A Beatle Number for
By Bill Harry
Mersey Beat: October 22 1964
With a Jackie Wilson album on her portable record player, Mary Wells was relaxing in her dressing room when we visited her.
Mary, who only came to the notice of the majority of British record buyers this year with her 'My Guy', is, in fact, one of the major U.S. female vocalists, having no less than five discs enter the American top five.
"I first heard that I'd be touring with the Beatles in September," she said, "and I thought it was wonderful. I admire them very much and as far as I'm concerned they're the best.
"I find this first tour of Britain very exciting and hope to come back again soon - but I don't find so much difference between our countries, people are alike the world over. However, the response I've received is a little better than I've had in the States. I think this is because they have so many entertainers over there."
We asked Mary to name her favourite artists. "I like all the Motown artists - and I like Dusty Springfield, her singing is beautiful. I also like the Four Seasons. My favourites are the Beatles: they're the tops."
Mary Wells originally approached the Motown label as a songwriter and we asked her if she continued writing numbers. "I've written a couple of numbers for LP's," she said, "but I very seldom have the time to write these days. "I have changed labels now and I'm with 20th Century Fox," she told us. "I've always wanted to write theme tunes for movies and now it may be possible on my new label."
Of her other ambitions, she said: "I'd like to make more appearances in night clubs - and maybe even appear in movies."
We asked Mary if she ever thought of recording a Beatles number. "I'd just love to record a number by John and Paul", she said, "and I think I'll ask them about it."
In fact, we asked John and he seemed delighted. "We've got a number which we think will be really suitable for her", he said. Let's hope that before the tour has ended Mary and the Beatles get together. It would be interesting to hear Mary record a Lennon-McCartney composition."
Editor's note: I interviewed Mary in her dressing room at the Apollo Theatre, Ardwick, Manchester on October 14 1964. After chatting with her I went into the Beatles dressing room and told John I'd talked to her and she said how she'd like to record a Beatles number. He was thrilled and said he had a number for her to record - but nothing came of it. I'd previously asked him for a number for Liverpool singer Beryl Marsden and he was going to let her have 'Love Of The Loved', but Brian Epstein vetoed it and gave it to Cilla Black.
Mary was to appear on the television special 'Around The Beatles' and she also recorded an entire album of their numbers called 'Love Songs To The Beatles.' Sadly, Mary died in August `92.