The Mary Jane Girls were protégées of singer Rick James. The group consisted of Joanne “JoJo” McDuffie (lead/background vocals), Candice “Candi” Ghant, Kimberly “Maxi” Wuletich, and Cheryl Bailey (who used stage name Cheri Wells) and the Water Sisters. The Mary Jane Girls project was to be a solo debut for JoJo, who had sung background for Rick James on tours and recordings. Motown offered James a contract for what it believed was the girl group he wanted to produce and not wanting to lose the deal, James lied and told Motown that the Mary Jane Girls were a group and not JoJo’s solo project.
The four group members took on distinctive character looks with matching personalities:
Joanne “JoJo” McDuffie (lead vocalist) – Sexy and streetwise; a female version of James himself.
Kimberly “Maxi” Wuletich – dominatrix.
Candice “Candi” Ghant – Vamp.
Cheri Wells – Valley girl
Cheri left the group shortly before the release of their second album, Only Four You in 1985 and was replaced by Yvette “Corvette” Marine who took on the role of the Valley Girl/Wild and Trendy Girl in the group.
That album’s lead single from Only Four You, “In My House” became the group’s biggest hit, reaching #3 on the R&B chart and then crossing over to the Hot 100 chart, where it spent 12 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #7 on June 8, 1985. In 2009, VH1 ranked “In My House” #52 on its program 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.
The group had some songs that did well on the R&B charts, but nothing else crossed over to mainstream with much success. They officially broke up in 1987. In 1995, McDuffie, Ghant, and Wuletich, under the name “MJG,” appeared on the daytime talk show Jenny Jones as the show’s first musical guests, and appeared to be together again, only to split again in 1997.
So let’s Return to the ’80s, and go in the Mary Jane Girls’ house: