Bill with Motown recording artist Mary Wells

DJ Bill Lovelace and Mary Wells back in 1984


Humble beginnings

Mary Esther Wells was born near Detroit's Wayne State University on May 13, 1943 to a domestic mother and an absentee father. One of three children, she caught spinal meningitis at the age of two and struggled with partial blindness, deafness in one ear and near paralysis. During her early years, Wells' family grew up in a poor residential Detroit district. By age 12, Wells was helping her mother with housecleaning work[3]. She described the ordeal years later:

"Daywork they called it and it was damn cold on hallway linoleum. Misery is Detroit linoleum in January--with a half-froze bucket of Spic-and-Span."[

Mary Wells

Wells used singing as her comfort from her pain and by age ten had graduated from church choirs to performing at local nightclubs in the Detroit area. Wells graduated from Detroit's Northwestern High School at the age of 17 and set on sights of becoming a scientist but already hearing about the success of Detroit musicians such as Jackie Wilson and The Miracles decided to try her hand at music as a singer-songwriter.

Early career

In 1960, Wells approached Tamla Records founder Berry Gordy at Detroit's Twenty Grand club with a song she had intended for Jackie Wilson to record, since Wells knew of Gordy's collaboration with Wilson. However, a tired Gordy insisted Wells to sing the song in front of him. Impressed, Gordy had Wells enter Detroit's United Sound Studios to record the single, titled "Bye Bye Baby". After a reported twenty-two takes, Gordy signed Wells to the Motown subsidiary of his expanding record label and released the song as a single in late 1960 where it eventually peaked at number-eight on the R&B chart in 1961 later crossing over to the top fifty on the pop singles chart where it peaked at number forty-five.

Wells' early Motown career insisted on a rougher R&B production that predated her more smoother sound of her bigger hit recordings. Wells became the first Motown female artist to have a top forty pop single after the Mickey Stevenson-penned doo-wop single, "I Don't Want to Take a Chance", hit number thirty-three. In the fall of 1961, Motown issued her first album and released a third single, the blues-styled ballad "Strange Love". However when that record bombed, Gordy set Wells up with The Miracles' lead singer Smokey Robinson. Though she was hailed as "the first lady of Motown", Wells was technically Motown's second female signed act: Detroit blues-gospel singer Mabel John signed to the then-fledging label a year prior to Wells' arrival. However, Wells' early hits did make her the label's first female star and its first fully successful solo artist.


Wells' teaming with Robinson began a succession of hit singles the duo would collaborate on in the following two years. Their first collaboration, 1962's "The One Who Really Loves You", was Wells' first smash hit, peaking at number-two on the R&B chart and number-eight on the Hot 100. The song featured a calypso-styled soul sound that would define Wells' early hits. Later famous for releasing songs with a repetitive sound, Motown later released the similar-sounding "You Beat Me to the Punch", which became her first R&B number-one single and peaked at number nine on the pop chart. The success of "You Beat Me to the Punch" helped to make Wells the first Motown star to be nominated for a Grammy Award as the song was nominated in the Best Rhythm & Blues Recording category.

Then in late 1962, Motown released "Two Lovers". The single became Wells' third consecutive single to hit the top ten of Billboard's Hot 100 where it peaked at number-seven and became her second number-one hit on the R&B chart. This help to make Wells the first female solo artist to release three consecutive top ten singles on the pop chart. Wells' second album, also titled The One Who Really Loves You, was released in 1962 and peaked at number-eight on the pop albums chart, making the teenage singer a breakthrough star and gave her clout in the Motown label. Wells' success in Motown was recognized when she became a headliner during the first string of Motortown Revue concerts, starting in the fall of 1962. The singer showcased a rawer stage presence that contrasted from her more softer R&B recordings.

Wells' success continued in 1963 where she hit the top twenty with the doo-wop ballad "Laughing Boy" and scored three top forty singles that year including "Your Old Standby", "You Lost the Sweetest Boy", and "What's So Easy for Two Is So Hard for One". The latter song's a-side, "You Lost the Sweetest Boy", was one of the first hit singles composed by the successful Motown songwriting and producing trio Holland-Dozier-Holland though Robinson remained Wells' primary producer.

