Today 09:12 AM

Mary Wells - First Lady of Motown

In another thread, Berry Gordy and Claudette Robinson refer to Claudette as the First Lady of Motown. She was the first woman signed to the label, but she was signed as part of a group.

People of my generation always remember Mary Wells being referred to as the FIRST LADY OF MOTOWN in the early sixties, especially when radio dee-jays were introducing her records. Motown had many hits on the charts by the Marvellettes, Martha & the Vandellas, The Miracles, Contours, Mary Wells and others. Mary was the female soloist with the biggest and most hits on the charts and was constantly referred to as First Lady of Motown.

Of course later, Diana had more hits with and without the Supremes, and by rights, at this point, she probably should be referred to as the First Lady of Motown, but referring to her as Queen of Motown is just as good.

I guess it is a generation thing. To me, Bette Davis is First Lady of Motion Pictures, Ella is First Lady of Song, & Helen Hayes is First Lady of Theatre. All have had successors. And to me, Mary Wells is the First Lady of Motown

Written by Linnea Crowther

Mary Wells was one of the early superstars of Motown Records. In fact, she was so important to the development of the label's sound, and such a bright light in the label's early catalog, that she was known as "The First Lady of Motown."

That title also referred to Wells' status as the first female star at Motown. There were a few women who joined the label before she did, Wells was the first to be wildly successful. And while we've got "firsts" on our minds, here are a few other firsts from Motown’s First Lady…

In 1961, Mary Wells became the first Motown female artist to have a Top 40 pop single. "I Don't Want to Take a Chance" made it to No. 33 on the U.S. pop chart and helped establish Motown Records as a youth-culture powerhouse.

Motown quickly gained respect in the music industry, and less than two years after that first "first," Wells was nominated for a Grammy Award for her single "You Beat Me to the Punch." She was the first Motown star to receive a Grammy nomination.

By 1964, the world was falling in love with Motown – and with Mary Wells. The label's records were making a splash on the British charts, and when The Beatles were asked who their favorite American singer was, they named Wells. In fact, the Lads from Liverpool so admired her music that they invited her to open for them on their U.K. tour. Wells agreed and crossed the pond, making her the first Motown star to perform in the United Kingdom. Later, Wells recorded a tribute album on which she sang some of her favorite Beatles songs.

In later years, Mary Wells and Motown went their separate ways. When Wells died, she hadn't been with the label for more than 25 years… but she'll always be remembered as the First Lady of Motown.


02-19-2018 12:11 AM

MARY WILSON says She Has To Work - Campaigns for Royalty Legislation for Streaming

Mary Wilson and Darlene Love are fighting for legislation to pay royalties to artists recordings from prior to 1972. If I understand the article correctly, radio and streaming do not have to pay royalies for music recorded before 1972.

It was no big problem before, because the audiences would hear the music, buy the CD and the artists were compensated from the CD royalty. But now, there are minimul CD sales, and the artists are not getting any compensation for the music before 1972.

Mary says that ".. with the digital world coming in, when they play your music you are not getting compensated because people don’t want to go out and buy CDs and albums like they used to. That was our payback.”

Mary said that she continues to perform because she has to make up for that lost revenue.

Mary said, “Now we have to work to get [that] back. Guess what? I have to. At 73 years old, I should be sitting at home and only working when I want to work, not because I have to work. I don’t have that income anymore.”

Interesting article. So if we are sitting at home or in the car listening to an oldies station or a streaming service, any song from before 1972 is being played without paying any royalty.

Almost like the recordings are now in public domain, but they are not. Royalties are still paid for sales, but not for plays. Doesn't sound too fair to me.

02-17-2018 12:26 PM

DRATS: Fall of '69

The thead on the DRATS concert poster from September of 1969 got me thinking: the story goes that once "Someday" started climbing the charts, that preparations for their "Farewell" tour starting taking place, ending with Vegas in January of 1970.

But I'm curious: how far in advance were the DRATS typically booked, for concert or television appearances? "Someday" was released in October, but wouldn't it be fair to guess that they had bookings well into the next year? 6 months at the very least? And interesting that a ticket in October to see the group might have been a few $; in Vegas it might have been 10x that just 3 months later. Anyway.....

So would Diana have left the group regardless if their "swan song" was a hit? I once heard that "These Things" from Diana's debut LP might have been considered as the next single? But assuming Diana did leave, if there were appearances scheduled, who took those? Diana? Or the "New" Supremes? Or were those dates cancelled? And how do you suppose payment worked? For instance, the Copa is paying X $ for Diana, Mary, and Cindy. But now they're getting Jean. Does their pay go down without the recognizable lead?
Today 02:07 AM

Yvonne Fair - Let Your Hair Down

Motown should've promoted their black rock/funk acts harder lol

Yvonne had a surefire hit album (and Marvin Gaye backed her and if I'm not mistaken, didn't he produce some of the tracks? I think I hear him vocally backing her here too) and Motown let it go to waste (besides from It Should Have Been Me being a UK hit later on). SHAME!!!

I just love her "fe-fi-fo-fa-HUM!" Another song hip-hop heavily sampled. ;)
02-17-2018 10:47 AM

Eddie, Berry and Diana

Just watched the whole Eddie Unsung episode. I didn’t know he felt Berry didn’t support him because of his affair with DR . His widow said it is very upsetting and the higher ups were not pleased that Diana broke a window. Did others know Eddie felt his career affected by this?
Today 12:45 AM


Ralph Terrana

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