When news came of Mary Wilson’s passing on the evening of February 8, 2021, a collective gasp could be heard around the world. Wilson was planning for an active 2021 once it was safe to resume performing, including a tour with B.J. Thomas and the release of previously unheard recordings. In her final message to fans shared on YouTube, the legendary Supreme confirmed that “I finally decided how to work with Universal, and they are going to release new Mary Wilson recordings. Yes! At last! At last.” Mary promised that her 1979 self-titled album for Motown would finally see a reissue as well as the productions by the late, great Gus Dudgeon (Elton John, David Bowie). “It was four wonderful songs that were never released…and I also have some other songs, some surprising new songs…Thank you Universal for chiming in with me and helping this come true. Hopefully some of that will be out on my birthday, March 6th… I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
Today, one day before what would have been her 77th birthday, Universal announced that it has made good on Mary’s promise. The digital premiere of Mary Wilson: Expanded Edition on April 16 will include the original Mary Wilson album; three single versions of the album’s disco anthem “Red Hot;” the four bonus tracks produced by Gus Dudgeon; and an all-new single streaming now with special relevance to the world in which we live, “Why Can’t We All Get Along.” The latter was produced by Richard Davis of Gold Forever Music, a publishing company established by Mary’s old friend and collaborator Eddie Holland. The poignant song was written by Davis and Angelo Bond, co-writer of Freda Payne’s 1971 anthem “Bring the Boys Home.”
1979’s Mary Wilson – her solo debut, released over two years after The Supremes’ final album – is the centerpiece of this digital release. Produced by Hal Davis (The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, Bobby Darin), the Motown LP was geared at the dancefloor and anchored by the smoldering and insistent “Red Hot.” Penned by Frank Busey and John Duarte, that song is celebrated by the inclusion of its original single edit and 12-inch remix by Rusty Garner, as well as by Garner’s shorter promotional remix.
While Mary Wilson charted on the Billboard R&B survey and “Red Hot” made it to both the R&B and Disco charts, the album didn’t launch the Supreme’s solo career as was hoped. The next year, Mary teamed up with Gus Dudgeon to pursue a new sound as the post-disco era was already taking hold. In her second memoir Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together, she wrote, “I was very excited about these four songs. It wasn’t the formula disco of my first album. Two of the songs were big ballads. The other two were rock and roll in the style of Tina Turner’s mid-eighties hits; I was certainly ahead of the time.” Despite the strength of the songs and Dudgeon’s typically immaculate productions, they sat on the shelf. In 2015, “You Dance My Heart Around the Stars” saw a belated release from its co-writer Stephen John Kalinich, the poet-lyricist best-known for his collaborations with Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. It’s reprised here while the other three songs are all making their official debuts.
Mary Wilson retained ownership of her solo recordings, and so it’s hoped that this digital expanded edition will be just the first project this year to celebrate her life and extraordinary legacy. Watch this space for any and all news on upcoming releases. You’ll find the track listing below. Beginning April 16, Mary Wilson: Expanded Edition can be enjoyed on Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube, and wherever else you do your digital listening! In the meantime, “Why Can’t We All Get Along” is streaming now!
Mary Wilson, Mary Wilson: Expanded Edition (Motown LP M7 927 R1, 1979 – reissued 2021)
- Red Hot (6:06)
- I’ve Got What You Need (5:08)
- You Make Me Feel So Good (5:51)
- (I Love A) Warm Summer Night (4:07)
- Pick Up the Pieces * (5:01)
- You’re the Light That Guides My Way (3:18)
- Midnight Dancer (3:08)
The “Red Hot” Singles
- Red Hot 7″ Single Version (3:53) (from Motown single M 1467F, 1979)
- Red Hot 12″ Disco Version – Remixed by Rusty Garner (7:12) (from Motown 12-inch single M 00033D1, 1979)
- Red Hot 12″ B-Side Promo Version – Remixed by Rusty Garner (3:53) (from Motown promotional single PR-58, 1979)
The Gus Dudgeon Sessions – previously unreleased except **
- You Dance My Heart Around the Stars ** (4:34) (from California Feeling 2, MsMusic Productions MUS 107-1, 2015)
- Love Talk (4:05)
- Save Me (3:53)
- Green River (3:36)
The Richard Davis Sessions – previously unreleased
- Why Can’t We All Get Along (Single Version) (4:50)