During that year, Wells recorded a session of successful b-sides that became as known as her hits including "Operator", "What Love Has Joined Together", "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right" and "Old Love (Let's Try It Again)". Wells and Robinson also recorded a duet together titled "I Want You 'Round", the duet would be re-recorded by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston.

[edit] 1964: Brief superstardom In 1964, Wells recorded and released her landmark single, "My Guy". The song became her landmark single reaching number-one on the Cashbox R&B chart for seven weeks becoming the number-one R&B single of the year and the song successfully crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 where it eventually replaced Louis Armstrong's "Hello Dolly!" to hit number-one on that chart where it stayed for two weeks. To build on the song's building success, Motown released a duet album Wells recorded with fellow Motown singing star Marvin Gaye on the album, Together. The album peaked at number-one on the R&B albums chart and hit number forty-two on the pop albums chart and yielded the double-sided hits "Once Upon a Time" and "What's the Matter With You Baby".

"My Guy" was one of the first Motown songs to break over the other side of the Atlantic where it eventually peaked at number-five on the UK chart making Wells an international star that year. Around this time, despite competition, The Beatles publicly stated that Wells was their favorite American singer and soon she was giving an invitation to open for the group during their tour of the United Kingdom thus making Wells the first Motown star to perform in the UK. Wells was only one of three female singers - Brenda Holloway and Jackie DeShannon being the others - to open for The Beatles. Wells gained friendships with all four Beatles members and later released a tribute album, Love Songs to the Beatles in mid-decade.

When describing Wells' landmark success in 1964, former Motown sales chief Lucy Gordy Wakefield replied:

