The entire riveting story of an indomitable R&B artistYears before Diana Ross, Mary Wells was the first Motown solo superstar, the internationally popular songstress who sang the megahit “My Guy.” Her songs consistently and repeatedly reached huge audiences in America and England, both black and white. She captivated the Beatles, toured with them, and was briefly more popular than they were on the pop charts. But Wells was much more than a successful singer with an alluring voice. She also displayed an irrepressible fighting spirit, along with a ferocious belief in her own talent. She left Motown at age 21 and spent the rest of her life trying to fight her way back to the top. Though she never managed to do so, she never gave up her struggle, and the long fight ennobled her. She also had a series of tumultuous affairs and marital attachments with several well-known singers and songwriters. And near the end of her life, Wells fought a drawn-out and courageous battle with throat cancer, which climaxed with her gutsiest performance. Peter Benjaminson has spent years interviewing Wells’s friends, lovers, and husbands, and obtained an amazingly detailed unreleased taped interview with Wells herself. In Mary Wells, he tells her whole story, complete with never-before revealed details about the sex, the violence, and the drugs in her life—and about her Motown hits that captivated the world.
Reviews"In the end, Wells' story is the stuff of great art. Operas like "La Traviata" and "La Bohème" are centered on such characters; Edgar Allan Poe said that the death of a beautiful woman is the most poetical topic in the world. When you finish this book, you will mourn Mary Wells, sure, and be grateful for the music she left. But don't be surprised if you find that, like John, Paul, George and Ringo, you are more than a little in love with her as well."-Wall Street Journal
"Peter Benjaminson pays tribute to the remarkable life of Mary Wells through a fascinating biography. His relentless research has resulted in not only a riveting tale of Wells's many personal battles but also a gripping snapshot of the music industry in which she worked. Motown's first superstar is given top-of-the-charts treatment in this terrific book." —Gerald Posner, author, Motown, Why America Slept, and Case Closed
"I thought I knew all there was to know about Mary Wells. I was wrong. Here, Peter Benjaminson tells Mary's story with great love and compassion in a way that informs even the so-called experts. I love Peter's work, and am happy to see Mary Wells finally be given the recognition she so deserves." —J. Randy Taraborrelli, author, Michael Jackson, After Camelot, and The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
"Peter Benjaminson does an admirable job with Mary Wells, presenting thoroughly researched scholarship, but always going back to reminding the reader of the soaring voice, and wide heart, of Motown's first superstar." —Charles R. Cross, author, Heavier than Heaven and Room Full of Mirrors
"Mary Wells has finally found 'My Guy'—and it is her biographer Peter Benjaminson. This is a match made in music heaven." —Al Abrams, author, Hype & Soul: Behind the Scenes at Motown
"Peter exposes the raw truth contained in never-before-released audio interviews with Mary as she lay on her deathbed. This fascinating story hits bookstores everywhere on November 1." — Sister 2 Sister magazine
"Benjaminson (The Lost Supreme) delivers another excellent and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the artists who made Motown Records a massive success in the 1960s." — Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating narrative of the life of a popular music icon." —Library Journal
Author BiographyPeter Benjaminson is the author of The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard, The Story of Motown, and, with David Anderson, Investigative Reporting. He has written numerous stories for the Detroit Free Press, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other publications.