Mary Wells (Paperback)

The Tumultuous Life of Motown's First Superstar

By Peter Benjaminson

Chicago Review Press, 9781613734865, 320pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2016

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (11/1/2012)

List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Years 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 left Motown at age 21 and spent the rest of her life trying to fight her way back to the top. 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, giving perhaps 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. 

About the Author

Peter 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. He lives in New York City.

Praise For Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown's First Superstar

“A fascinating biography. 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 of Motown, Why America Slept, and Case Closed