FABULOUS DEAD PEOPLE: MARY WELLS
BY CHRISTOPHER PETKANAS, NEW YORK TIMES
NOVEMBER 23, 2010
...THE SUBJECT OF A BIOGRAPHY NOW BEING WRITTEN BY PETER BENJAMINSON, Wells was in
(1960) and out (1964) of Motown before she knew what hit her. Having reigned so briefly and
disappeared from the charts so suddenly, she seems a distant figure, part of an earlier era —
grainy, black and white, and crowned with bad wigs — than she actually was. Yet if Wells were
alive today she would be only 67.
If her run was short at least she was first. When Wells had her
own car and driver, the Supremes were literally hitching to gigs.
Mary Wilson of the Supremes recalled how Wells would swan
through the lobby of Motown with “her entourage behind her
and we’re standing there like, ‘Wow, yea, that’s, that’s the way
we want to be.’”
It meant nothing at the time, because the Supremes were
nothing, but in the ’80s, when Wells’s career was on the skids
and she was limping along on the oldies circuit, smoking two
packs a day, there was some satisfaction in being able to say
that the boss’s mistress had done her grunt work. Diana and
company are behind Wells on “You Lost the Sweetest Boy"...