Mari Wilson

Mari Macmillan Ramsay Wilson (born 29 September 1954, in Neasden, London, England)[1] is a Scottish/English pop and jazz singer. She is best known for her 1982 UK top-10 hit single "Just What I Always Wanted" and her 1960s image complete with beehive hairstyle.

Mari Wilson
Also known asMiss Beehive, Neasden Queen of Soul
Born (1954-09-29) 29 September 1954 (age 66)
OriginNeasden, London, England
GenresPop, jazz
Years active1980–present
LabelsCompact Records
Beehive Records


Recording on Compact Records with her backing band The Wilsations, Wilson scored six UK hit singles between 1982 and 1984. Her biggest hit "Just What I Always Wanted" peaked at No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart in 1982.[2]

In 1983, she scored a second Top 40 hit with a cover of "Cry Me a River" (UK No. 27) and released her debut album Showpeople (UK No. 24).[2] After this, further commercial success eluded her, though in 1985 she recorded the song "Would You Dance with a Stranger" (theme for the film Dance with a Stranger) and turned her career towards live performances.[3] She subsequently distanced herself from her beehive days,[3] but started touring with her old songs again in 2007.

In 1992, her album The Rhythm Romance, which combined jazz standards with 1960s songs and original material, failed to return her to the charts. She continued performing with jazz bands, and she sang the theme song to the sitcom Coupling ("Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"). Her version of "Cry Me a River" was featured in the 1990s crime drama series McCallum.[citation needed]

In 2005, she returned to recording with the album Dolled Up. This was followed by a compilation of her hits The Platinum Collection to celebrate her 25th anniversary in the music industry. Apart from pursuing her solo career, she toured with Barb Jungr and Claire Martin as the cabaret act 'Girl Talk' (though Claire Martin has now been replaced by Gwyneth Herbert).[4]

Wilson has also performed in musicals such as Dusty - The Musical,[5] and has been featured on a BBC Television series about celebrities and their health (she has Type 1 Diabetes).

Her band was known as The Imaginations for their first two singles[6] before becoming The Wilsations,[7] and her backing vocalists were called The Marionettes. Occasional featured artists were Michelle Collins, Julia Fordham[3] and bassist 'Thumbs' Cunningham.

Wilson's fourth studio album Emotional Glamour was released on her own Beehive label in October 2008[8] (though she has long ago changed her former trademark hairstyle). She has also written and starred in a one-woman musical, The Love Thing.[9]

In 2012, an album of covers called Cover Stories was released, funded by public subscription. She also writes a regular blog about her life and music.[10]

On 30 September 2018, she appeared with Soft Cell, as an unannounced special guest to sing a duet with Marc Almond, as part of their final live concert 'Say Hello and Wave Goodbye, One Last Time' at The O2 Arena in London.

Personal lifeEdit

Wilson is a longtime resident of Crouch End, north London and is married to TV producer Mal Young. Her parents are from Scotland.[11]



  • Showpeople (1983) UK No. 24[2]
  • Rhythm Romance (1991)
  • Just What I Always Wanted (compilation, 1992)
  • Beat the Beat (compilation) (1992)
  • Dolled Up (2005)
  • The Platinum Collection (compilation, 2007)
  • Emotional Glamour (2008)
  • Cover Stories (2012)
  • Pop Deluxe (2016)


  • "Loveman" (1980)
  • "Dance Card" (1981)
  • "Beat the Beat" (1982) UK No. 59
  • "Baby It's True" (1982) UK No. 42
  • "Just What I Always Wanted" (1982) UK No. 8, AUS No. 76[12]
  • "(Beware) Boyfriend" (1982) UK No. 51
  • "Cry Me a River" (1983) UK No. 27
  • "Wonderful" (1983) UK No. 47
  • "Ain't That Peculiar" (1984) UK No. 78
  • "Let's Make This Last" (1984)
  • "Would You Dance with a Stranger" (1985)
  • "The Rhythm" (1991)
  • "My Funny Valentine" (1991)
  • "Storyline" (2005)[2]


  • I'm Coming Home (10"/CD maxi-single) (1992)
    • "I'm Coming Home"/"No Moon at All"/"Out of the Blue"/"Got to Be You"


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 606. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who’s Who of Indie and New Wave Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 311/2. ISBN 0-85112-579-4.
  4. ^ Profile Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 6 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Dusty Springfield: Dusty Devotedly - Dusty The Musical, details of the show starring Mari Wilson". Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Imaginations, The (5) Discography at Discogs". 8 April 2013. Archived from the original on 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ Holden, Stephen (20 September 1983). "Pop Vocalist: Mari Wilson". The New York Times. p. 21. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  8. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  9. ^ [2][permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Mari Wilson: Cover Stories".
  11. ^ Ross King. "Ross King: Soul singer Mari Wilson is a fan of the Broons". Sunday Post. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 340. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.