In the early days, other Motown acts used to call them the "no-hit" Supremes. They were a formidable combination with talent to spare. Yet chart success eluded Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Diana Ross for almost five years.
Then, one fortunate day, songwriters Lamont Dozier and Brian and Eddie Holland brought them a song. The Supremes hated Where Did Our Love Go. Mary and her colleagues said "it won't be a hit". The song-writers said "trust us". It began a long run of number ones for The Supremes, who became Motown's biggest act and the most successful female group in the world. They were, for a time, bigger than The Beatles.
Mary Wilson has died. She was 76. She sang lead after Diana Ross left the group and stayed with The Supremes to the very end in 1977. Then she had a successful solo career, and wrote one of the best-selling showbiz memoirs ever. Mary was a great talent, a great inspiration, and a really entertaining story-teller.
Listen to my ABC Radio piece on Mary Wilson
It features parts of an interview Mary did with Richard Fidler on ABC Conversations in 2010. Listen to the full interview here.
Richard is a writer, podcaster, radio and TV broadcaster, an editor, and a lover of music. He tells the stories of how great songs are made, and of the people who make them.