Wendy Rene

Born Mary Frierson, Wendy Rene started out singing with her brother Johnnie, Marion Brittenum and Wilbur Mondie in The Drapels. The Drapels were signed to Stax Records and released two singles on the Volt imprint. At this point Mary wanted to adopt a stage name; Stax artist/employee/songwriter Deannie Parker recommended Wendy Storm but Otis Redding's suggestion of Wendy Rene eventually won out. 

Armed with a new name, Wendy Rene started her solo career with "After Laughter Comes Tears." It became Wendy's biggest hit. Wendy's touring behind the song led to an appearance at the Apollo. Her follow up was the cult favorite "Bar-B-Q." While Wendy continued to cut quality material like "Reap What You Sow," her records failed to score a hit. During this time she and the rest of The Drapels would sing background vocals on sessions for Otis Redding, Carla Thomas and Rufus Thomas. Scheduled to fly with Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays for a gig in Wisconsin, Wendy decided to stay home with her new baby. Unfortunately, the plane carrying Otis and the others crashed.

Married to songwriter and Stax executive, James Cross, Wendy eventually shifted her priorities to raising a family. Years later, her songs would be sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan and Alicia Keys, among others, and featured in films.

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