Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mari Wilson: A Dougsploitation Diva

It's taken me almost 30 years, but this Sunday night I get to see the great Mari Wilson perform LIVE and IN PERSON at the Magic Castle in Hollywood! In honor of this momentous occasion, I proudly re-present a blog post from last September all about the talented Ms. Wilson. Enjoy!
Having already taken an extensive look at my favorite "divas of color" for Black History Month in February, I've decided to blog about some of my other favorite women singers. Some of them you may have heard of, but some of them may be new to you. I can guarantee there won't be any of the expected choices, because I prefer gals who are a bit off the beaten track. Let's start with the great Mari Wilson!

One of my all-time favorite singers, Mari (born Mari MacMillan Ramsey Wilson), is a stylish English singer who's initial sound and appearance were heavily influenced by early 1960s pop music.

Her back-up band was called the Wilsations and included future pop star Julia Fordham. Her clean, precise and soulful delivery of lyrics and her eloquent phrasing makes Ms. Wilson stand out far from the pack, with or without her signature beehive.
Mari scored six UK hit retro-pop singles in the early 1980s, including her biggest hit, "Just What I Always Wanted" in 1982. In 1983 she scored a top 30 hit with a gorgeous cover of the Julie London classic "Cry Me a River".

Both tracks were included on the essential Showpeople album, which also became a top 30 hit in the UK. Standout tracks include "Ecstacy" and an amazing cover of "Are You There (With Another Girl)?" I swear, it will make you ask, "Dionne who?"An EP featuring a kick-ass version of the Motown hit "Ain't That Peculiar" followed in 1984.
In 1985 Mari performed the beautiful title song "Would You Dance with a Stranger?" for the acclaimed film DANCE WITH A STRANGER, starring Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett.
Miranda's version of the song appears alongside Mari's on the soundtrack album.

In 1991, Mari released The Rhythm Romance, a wonderfully arranged mix of new, contemporary songs and lush Jazz standards.

Tracks included "No Moon at All," Lee Hazelwood's "This Town," the Gershwin classic "Someone to Watch Over Me," Rogers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine" and the Lennon/McCartney ballad "And I Love Him".The following year, two compilation discs appeared titled Beat the Beat and Just What I've Always Wanted.
In 2000, Mari returned and sang the theme song to the hit British TV sitcom COUPLING.

"Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" had been recorded in the 1960s by Doris Day and became popular again due to its use in the Baz Luhrman film STRICTLY BALLROOM and a rockin' remake by the band Cake. Mari's flawless version is right up their with Doris' in my opinion.
In 2005 a new album entitled Dolled Up was released with disco-tinged "The Love Thing" being the outstanding track along with the cover of Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light". Another new album, Emotional Glamour was released in October 2008, and featured "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" and 10 great original tunes including "Hits and Misses" and the hysterical and sassy "Forever Young."So, if you are a fan of great female singers from Doris to Julie to Dusty Springfield to Karen Carpenter to Annie Lennox, give Mari a spin - you will not be disappointed. Visit Mari online.


Brian B said...

Mari is also a fantastic live performer. Terrific singer and very witty with it!

Paul said...

I'd love to see a clip of Mari performing.

mary said...

Yes that would be cool here in LA please..

Pax Romano said...

Wow, I have not thought of Mari in years, Just What I've Always Wanted is a terrific piece of pop music.

Kevin O said...

wow. I would have loved to have seen Mari in concert. I tried to make it to a London performance 2 years ago but it didn't work out. Will you post a concert review? please. I'm totally jealous.

(stumbled onto your blog because of Mari, btw)

Ronald van Veen said...

I thought you might be interested in the latest news from Mari Wilson.

Mari Wilson is well known for her hits "Just what I always wanted" and "Baby it's true" in the 80's.
Later on she played Dusty Springfield in "Dusty the Musical" and she released 3 more critically aclaimed albums in the 90's and 00's.
She also sang the theme song for the BBC-series "Coupling", a version of "Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps".
Now she regularly tours in the UK, as a solo artist but also with Barb Jungr and Gwyneth Herbert with their show "Girl Talk".

But what's that latest news???
Well, Mari Wilson is about to release a new album called "Covers".
But she does that in a rather unfamiliar way...
Mari Wilson has joined to release her next album!
This is what she said about on her own website:

"At last, we're ready to launch the campaign for my new upcoming album. This time, an album of covers and the whole approach is completely different from anything I've ever done before. This time it means you and I can be involved together in the whole process. You'll see that there are different things you can pledge for to help us get this album made and there is a widget for a free download of a Dusty Springfield song to give you an idea of what's to come. Also if you click on the Pledge Badge below, it will take you to the site where there is a video blog and all the information you need. I'll be updating constantly. Let me know what
you think. More soon. Thanks, Mari"

No go to for more info.

Also visit for more info about Mari Wilson herself!

Mind you, I live in the Netherlands and I am not a manager or promotor. I'm just a big fan of Mari Wilson and just like to spread the news for her. I also do so via my own website and my personal
facebook page.

Best wishes,

Ronald van Veen
The Netherlands

Dennis McLain said...

I was at the Magic Castle that night as well. I've been friends with Mari for years and often work on her Face Book page. Did you happen to snap any pics at the Magic Castle show? Trying to persuade her to book something in LA again! The Magic Castle no longer features people performing live but that sure was a fantastic show! I'm sure we ran into each other but didn't speak.......

Doug said...

Hi Dennis -

I only took pix after the show when I got to meet Mari. Every time I hear she's in LA I check her Facebook page to see if she's performing. There are so may smaller clubs that would be perfect for her.

Nice to know there are other fans other there. I've loved her for years.