The Return of The Marvelettes was marketed as the last album by the group, although in reality their last had been 1969's In Full Bloom. It was originally recorded to launch the solo career of former Marvelette Wanda Young, and was produced by Smokey Robinson.
By the mid to late 1960s, The Marvelettes had lost their status as Motown's top girl group, as much of the company's focus and promotion turned to The Supremes. In 1970, around the time the Marvelettes disbanded, Smokey Robinson had Wanda Young record what was intended as her first solo album with premiere back-up group The Andantes. The material chiefly consisted of older Motown songs that have been overlooked such as "After All" (originally by The Miracles), "I'll Be in Trouble" (originally by The Temptations), and "A Breathtaking Guy" (originally by The Supremes) along with a cover of "Uptown" by The Crystals, and a few Marvelettes songs that had been recorded before the group's dissolution. Young's version of the Supremes song was released as a single, but along with "Marionette" (a song originally recorded by Kim Weston), the other single pulled from the album, it failed to chart. Producers did not believe that Young's name had enough commercial appeal, and so the album ended up being marketed as a Marvelettes album. The news of the solo album, and its later remarketing as the Marvelettes's final album, so outraged Young's groupmates Katherine Anderson and Ann Bogan that they refused to participate in appearing on the album's cover due to what they felt was Motown's disrespect towards them and the group in general. The record's cover instead featured a new picture of Young and two fake Marvelettes (whose faces are purposely unidentifiable) on horseback to emphasize the album's new title.
Upon release Motown very quickly lost interest in album sales and did not promote it; the other Marvelettes (who by now had already went their separate ways) refused to help promote the album, and with Young awaiting the birth of her third child with husband Bobby Rogers, she was unable to promote it. The album barely managed to reach #50 on the Billboard R&B album charts, but missed the Billboard Pop album charts.