Wendy Rene

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Wendy Rene 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 and two friends, Marion Brittenum and Wilbur Mondie.


Mary Frierson needed a stage name and several options came up including the name Wendy Storm via Stax receptionist-turned PR head Deanie Parker. Otis Redding came up with the name Wendy René. She used that name regularly after she became a solo artist.

She 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.

Her 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 the foreseeable future. A new mother, she backed out at the last minute to stay home with her child. Tragically, the plane crashed in Madison, Wisconsin leaving Redding and six others dead. Wendy and James Cross have five sons and one daughter.



with Volt Records
  • 1964 Wondering/Please......
  • ...

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