Mary Wells was the
first ‘Queen Of Motown’, thanks in large part to hits like ‘You Beat Me To The
Punch’ and ‘My Guy’. My favorite
Mary Wells song however was her first single for Motown, released in 1960, ‘Bye
Bye Baby’. This song is a bit of
an anomaly in Mary’s catalog- she wrote the song herself and her performance is
much grittier and soulful than her soon-to-be classic smooth R&B style on
later songs penned by the likes of Smokey Robinson and Holland-Dozier-Holland. I guess that’s why I like it so
much. It’s always cool to hear the
early stages of well-known artists when they are fresh out of the gate. The story goes that Berry Gordy Jr.
(Motown founder and writer of the B-Side to ‘Bye Bye Baby’, ‘Please Forgive Me’)
had Mary sing him the song in person in the hallway of a club. He signed her soon after and when producing
this first single got in her face and demanded a raw, emotional, intense delivery
for the A-Side track. Well, he got
it and Mary turned in an all-time classic. Check out the video below of Mary performing ‘Bye Bye Baby’ live
in 1962 at the Apollo, featuring The Temptations on backing vocals. Cool.