have spurred her on as she now spent another decade recording for various labels, unfortunately with little success.

In the early 90s, Mary fell ill and lost her fortune to medical bills. Her old pals Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson gathered a bunch of stars to help her with cash, benefit concerts, thought and prayers.

Mary pulled one last multi-million dollar lawsuit against Motown for unpaid royalties before she finally past away in 1992. She was buried in the same cemetery as Sam Cooke.


Related Pages


My Guy – Guitar Lesson

My Guy was an early Motown hit from Mary Wells who was the first female Motown star.

Using more jazz-influenced harmony and playing, when you learn this song you’ll get an introduction to “playing over changes” as the licks use new scales for each chord.

The good news is that when playing like this, you can still use your barre chord shapes and pentatonic scales as the framework when you map out the fretboard.

Preview video lessons: My Guy


My Guy – Lyrics

Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy
Nothing you could do ’cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy
I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter
Like birds of a feather, we stick together
I’m tellin’ you from the start I can’t be torn apart from my guy

For complete lyrics, go to My Guy lyrics.


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