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  1. #1

    Mary Wells - post My Guy at motown

    Been reading more about Miss Wells and the period during which she left motown.

    Of course we all know My Guy was a massive hit and then the subsequent drama of her departure.

    had she stayed, some sources cite Whisper You Love Me as the follow up. but that was HDH. and the tradition at motown was the hit producer got the next single. So that probably would have been When I'm Gone.

    And her sexy smokey vocals are somewhat in the vein of Diana on Where Did Our Love Go

    so had Mary stayed, what do you think she would have done? Would most of the Brenda Holloway work gone her way? would HDH have struck gold with her and Whisper? would HDH have been split then between the sups and mary?

  2. #2
    HDH had a sure fire hit recorded on Mary Wells the song One Block From Heaven.It is included on the Vintage Stock album. Im surprised HDH never recorded it with The Supremes.It would have made a great album cut or B side
    Last edited by Zantellor; 12-04-2018 at 11:30 PM.

  3. #3
    Good thread that makes good conversation.

    To clear up what you touched on with the follow up to "My Guy","When I'm Gone" was the sure fire follow up and "Whisper You Love Me Boy" was to follow that. Both the tracks and vocals to "Whisper" were recorded in the same two day period as "My Guy": March 2nd & 3rd 1964. As for the proven producer getting the singles:that was in effect as long as what other producers brought in to challenge it fell below it in quality. If someone else's song was stronger than yours they could very well come out on top,seldom did that happen though.

    To answer your question directly, Mary would have gone on to have major success. It would've been very interesting to hear Smokey keep her in tune with the times. Furthermore, listening to her sing on a Motown record with the sound at it's peak in 1966 is also great to consider. Berry Gordy's plan was to fill the vacant slot with Brenda Holloway, but due to politics and a lack of "cooperation" it didn't happen. Not spending more time in Detroit hurt Brenda in my opinion.

    "Whisper" is a good tune, but I think Smokey would've come up with a catchier song in the same vein and got it taken off the release schedule. The Supremes probably wouldn't have gotten the promotion, Mary's leaving moved them up the line a bit. In fact, Motown had to beg Dick Clark to allow them to join his tour which gave "Where Did Our Love Go" room to breathe.

    All in all, Mary shouldn't have left Motown. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate a contract with much better terms after her 21st birthday was the way to go. She was too emotional and Herman Griffin didn't make anything better. He got her more money than she knew what to do with at the time only for her career to stall. In addition to that she signed damn near everything away to leave so her decision was costly in the grand scheme.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    Been reading more about Miss Wells and the period during which she left motown.

    Of course we all know My Guy was a massive hit and then the subsequent drama of her departure.

    had she stayed, some sources cite Whisper You Love Me as the follow up. but that was HDH. and the tradition at motown was the hit producer got the next single. So that probably would have been When I'm Gone.

    And her sexy smokey vocals are somewhat in the vein of Diana on Where Did Our Love Go

    so had Mary stayed, what do you think she would have done? Would most of the Brenda Holloway work gone her way? would HDH have struck gold with her and Whisper? would HDH have been split then between the sups and mary?
    Good question Sup Fan. I'm pretty sure that "When I'm Gone" would've been the follow up to Mary Wells' "My Guy" had she stayed at Motown. Also think that "He's The One I Love" & "Whisper You Love Me Boy" had major hit potential. And I believe Mary would've recorded Kim Weston's "Looking For The Right Guy" for either a single or an LP track.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    would HDH have been split then between the sups and mary?
    I feel that Mary Wells would've done more work with Smokey Robinson (with the occasional song with H-D-H and other Motown writer/producers). Anyway, Mary truly could've taken her one of the A-listers at Motown during their peak years in the '60s (just imagine having both The Supremes and Mary Wells churning out hits at Motown).

  6. Thatīs a very interesting thread. IMHO a Brenda Holloway has not the charisma of Mary Wells, she was a star. Itīs an intersting question, if she stayed, she would have been a great Motown Superstar ? When we compare it to all the other Motown Artist, they were in the shadow of The Supremes, Marvin Gaye too. Maybe when Mary remained at Motown, so Smokey worked with her, not with the Marvelettes. So "Donīt mess with Bill" or "The hunter" would be perfect songs for her on the other hand, when we see, that she did HDH songs "WYLMB", "YLTWB", "HB" or "OBFH", then itīs the question, if The Supremes had a chance to become Superstars ? How it would be sounds, Mary Wells sings "Where did our love go"? IMHO her voice was made for Smokey songs !

  7. #7
    it seems many, many years ago I saw a Motown release schedule "When I'm Gone" backed by "Whisper You Love Me, Boy" was to be Marys next release. As you know she had a few double sided hits already with the major one being "You Lost The Sweetest Boy"# 22 Hot 100 backed by "Whats Easy For Two"#29 Hot 100 & both being Top Ten on the Soul Charts. Her duet with Marvin Gaye was a double sided hit as well. Before those "operator" as the flip of "Two Lovers" had gotten quite a bit of airplay and "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right" even made the Hot 100.Motown had MAJOR plans for Mary. She was well liked by many of the big movers & shakers in the industry, like Dick Clark.She listened to and was influenced by the wrong people, mainly Herman Griffen & Robert West.

