"Under the Radar" Calls "Mary Wells"
Peter Benjaminson's ("The Lost Supreme," "The Story
of Motown") fascinating new book on Motown's first
female star makes a great case for looking at Mary
Wells as more than just the strinkingly beautiful voice
of "My Guy," "Two Lovers," and "You Beat Me to the
With painstaking research, including material from
previously unreleased deathbed interviews,
Benjaminson paints a photo-realistic picture of a
natural talent whose meteoric rise to fame and all too
brief reign at the top of the charts was just the first
act of an American music tragedy.
The author pays special attention to the
socio-economic realities of an African-American
female struggling to make her way in an industry that,
more often than not, lead its luminaries down a long
road of heartache and self-destruction. From the
earliest days of her murky past through her messy
romances, drug and alcohol abuse, and her
courageous fight against throat cancer, Wells was
truly a force to be reckoned with.
Anyone interested in the history of the Detroit music
scene of the early 1960s, Smokey Robinson, The
Supremes, Marvin Gaye and even The Beatles will
find something to like here.