"Under the Radar" Calls "Mary Wells" "Fascinating"

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 Punch."

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.