It was 56 years ago today (April 7th, 1964) that the Supremes recorded their first chart topper, “Where Did Our Love Go.” As with many Supremes hits, “Where Did Our Love Go” was penned by the songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Brian Holland, and Lamont Dozier — but the song was not originally slated to be cut by the group. It was intended for the Marvelettes, who were having a lot more chart success at the time than the Supremes — or the “No-hit Supremes,” as they were jokingly referred to in the early days of Motown.
“Where Did Our Love Go” was originally written for Mary Wells, who had just left Motown in a contract dispute, and was partially recorded in a lower vocal register by the Marvelettes. Lead singer Gladys Horton didn't care for “Where Did Our Love Go” and rejected it outright. It was then offered to the Supremes who had no choice but to accept the tune and record it.
Mary Wilson agrees that the Supremes were such a low priority at Motown in the early days that their material was entirely decided by label chief Berry Gordy Jr. and the songwriters. Wilson told recalled how anxious the Supremes were to have a hit: “Y'know, we were still very young and we wanted hit records like Martha & the Vandellas and the Marvelettes because they were the ones having the hits. And I must add that we were the Supremes — we're the first female group there — so by these other girl groups coming in and getting hits, y'know, we were really desperate in terms of wanting one.”