"In 1964, Mary Wells was our big, big artist, I don't think there's any audience with an age of 30 through 50 that doesn't know the words to My Guy."[
Jennifer and Rocky Brown's Wedding at Talega Golf
Sara & Michael Emenhiser
Allison and Matt Ward at The Eagles Nest
Emily and Curtis Rynders
Katie and Patrick Cowen
Grace and Manuel Mendoza
Allison and Scott Miller at The Ebell Club
Melissa and Andrew Carpenter
Autumn and Mike Rose at The Reef in Long Beach
Courtney and Bryndon Smith at The Ebell Club
Sesha and Ernie's Wedding in Kauai
Jana and Kent Anderson
Lauren and Dan Sandberg
Karina and Adam
Elizabeth and Joe McDonnell
Grace and Joe Franco
Christy and Chris Lee
Leslie Groene and Blake Rea
Kellie and Jeff Coleman
Jamie and Adam Rose
Erin and Jason Shipman
Bernadette and Patrick Sommerfield
Leesa and Ricky Hammond
Rita Lee and Alex Lin
Lindsay and Josh Murad
Martie and James Kubiak
Amy and John King
Ammie and Aaron McVay
Jackie and Brett Bowman
Erika and Mike LeBrun at The Ebell Club
Clayton and Judy Haskin
Alysce and Martin Lagbao
Sheena & Joey Fiktarz at The Grove of Anaheim
Leticia and John Trujillo
Terra and Bill Burkett
Tiffany and Mark Parilla
Erin and Kyle Sturman
Sarah and Chris Housepian
Kelly and Tony Savocchio at Trilogy Golf Club
Tiffany and Johnny Makcovic
Lori and Max Sena at Old Ranch
Megan and Jim Chase at The Sheraton Anaheim Hotel
Abby and Gary Weber
Tara and Levi Maldonado
Shelly and Mike Bursic
Erin and Troy
Erin and Joe Johnson at the Renaissance Long Beach
Christine and Dale Miller
Natalie and Brian Mendez
Jason Kapono DJing with Bill Lovelace
Cassie and Mike Tenny
Minerva and Karl Schott
Bree and Ken Sobieski
Brian & Nicole Simone at Old Ranch Counrty Club
Dana and Mike Kinsella Wedding at The Coast Hotel
Annam and Alex Martin's Wedding at the Ayres Hotel
Lizette and Steve Kuyper
Kendra and Scott Dixson
Amy and Scot Hecht at Calamigos Ranch
Lauren and Paul Whygle at Medowlark Golf Course
Dalynn and Duncan Campbell
Amy and Cody Surratt
Lysa and John Korkis
Amber and Renny at the Japanese Gardens Long Beach
Alisha and Mike Conley
Jodi and Dickie Chapin
Roberta and Daniel Brannen
Dawn and Cory Bowman
Toni and Erick Fedorcheck at Khoury's
Michelle and Dan Michael
Jennifer and Jose Molina at Coyotes Hills
Ramona and Randy Laya
Christina and Laurence Stecki
Sara and Aaron Pressburg
Greag Allen & Linda Attardo's Birthday Bash
Alicia and Charles at The Grand in Long Beach
Kim and Mark Chavira at Pacific Golf
Tracy and Angel
Jennifer and Jon Watkins
Ericka and Martin Doe at Shutters on the Beach
Alyson and James Hannan
Westi and Carlo at The Adamson House Malibu
Christy and Nathan Aila
Monica and Michail Mavrovitis at The Reef in Long
Jennifer and Adam at The Coast Hotel in Long Beach
Patty and Rich Hall at Khoury's Restaurant
Holly and Aldo at The Grand in Long Beach
Jenelle and Tim Sell
Nicki and Randy Tymchak
Erica and Steven Espinoza 7-7-07 Wedding
Melaine & Adam at Recreation Park Golf
Erin & Brad Garner at The Coast Hotel
Crystal and Jeff Glenning
Wendy and Mike Chieffo wedding on the Queen Mary
Heather and David Pew at The Hyatt Regency
Barbara and Joe Styzen
Tracy and CJ Stillwell
Mayumi and Stacy Ales at Virginia Counrty Club
Lara and Bobby Chanpong
Deanna and Chris Martin - Alta Vista Country Club
Carrie and Lucas Pacheco
Michelle & Sean at The Museum of Latin Art
Amy and Gabriel Johnson
Kerith and Jeff Helland
Julie and Mike Leeb
Barbara and Ray Richmond's 50th Anniversary Party
Kate and Jeff Wilson at The Reef in Long Beach
Beth and Gary Craig
Crystal and Kevin Walter
Katy and Kenny Richmond at The Sky Room
Maggie and Bill Madonna
Catherine and Ray at The Villa Nova
Janelle and Jeff at The Garden Room
April and David Shanebeck
Jan and Don Hale's 50th Anniversary Party
Jody and Josh Rindfleisch at Lindley Scott
Bill working with DJ Wolfman Jack back in 1984
Bill with Motown recording artist Mary Wells
Bill With Steve James
Melissa and Peter John
Erika And Mike LeBrun's Wedding at The Ebell Club
Sabrina and Don Moreau
at The Grand
Bill with Vince Ferragamo
Bill With Natalie Cole
Tone Lc with Bill Lovelace
Bill with Dr. Demento
Bill Lovelace with DJ John Cox

Client Login:

My Client Area is a special application where clients who have already scheduled an event can submit important information about the event. I will review everything with you before your event to make sure that I understand announcements, introductions, name pronunciations, music requests, timelines etc.

About Your DJ

Bill Lovelace DJ Entertainment has been providing unique, personalized Disc Jockey and for more than 30 years. From weddings to corporate events, Bill has the ability to entertain guests of all ages, and he is always happy to act as "Master of Ceremonies" and make any needed announcements. From the day you begin planning until your event is over, you will deal only with Bill Lovelace, as he never subcontracts any wedding, party or event.

Call or Email Bill Lovelace DJ Entertainment today to set up your free consultation. 714-805-7373 or 562-595-5995

Read Wedding Wire Reviews:

Read all of our Wedding Disc Jockey Reviews at Weddings, Wedding Cakes,  Wedding Planning, Wedding Checklists, Free Wedding Websites, Wedding Dresses, Wedding Ideas & more

Thank you letters, notes, and recordings:

Bill Lovelace has provided music DJ and MC services for hundreds of successful Weddings, Receptions, and Parties at locations throughout Orange County and all of Southern California. Read and listen to some of what our clients say about Bill . . .

Follow, Like, and Share:

Tap below to call me now!

© 1999 - 2022 Bill Lovelace Entertainment