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Wendy Rene (Mary Frierson Cross), is a soul/R&B singer and songwriter. In her early teens, she was a member of the singing group The Drapels and was signed with Stax Records. The group consisted of Wendy, her brother Johnnie Frierson, friend Marion Brittenum, and friend Wilbur Mondie.



Mary needed a stage name and several options came up including the name ‘Wendy Storm’ via record executive Deannie Parker. Eventually, Mary’s fellow Stax artist Otis Redding came up with the name Wendy René. She used that name regularly after she became a solo artist.

Wendy recorded several songs, some of which have been used in films (Gegen die Wand, The Fighting Temptations, Lucky Number Slevin, The Wackness…) and sampled/redone by current artists such as Wu-Tang Clan and Alicia Keys.

Wendy’s father was of mixed race and married a Memphis musician who was nearly 20 years his junior. The two had three sons and one daughter. As a teenager, Wendy married a military man.

The young couple parted ways. Soon after, Wendy met and married songwriter and Stax employee James Cross.

In December 1967, Wendy was scheduled to fly with Otis Redding and The Bar-Kays for what would have been her final live performance for a while. Being a new mother, Wendy declined at the last minute, wanting to stay home with her child. That plane crashed in Madison, Wisconsin leaving Redding and six others dead.

Wendy and James now have five sons and one daughter. Their daughter, Jami, is a writer. Wendy still resides in Tennessee.

Wendy now has her own publishing company.



with Volt Records

  • 1964 Wondering/Please Don't Leave (with The Drapels)
  • 1964 Young Man/Your Love Is All I Need (with The Drapels)

with Stax Records

  • 1964 After Laughter Comes Tears
  • 1964 Bar-B-Q
  • 1965 Give You What I Got /Reap What You Sow
  • I Wish I Were That Girl



  • After Laughter - Lucky Number Slevin
  • After Laughter - Gegen die Wand (Head-On)
  • Bar-B-Q - Once Upon a Time in the Midlands
  • After Laughter - The Wackness


External links

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