Mary Jane Girls

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Mary Jane Girls
Origin Los Angeles, United States
Genres R&B, Soul, Funk
Years active 1979 - 1987
Labels Gordy
Associated acts Rick James
Past members Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie
Cheryl Ann "Cheri" Bailey
Candice "Candi" Ghant
Kimberly "Maxi" Wuletich
Yvette "Corvette" Marine

The Mary Jane Girls were an American R&B, soul, funk and disco group in the 1980s. They were protégées of singer Rick James. They are known for their hit songs "In My House", "All Night Long", and "Candy Man".

Formation[edit]

The group consisted of Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie (lead/background vocals), Cheryl Ann "Cheri" Bailey (who used stage name Cheri Wells), Candice "Candi" Ghant, Kimberly "Maxi" Wuletich, Yvette "Corvette" Marine, and the Water Sisters (Maxine and Julia). The Mary Jane Girls project was to be a solo debut for JoJo, who had sung background for Rick James on tours and recordings. Rick James developed tracks with JoJo and session vocalists the Water Sister creating the Mary Jane Girls sound (see last released Motown compilation for verification).

Motown offered James a contract for what they believed was the girl group he wanted to produce and, not wanting to lose the deal, James lied and told Motown that the Mary Jane Girls were a group and not JoJo's solo project. Rick got who he could to take pictures for Motown with no vocal auditions. JoJo continued to sing both lead and background with the Water Sisters for all of the Mary Jane Girl recordings. The other members of the group could not sing at all or were extremely limited vocally. The band had to sing for the other members of the group with JoJo on tour. The limited or lack of vocal skills from the other members with the exception of JoJo prevented the group from achieving their full potential. Television shows (Saturday Night Live, Tonight Show) did not have the group perform because of this.

The origin of the group's name is commonly believed to be an homage to James's affinity for marijuana, which is sometimes called "Mary Jane." The four group members took on distinctive character looks with matching personalities:

  • Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie (lead vocalist) – Sexy and streetwise; a female version of James himself
  • Cheryl Ann "Cheri" Bailey/ Yvette "Corvette" Marine – Valley girl
  • Candice "Candi" Ghant - Vamp
  • Kimberly "Maxi" Wuletich – Dominatrix

Cheri left the group shortly before the release of their second album, Only Four You, in 1985 and was replaced by Yvette "Corvette" Marine who took on the role of the valley girl in the group. She is the daughter of disco singer Pattie Brooks.

Career[edit]

The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1983 and yielded their first R&B hits: "Candy Man", "All Night Long" (which was later included in the soundtrack of the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City), and "Boys". The group released their second album Only Four You in 1985. That album's lead single "In My House" became the group's biggest hit, reaching #3 on the R&B chart and then crossing over to the Hot 100 chart, where it reached #7 and spent 12 weeks in the Top 40. It also charted on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, peaking at #1 for two weeks in April 1985. "Wild and Crazy Love" was the second single from this album and it also fared well on the R&B (#10) and dance charts (#3). It barely missed the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #42. The last single, "Break It Up", only reached #79 on the R&B chart and did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The group covered the Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons hit "Walk Like a Man", which was included on the soundtrack of the 1986 film A Fine Mess, charting at #41 on the Hot 100. The group's next single, "Shadow Lover", was released in the spring of 1986, but problems between Motown and Rick James resulted in little promotion for the single, although it was performed on Soul Train. That same year, the Mary Jane Girls were ready to record their third album titled Conversation. Personal and legal problems for James meant the album was never released and the group officially broke up in 1987. "In My House" was the group's only Top 40 pop hit.

After Ghant and Wuletich left the group, JoJo McDuffie carried on as a solo artist. She also recorded with Rick James on his 1997 Urban Rhapsody album on the track "Never Say You Love Me", which was originally written for Teena Marie. After leaving the Mary Jane Girls, Cheryl Bailey sang lead for Morris Day's studio group The DayZs. Yvette Marine went on to appear in R&B singer Pebbles' Mercedes Boy music video in 1988. In 1991, she sued Virgin Records, claiming that she had shared the lead vocals on the songs "Opposites Attract", "Knocked Out", and "I Need You" on Paula Abdul's debut album Forever Your Girl.[1] In 1993, a jury eventually ruled against Marine.[2]

In 1995, McDuffie, Ghant, and Wuletich, under the name "MJG," appeared on the daytime talk show Jenny Jones as the show's first musical guest. By 1997 Ghant and Wuletich left the group once again.

