Mary Wells Biography
Mary Wells, best known for her song 1964 song ‘My Guy,’ was an influential Motown singer in the ’60s. She was one of the first stars for Motown Records, and she was important in helping the label achieve consistent sales. She also brought meaningful recognition to Motown. She had five studio albums in the Top 200, three of which were in the Top 50. She had 24 singles in the Top 100 and an additional 3 Songs in the Billboard Top 200.
She suffered from substantial setbacks as a young child. Medically, she had temporary paralysis, hearing loss, and partial blindless from spinal meningitis. She regained her health and the hearing loss and blindness was not permanent. When she was ten she contracted tuberculosis. Growing up in a very poor family, as a young teenager she would help her Mom with housecleaning work.
Originally, she wanted to become a scientist, but when she was given an opportunity to audition for Motown Records owner, Berry Gordy Jr., her life would go in a different direction. Gordy Jr. would go on to sign her, and in the process he would generate fame and money for his fledgling record label.
Mary wrote and sang “Bye Bye Baby” for her audition with Gordy, and this song would go on to become her debut hit and one of Motown’s earliest hits. It was released in September 1960 when it reached #8 on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and #45 on the Pop Charts.
She would go on to enjoy substantial success throughout the ’60s. In 1962, “The One Who Really Loves You” hit #2 on the R&B Charts and #8 on the Hot 100. A few months later, “You Beat Me To The Punch” would be her first #1 R&B Hit. She was nominated for a Grammy Award for this song. By the end of 1962, she continued her string of successes with “Two Lovers” which sold over a million copies and hit #7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B Charts.
She recorded “My Guy” in 1964, which would become her most recognized song and helped to make her an international star. By 1965, after leaving Motown Records due to a contractual dispute, she signed 20th Century Fox Records. Mary Wells Albums for 20th Century were considered to be flops, and in 1966 she signed with Atlantic Records Atco. She was never again able to replicate the success she had with Motown Records, however.
By the early 1970’s she prioritized raising her family and she paused recording and performing new music. She had three children with singer-songwriter Cecil Womack, but the marriage ended in 1977. After the divorce, she would resume performing at clubs after 1978.
She was a habitual chain smoker, smoking up to two packs per day. The excessive smoking habit likely caused or contributed to her being diagnosed with cancer of the larynx. Her treatment left her unable to sing for years. Without health insurance, the treatments for her cancer left her financially devastated and she was even evicted from her apartment. She eventually passed away on July 28th, 1992 at the age of 48 from pneumonia while still suffering from the cancer.
Mary Wells Discography
|Keeping My Mind on Love
|The Old, The New & The Best of Mary Wells
|In and Out of Love
|Servin’ Up Some Soul
|The Two Sides of Mary Wells
|Love Songs to the Beatles
|Mary Wells Sings My Guy
|Together (with Marvin Gaye)
|Recorded Live On Stage
|Two Lovers and Other Great Hits
|The One Who Really Loves You
|Bye Bye Baby I Don’t Want to Take a Chance
Frequently Asked Questions
Mary Wells was an American singer who rose to fame in the early 1960s. Her hits included “My Guy” and “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”. She was one of Motown’s first major stars.Wells was born in Detroit, Michigan, on May 13, 1943.
What Year Was ‘The One Loves” Recorded In?
The One Who Loves was recorded in 1962 and became a hit. The song was written by Smokey Robinson and originally intended for The Miracles, but when Robinson gave the song to Wells, she recorded it and released it as a single. It reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
What Is Mary Wells Greatest Hits?
Mary Wells’ greatest hits album was released in 1964 and includes some of Mary Wells best songs songs, such as “My Guy” and “You Lost the Sweetest Boy.” This album is a must-have for any fan of classic R&B music.
How Did Mary Wells Die?
It is not clear how Mary Wells died. Some reports say she died of a drug overdose, while others say she succumbed to cancer. Her death was sudden and unexpected and left the music world mourning the loss of a talented singer and songwriter.
Mary Wells Two Lovers?
“Two Lovers” is a song recorded by American singer Mary Wells. It was written and produced by Motown founder Berry Gordy, with the song’s co-writer Smokey Robinson being credited as an additional producer.
Who Wrote My Guy Song For Mary Well ?
The song “My Guy” was written by Smokey Robinson.
What Song Is Mary Wells Best Known For?
“My Guy” is widely considered to be Mary Wells’ biggest hit. The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1964 and helped to establish Wells as one of the first major female stars of Motown Records.