The UK STATESIDE Record “My Guy” from Mary Wells.
A big hit both sides of the Atlantic and taken to the heart of the Soul scene in Manchester in 64’ at the Cities Soul clubs – especially at the Twisted Wheel in Brazennose Street.
However at that time few if any of us in Manchester were aware of the controversy surrounding this record in the USA: we were busy generating the soon to be Northern Soul Scene!
Mary Wells accused Berry Gordy of using the income from the sale of ‘My Guy’ to promote his (girlfriend) Diana Ross of the Supremes rather than using the money to promote the career of Mary herself. The row led her to quite Motown at the height of her career, a level that she sadly never regained.
Berry may have, allegedly, been having an affair secretly at the time with Diana (who also had a child with him a few years later) but officially he was going out with Margaret Norton; said to be the most beautiful woman in Detroit at that time.
1958 Berry & Wife (2) Raynoma
Simultaneously Berry’s second wife Raynoma who started Motown records with him was divorcing him. Raynoma went to New York and opened an office with Eddie Singleton a producer who had worked at Motown they planned to start their own record label.
Eddie Singleton with Raynoma his wife and the Ex-wife of Berry Gordy Jnr
Their office was part of Jobete the publishing company Berry and Raynoma had set up for publishing Motown recordings. The venture was under funded and considering the strained ex-marital relationships it was no surprise that problems resulted. They planned for their own label: SHRINE Records, which never got fully launched ending with most of the recordings made being un-released (until the late 1990’s!).
Raynoma was convinced that Motown (Berry) owed her. And in fact she has been airbrushed out of the Tamla Motown Story as told by Berry Gordy in his biography ‘To Be Loved’ (The name of the first hit record he wrote for Jackie Wilson).
She tells her story in her biography:
The Book that tells all: allegedly Berry tried to buy up and burn all the printed copies!
Apparently going against the advice of Eddie Singleton (her partner at the time and her future husband) she bootleg pressed 5000 copies of ‘MY GUY’ and sold them directly to record shops, to bring in revenue she felt she was her due; after becoming divorced with two children and a big contractual dispute going on about ownership of Motown.
Berry Gordy of course found out and reported the ‘felony’ to the FBI who duly arrested Raynoma, but Berry did not press charges and in anycase Raynoma was a signature part owner of JOBETE the publisher on the record label.
Raynoma returned and worked at Motown in 1968
She can be seen singing with the re-asembled Motown squad formed to record for Ian Levine’s MOTORCITY LABEL in 1991; on the DVD Box Set: The Strange World of Northern Soul.