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You can rage against the machine, or you can walk away before your arm gets caught in the gears.

Motown Records didn't have a single top-ten hit until Mary Wells earned three in 1962, and it didn't have a #1 hit until Mary Wells earned one with My Guy in 1964. In fact, Motown didn't even exist until seventeen-year-old Mary Wells agreed to sign up as its first artist in 1960, so with all due respect to the songwriting geniuses who surrounded her there (Smokey Robinson, Holland/Dozier/Holland), it's fair to say that, to some degree, Mary Wells made Motown as much as Motown made Mary Wells. So why, then, did your Birthstar jump ship for a big contract at a new label just as her star had reached a new peak? It's easy to see with the benefit of hindsight that this may have been the fateful step that kept her star from rising any higher, but it's also fair with the benefit of the same hindsight to wonder whether Mary Wells really had much choice. With the showy and resource-hungry Supremes looming over the horizon, could your Birthstar possibly have survived her popstrological rise any better than, say, the Marvelettes did? Perhaps she simply had dollar signs in her eyes, but it seems as likely from a popstrological perspective that what Mary really saw was the writing on the wall-that she simply understood at the tender age of twenty-one the cold, hard truth that you would do well to make your mantra: No matter how much you serve the institution, and no matter how much it seems to serve you, institutions will serve themselves first, even if it costs them your loyalty.
My Guy  May 10-23, 1964
Stephen Colbert (5/13/64) is a Mary Wells.

2004 All rights reserved. "Popstrology" is a trademark of Ian Van Tuyl.

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