Here’s a look at another pop star whose moment in the spotlight maybe wasn’t as long as they’d hoped for, and this is another interesting story. Mari Wilson was the self-styled “Neasden Queen Of Soul”, and there were pieces in music magazines insisting that she would be the next big thing as early as 1980, the year she released her first single. But it would be a couple more years before she had the success that many had expected.
Mari was known for her very distinctive blonde beehive hairstyle, don’t laugh, it took ages to create. It was as if she had travelled through time from about 20 years earlier. She was also fond of her dresses and jewellery. Her first hit in March 1982 was “Beat The Beat”, but in September 1982 “Just What I Always Wanted” was released and became her first and only Top Ten hit, reaching No. 8. Mari had arrived!
Around this time Mari also appeared on a few magazine covers, including Smash Hits (which was definitely an honour in those days), Melody Maker, and maybe a little more surprisingly, Sounds, which as far as I know around this time was more of a punk rock/heavy metal magazine than the others, so she was an unlikely choice. Maybe like many other people they had simply fallen for her charms. So Mari had now attained a decent level of fame which I’m sure is just what she’d always wan-ted.
Mari would often appear on TV with her rather overstaffed backing group The Wilsations, and she also appeared as a panellist on Pop Quiz. In February 1983 her first album “Showpeople” was released which reached No 24. Would she be able to keep this up? Well, not really. Her only other Top 40 hit was a cover of “Cry Me A River”, and her final hit altogether was in June 1983 when “Wonderful” reached only No. 47, and then that was it, meaning her final chart appearance was less than a year after her big success.
She did remain on the scene for a few years after this though, and by 1986 her look and sound had changed somewhat. She had long since chopped the beehive off and looked almost unrecognisable with much shorter dark hair, and her songs had taken more of a jazz sound. Even this was already well past her chart success though, and the only time you’d be seeing her in a music magazine by this point would be in those “where are they now?”-type articles.
Mari did go on to release many more singles and albums throughout the 80s and 90s, and I imagine that lots of people were fond of her songs, even though you’d be likely to hear only the famous one of them on the radio nowadays. Mari is still out there though, and she must be proud to have played a small part in enhancing what is now considered to be a very exciting era of British pop music.