Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Mary Jane Girls

The Mary Jane Girls were an R&B group from the 80s that was formed by the late Rick James. The original line-up consisted of Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie, Cheryl Ann "Cheri" Bailey, Candice "Candi" Ghant and Kimberly "Maxi" Wuletich.

The origin of their name is commonly believed to be an homage to Rick's affinity for marijuana (or "Mary Jane") and the girls took on distinctive character looks with matching personalities: JoJo was described as sexy & streetwise; a female version of Rick James, Cheri was the Valley girl, Candi was the vamp and Maxi was the dominatrix.

The project was originally supposed to be a solo debut for JoJo, who sung background vocals for Rick on tours and recordings. Rick developed tracks with JoJo and session vocalists the Water Sisters creating the sound of the Mary Jane Girls.

Motown Records offered Rick a record contract for what they believed was the girl group he wanted to produce and not wanting to lose the deal, he lied and told Motown that the Mary Jane Girls were a group & not JoJo's solo project.

Rick got who he could to take photos with the Water Sisters for all the Mary Jane Girls recordings. The other members of the group couldn't sing and had limited vocal talent. The band had to sing for them with JoJo on tour.

With the exception of JoJo, the vocal inability of the other group members prevented them from achieving their full potential & television shows such as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show" couldn't have the group perform because of it.
In 1983, the Mary Jane Girls released their self-titled debut album, which peaked at #56 on the Billboard 200, #6 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and #51 on the U.K. Albums chart.
The first single "Candy Man" peaked at #101 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, #23 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks and #60 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The second single from the album "All Night Long" peaked at #101 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, #11 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 18 weeks and #13 on the U.K. Singles chart.

The song has been sampled by artists such as Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, and Redman.
The third single "Boys" peaked at #102 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, #29 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 17 weeks and #74 on the U.K. Singles chart.

The last single from the album "Jealousy" peaked at #106 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and #84 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 3 weeks.

"Candy Man," "All Night Long" and "Boys" all peaked at #8 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Before the release of their next album, Cheri left the group and was replaced by Yvette "Corvette" Marine (who is the daughter of disco singer Pattie Brooks) and took over the valley girl role in the group.
In 1985, the group released their last album to date "Only Four You" peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single from the album "In My House" became a hit, peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart for 2 weeks in April of 1985 and #3 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 22 weeks. The song also peaked at #77 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The second single "Wild And Crazy Love" peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, #18 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and #10 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks.
The last single from the album "Break it Up" peaked at #33 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and #79 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for only 2 weeks.
In 1986, The Mary Jane Girls covered Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons hit song "Walk Like a Man" which was featured on the "A Fine Mess" movie soundtrack. The song peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #91 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 8 weeks.

In the spring of that same year, the group's next single "Shadow Lover" was released, but problems between Motown Records and Rick James resulted in little promotion for the single even though the group performed it on "Soul Train."

The Mary Jane Girls were preparing to record their third album entitled "Conversation," but the album was never released and they officially disbanded in 1987.

After Candice and Kimberly left the group, JoJo carried on a solo artist.

Yvette appeared in Pebbles' music video for her single "Mercedes Boy." In 1991, she sued Virgin Records, claiming that she shared the lead vocals on Paula Abdul's 1988 album "Forever Your Girl" on the tracks "Opposites Attract," "Knocked Out" and "I Need You," but a jury ruled against her in 1993.
In 1994, Motown Records released the compliation album "In My House: The Very Best Of The Mary Jane Girls."  
In 1995, a remixed version of "All Night Long" was released as a single in the U.K. and managed to peak at #51 on the U.K. Singles chart.

During that same year, JoJo, Candice and Kimberly appeared on the daytime talk show "Jenny Jones" under the name "MJG" as the show's first musical guest, but by 1997, Kimberly and Candice left the group again.  In 2003, the group appeared on the VH1 network show "Where Are They Now?"

These days, Cheri resides in Portland, Oregon and continues to perform. JoJo continues to perform and released a solo project called "Slightly Dangerous."

Yvette (now Yvette Barlowe) is married with two children, continues to sing and the host of her own celebrity profile show entitled "In the Mix with Yvette."

Kimberly works as a successful celebrity chief, published a cookbook and is developing a TV cooking show. Candice continues to be active in the music business.

To see JoJo's official website, go to:
http://www.jojourbandiva.com/

To see Yvette's official website, go to:
http://www.yvettebarlowe.com/

To see the music video for "Candy Man," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlMuhCp5Gq0

To see a fan-made video for "All Night Long," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B5xS_qk0ko

To see the music video for "Boys," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2RoUwQx8Vk

To see a fan-made video for "Jealousy," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Aw2uIssAWY

To see the music video for "In My House," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RENIRXApuW8

To see a fan-made video for "Wild And Crazy Love," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re9e5g4DBxs

To see the music video for "Walk Like a Man," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Raa9U2hHbr0

To see a fan-made video for "Shadow Lover," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5O04_-b57g


[updated on 06/12/13]

1 comment:

Eddie Hernandez said...

The estate of Rick James needs to release the Mary Jane Girls conversation lol finally. Why delay it yet again???