Current[edit]

Bailey continues to perform and is living in Portland, Oregon. McDuffie continues to perform as "JoJo" Original Lead Singer Mary Jane Girls. She is also a television/movie composer. JoJo has released a solo project entitled "Slightly Dangerous", produced by Danny LeMelle. In the hourly intros to the 2009 VH1 special 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s, McDuffie says she is proud to be a one-hit wonder. Ghant is still in the music business. Marine is a married mother of two, and is the host of In The Mix with Yvette, a celebrity profile show. Wuletich is a successful celebrity chef who just published a cookbook and is developing a TV cooking show. The group appeared on VH1's Where Are They Now? in 2003. Bailey, Wuletich, Ghant, and Marine appeared in a separate segment from McDuffie, who had just returned from Europe touring with Barry White. JoJo was featured on 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s discussing her new project "Slightly Dangerous" and showing a clip from a concert performance in 2009.

Cover versions[edit]

  • "All Night Long" was recorded by British reggae act La Famille in 1983, released on the Sanity record label; and by British street soul act Jay Mondi and the Livin' Bass. Released in March 1990 on Ten Records, the track was a #63 UK hit. Also Erikah Badu has it as a coversong on her live Album.
  • "In My House" was recorded by German singer Sarah Connor on her debut album, Green Eyed Soul. The song also appears on her A Night to Remember: Pop Meets Classic DVD. "In My House" was also recorded by American punk/indie rock band Big Black; the recording appeared on a special five-inch vinyl single included with the group's concert video Pigpile.
  • "Hurting on the Inside" was recorded by British reggae act Sammy Levi on the Passion label in 1989.

Sampling[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Record label
US
[4]
US
R&B

[4]
CAN
[5]
NZ
[6]
UK
[7]
1983 Mary Jane Girls 56 6 51 Gordy
1985 Only Four You 18 5 67 28
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums[edit]

  • In My House: The Very Best of the Mary Jane Girls (1994, Motown)
  • 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Mary Jane Girls (2001, Motown)

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US
[4]
US
R&B

[4]
US
Dan

[4]
AUS
[9]
BEL
[10]
CAN
[5]
IRE
[11]
NLD
[12]
NZ
[6]
UK
[7]
1983 "Candy Man" 101 23 8 60 Mary Jane Girls
"All Night Long" 101 11 18 13
"Boys" 102 29 74
1984 "Jealousy" 106 84
1985 "In My House" 7 3 1 19 8 6 6 6 77 Only Four You
"Wild and Crazy Love" 42 10 3 26
"Break It Up" 79 33
1986 "Walk Like a Man" 41 91 26 97 48 A Fine Mess
1995 "All Night Long (The Hustlers Convention Remixes)" 51 Non-album single
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Singer Says Part of Voice on Hit Is Hers. New York Times, 1991-04-10. Accessed 2008-06-04.
  2. ^ Paula Abdul did lead on 'Forever Your Girl': jury. Jet, 1993-08-30. Accessed 2013-10-09.
  3. ^ "The-Breaks.com". Retrieved 2008-12-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "US Charts > Mary Jane Girls". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  5. ^ a b "CAN Charts > Mary Jane Girls". RPM. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  6. ^ a b "NZ Charts > Rose Royce". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  7. ^ a b "UK Charts > Mary Jane Girls". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  8. ^ a b "US Certifications > Mary Jane Girls". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  9. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ "BEL Charts > Mary Jane Girls". VRT Top 30. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  11. ^ "IRE Charts Search > Mary Jane Girls". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  12. ^ "NLD Charts > Mary Jane Girls". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 

External links[edit]