My Guy

Album: Greatest Hits (1964)
Charted: 5 1
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  • Mary Wells' smash hit "My Guy" was her last solo recording for Motown. The first female star for the record label, she also became the first to dare to leave when 20th Century Fox wooed her with a $200,000 advance and potential movie roles. She officially left in 1965.

    Motown mogul Berry Gordy allegedly coerced radio stations into keeping Wells' new records off the airwaves, but she still scored a hit with "Ain't That the Truth" and "Use Your Head." Nevertheless, her relationship contract with 20th Century Fox dissolved the following year. She bounced from label to label and eventually retired (briefly) from music in 1974 to raise her family.
  • Mary Wells' fellow Motown star, Smokey Robinson, wrote and produced this song. Robinson helped Berry Gordy form Motown Records after they realized how little they were paid by the labels that distributed their songs. In addition to fronting the legendary group The Miracles, Robinson also wrote and produced many of the label's early numbers, including other Wells hits like "The One Who Really Loves You," "You Beat Me to the Punch" and "Two Lovers."

    In 1965, Robinson wrote a song similar to "My Guy" from a male perspective that was a huge hit for The Temptations: "My Girl."
  • "My Guy" was the defining hit of Mary Wells' career, but it was also memorable as Motown's first British hit. When it was reissued in the UK and went to #14 in 1972, it brought a renewed interest in Wells. Although she had no problem performing her old numbers for her fans, the singer longed to make a name for herself apart from her Motown roots. Her then-husband/songwriting partner Cecil Womack explained to NME in 1972: "There's a tremendous variety of styles in Mary's singing, and we are now completely free to exploit them – and that is something the public seems to dig."

    Unfortunately, the mainstream public wasn't digging Wells' new sound and, although she would re-emerge from retirement in the 1980s, she never regained the success that made her the "Queen of Motown."
  • Although she was largely ignored by the Grammy Awards' committee throughout her lifetime (she was nominated once for "You Beat Me to the Punch"), Mary Wells did receive a bit of recognition after her death when this song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • Smokey Robinson performed a softer rendition of this song when he delivered the eulogy at Mary Wells' memorial service in 1992. She was diagnosed with stage 3 laryngeal cancer in 1990.
  • This was used in the 1992 movie Sister Act, with the line "My Guy" replaced with "My God" to turn it into a gospel song.
  • This was the song that broke up The Beatles famous monopoly on the Top 5 US chart positions in May of 1964. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • A number of TV series have used this song. Among them:

    The Simpsons ("The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" - 1997)
    Friends ("The One with Mrs. Bing" - 1995)
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ("Stop Will! in the Name of Love" - 1994)
    Quantum Leap ("Jimmy - October 14, 1964" - 1989)
    Growing Pains ("Dance Fever: Part 2" - 1988)

Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn the day {May 10th, 1954} that Mary Wells' "My Guy" peaked at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, her duet with Marvin Gaye, "What's the Matter with You Baby", entered the Top 100 at position #79...
    "What's The Matter with You Baby" peaked at #17 on June 28th, 1964, at the time "My Guy" was at #29 and Marvin Gaye was at #20 with "Try It Baby", and other Motown acts that were on the chart were "I'll Be In Trouble" by the Temps {#33}, "Hey Harmonica Man" by Stevie Wonder {#41}, "Every Little Bit Hurts" by Brenda Holloway {#43}, "I Like It Like That" by the Miracles {#67}, and finally "You're My Remedy" by the Marvelettes.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 30th 1964, Mary Wells performed "My Guy" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Nine months earlier on March 29th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on May 10th it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on May 2nd it reached #1 (for 7 weeks) on Cash Box's R&B Singles chart (Between November 1963 and January 1965 Billboard Magazine did not publish an R&B Singles chart)...
    It became the first Motown record to make the U.K. Top 10; it peaked at #5 in June 1964...
    Three covered versions have made the Top 100; Petula Clark (#70 in 1972), sister Sledge (#23 in 1982), and in 1980 Amii Stewart & Johnny Bristol combined it with "My Girl" (#63 in 1980)...
    It also charted twice on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; Lynda K. Lance (#46 in 1971) and Margo Smith (#43 in 1980)...
    R.I.P. Ms. Wells (1943 - 1992) and Jimmy O'Neill (Shindig's host, 1940 - 2013).
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkI remember "My Guy" at #1 in 1964 and that it broke the British Invasion monopoly on US radio and charts. Mary Wells was an established star before that, but now she was even bigger---until she left Motown. Berry Gordy tried to derail her subsequent career, but that failed because she had some other minor hits and some successful tours, until she decided to retire. The incident exposed Gordy's unsavory, immoral behavior to Motown fans! I loved this song and Wells' voice. She was indeed Queen of Motown. I will always love Mary Wells' hits. R.I.P. Mary!
  • John from Nashville, TnThere have been three Motown artists who had big hits just as they were leaving for other labels: Mary Wells ("My Guy"), Gladys Knight and the Pips ("Neither One Of Us Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye"), and Diana Ross ("Endless Love" with Lionel Richie).
  • Kristin from Bessemer, AlWhen this tune hit Number One in 1964, Mary Wells' contract at Motown was up for renewal. Her then husband at the time, Herman Griffin, convinced her to sign with a more well-known record company- up until about 1971, Mary Wells bounced between four different record companies, never again finding the success she had once scored with "My Guy" - after Wells had left Motown abruptly, Berry Gordy had a clause stated in every performer's contract that automatic renewal was mandatory.
  • John from San Antonio, TxThe intro to this song is the first few notes of "Canadian Sunset," a romantic song from the 1950's.
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