  8. #8
    interesting idea about her taking those mid-60s Marvelettes songs. hadn't thought of that but the sound and style of "sophisticated soul" would have worked perfectly with Mary.

    She also had big support from the Beatles. so had she stayed and had more hits with Motown (a label the beatles greatly admired) it's easy to think that she would have continued to occasionally tour and appear with them.

    what was she like live? i've seen a few minor clips (like the motown at apollo). do you think she would have been able to do Vegas and Copa? I adore her unreleased MOR tracks and the Second Time Around material. she certainly had a great voice for that, even though she wasn't the most powerful singer or one with the largest range.

    And i wonder how she would have done on more "traditional motown sound" songs like what HDH really became known for. more upbeat and harder driving material

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    it seems many, many years ago I saw a Motown release schedule "When I'm Gone" backed by "Whisper You Love Me, Boy" was to be Marys next release. As you know she had a few double sided hits already with the major one being "You Lost The Sweetest Boy"# 22 Hot 100 backed by "Whats Easy For Two"#29 Hot 100 & both being Top Ten on the Soul Charts. Her duet with Marvin Gaye was a double sided hit as well. Before those "operator" as the flip of "Two Lovers" had gotten quite a bit of airplay and "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right" even made the Hot 100.Motown had MAJOR plans for Mary. She was well liked by many of the big movers & shakers in the industry, like Dick Clark.She listened to and was influenced by the wrong people, mainly Herman Griffen & Robert West.
    Both "When I'm Gone" & "Whisper You Love Me Boy" were included on TCMS-1964 and both were scheduled to be released (with "Guarantee For A Lifetime" & "I'll Be Available" as the respective B-Sides of each single). And yes, Mary Wells career was derailed by listening to the wrong people.

  10. #10
    Mary would have had some themed albums of course. "Mary Wells Sings Jazz" (Ella, Dinah etc), "Mary Wells Sings Songs From The Movies" or "Sings The Standards" maybe. Then there would have had to be another album with Marvin Gaye. I can hear her singing Tammi's "I Can't Believe You Love Me" too. Wonder if her "Recorded Live" album will ever see a CD release?

  11. #11
    but did she have the presence and personality to have been the start of a TCB or on the Bob Hope special or featured on Rodgers & Hart Today?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    And i wonder how she would have done on more "traditional motown sound" songs like what HDH really became known for. more upbeat and harder driving material
    Think You Lost the Sweetest Boy. She took that HDH material to church and back to the revival. Mary Wells would have handled this material like a pro. The HDH material on Vintage Stock was good to great filler material, but would not have been mega hits.

    Somehow, I think she may have remained hitched to Smokey Robinson with only occasional HDH produced material. Brenda Holloway probably would have been even more of an artist in the shadows, not getting the material she inherited after Mary left.

    I don't envision that there would have been two queens in the hive had Mary remained a hit maker. The Supremes emerged just as she left Motown, on a different path that would have eventually rivaled Mary Wells. Diana Ross' personality and drive would eventually have surpassed Mary's talent. Just a couple of opinions based mostly in conjecture.

  13. #13
    Great post,but my question is..would the great but underrated[dear lover]have reached mary if she had stayed,because with the motown machine behind her that little gem would've blown up,anyone else with an opinion on this?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Great post,but my question is..would the great but underrated[dear lover]have reached mary if she had stayed,because with the motown machine behind her that little gem would've blown up,anyone else with an opinion on this?
    If Mary Wells had stayed with Motown, I'm sure that all of her hits would've been done by the in-house writer/producers at the label. I could easily see "Dear Lover" being recorded and having great potential on the 'R&B charts' by Barbara Acklin instead of Mary (since Barbara's best known hit singles were written & produced by Carl Davis who co-wrote "Dear Lover").
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 12-08-2018 at 03:07 PM.

  15. #15
    Thanks motown eddie,now i'm wondering is there a version with barbara singing it?

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    If Mary Wells had stayed with Motown, I'm sure that all of her hits would've been done by the in-house writer/producers at the label. I could easily see "Dear Lover" being recorded and having great potential on the 'R&B charts' by Barbara Acklin instead of Mary (since Barbara's best known hit singles were written & produced by Carl Davis who co-wrote "Dear Lover").
    And really, the reason for "Dear Lover' was to recapture and duplicate that Motown feeling and sound. Had Mary remained at Motown, she would have had "The Real Thing" in terms of songs supplied by Motown writers. The only time a Motown artist recorded a non-Motown song was when a Motown producer wanted to do a cover of another artist's hit.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by waitingwatchinglookingforachance View Post
    and really, the reason for "dear lover' was to recapture and duplicate that motown feeling and sound. Had mary remained at motown, she would have had "the real thing" in terms of songs supplied by motown writers. The only time a motown artist recorded a non-motown song was when a motown producer wanted to do a cover of another artist's hit.
    i hear you,but don't sleep on[dear lover]because it's as good as anything she did at motown to my ears.

  18. #18
    Very true arr&bee!

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