Ain't No Mountain High Enough

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"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
Anhme1967.jpg
Single by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
from the album United
B-side "Give a Little Love"
ReleasedApril 20, 1967
RecordedDecember 1966 February 1967
Studio Hitsville USA, Detroit, Michigan
Genre Pop, soul
Length2:28
Label Tamla (T-54149)
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell singles chronology
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
(1967)
"Your Precious Love"
(1967)

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" is a pop/soul song written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla label, a division of Motown. The composition was first successful as a 1967 hit single recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and became a hit again in 1970 when recorded by former Supremes frontwoman Diana Ross. The song became Ross's first solo number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Contents

History

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell original

The song was written by Ashford and Simpson prior to joining Motown. British soul singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song but the duo declined, hoping it would give them access to the Detroit-based label. As Valerie Simpson later recalled, "We played that song for her (Springfield) but wouldn't give it to her, because we wanted to hold that back. We felt like that could be our entry to Motown. Nick called it the 'golden egg'." [1] Springfield recorded a similar verse melody in "I'm Gonna Leave You" on Dusty .[ citation needed ]

The original 1967 version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was a top twenty hit. According to record producers, Terrell was a little nervous and intimidated during the recording sessions because she did not rehearse the lyrics. Terrell recorded her vocals alone with producers Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol, who added Gaye's vocal at a later date. [2] "Ain't No Mountain" peaked at number nineteen on the Billboard pop charts, and went to number three on the R&B charts. [3] Billboard's original review of the single stated "Chalk up another pulsating fast smash for Gaye with his new partner Tammi Terrell. The electricity of the duo combined with the blockbuster rhythm material grooves all the way." [4]

This original version of "Ain't No Mountain", produced by Fuqua and Bristol, was a care-free, danceable, and romantic love song that became the signature duet between Gaye and Terrell. Its success led to a string of more Ashford/Simpson penned duets (including "You're All I Need to Get By", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "Your Precious Love").

The Gaye/Terrell version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, and is regarded today[ by whom? ] as one of the most important records ever released by Motown.

Personnel

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark) [5] Platinum90,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png
United Kingdom (BPI) [6]
digital sales since 2004
Platinum600,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

The Supremes and Temptations version

Diana Ross & the Supremes recorded a version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", which was more faithful to the Terrell-Gaye original version, as a duet with the Temptations. That song was an album cut from a joint LP released by Motown Records in 1968 on the two superstar groups, titled Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations .

Diana Ross solo version

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
Diana-anmhe.jpg
Single by Diana Ross
from the album Diana Ross
B-side "Can't It Wait Until Tomorrow"
ReleasedJuly 16, 1970
RecordedMarch 13, 14, and 18, 1970
Studio Hitsville USA (Studio A), Detroit, Michigan
Genre Soul
Length
  • 6:18(album version)
  • 3:32(single version)
Label Motown (M 1169)
Songwriter(s) Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Producer(s) Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Diana Ross singles chronology
"Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)"
(1970)
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
(1970)
"Remember Me"
(1970)

In spring 1970, after the Top 20 success of her first solo single, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)", Ashford and Simpson had Ross re-record "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Initially, Ross was apprehensive, but was convinced to make the recording. The remake was a complete reworking of the song, featuring a style similar to gospel with elements of classical music strings and horns, and spoken word passages from Ross. The Andantes, Jimmy Beavers, Jo Armstead, Ashford & Simpson and Brenda Evans and Billie Calvin of the Undisputed Truth were used as backing singers, giving the song a soul and gospel vocal element. Ross' version of the song was released on July 19, 1970 as the second and final single from her solo self-titled 1970 debut album by Motown.

Motown chief Berry Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. It was not until radio stations nationwide were editing their own versions and adding it to their playlists that Ashford and Simpson were able to convince Gordy to release an edited three-minute version as a single. Ross' version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" rose up to number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. [7] Ross received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. This version is in the key of C minor for most of the song, then towards the end, the key changes to F sharp major.

In 2017, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was remixed by Eric Kupper, StoneBridge and Chris Cox, amongst others, on Motown/UMe. [8] The new remix went to number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart. [9]

Personnel

Chart history

Other notable covers

Use in media

See also

Related Research Articles

Tammi Terrell American singer–songwriter, recording artist from Motown Records

Tammi Terrell was an American singer–songwriter, widely known as a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s, notably for a series of duets with singer Marvin Gaye.

Ashford & Simpson

Ashford & Simpson were an American husband-and-wife songwriting-production team and recording duo of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

Your Precious Love 1967 single by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

"Your Precious Love" is a popular song that was a 1967 hit for Motown singers Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The song was written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and produced by Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol. The doo-wop styled recording features background vocals by Fuqua, Gaye, Terrell and Bristol, and instrumentals by The Funk Brothers with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The song peaked at #5 on Billboard Pop Singles chart, #2 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart, and the top 40 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey. The song was later sampled by Gerald Levert on the song, "Your Smile", on his 2002 album, The G Spot.

Youre All I Need to Get By 1968 single by Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye

"You're All I Need to Get By" is a song recorded by the American R&B/soul duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and released on Motown Records' Tamla label in 1968. It was the basis for the 1995 single "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" from Method Man and Mary J. Blige.

Aint Nothing Like the Real Thing

"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" is a 1968 single released by American R&B/soul duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, on the Tamla label in 1968. The B-side of the single is "Little Ole Boy, Little Ole Girl" from the duo's United LP. The first release off the duo's second album: You're All I Need, the song - written and produced by regular Gaye/Terrell collaborators Ashford & Simpson - became a hit within weeks of release eventually peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart, the first of the duo's s two number 1 R&B hits. In the UK "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" reached number 34.

If I Could Build My Whole World Around You 1967 single by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

"If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" is a popular song recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967 and released in November 14, 1967. Written by Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, and Vernon Bullock, the single was Gaye & Terrell's third single together and the second to go Top Ten on both the Pop and R&B charts of Billboard, peaking at number ten and number two, respectively.

<i>United</i> (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell album) 1967 studio album by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

United is a studio album by soul musicians Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, released August 29, 1967 on the Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol produced all of the tracks on the album, with the exception of "You Got What It Takes" and "Oh How I'd Miss You". Fuqua and Bristol produced "Hold Me Oh My Darling" and "Two Can Have a Party" as Tammi Terrell solo tracks in 1965 and 1966, and had Gaye overdub his vocals to them in order to create duet versions of the songs.

<i>Youre All I Need</i> 1968 studio album by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

You're All I Need is the second studio album by soul musicians Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, released in August 1968 on Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. Highlighted by three hit singles written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, You're All I Need was recorded throughout 1966 and 1967 and features two Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By". It peaked at #60 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Album Chart. You're All I Need was the two singers' final collaboration effort, as Terrell would become ill following recording, before succumbing to a brain tumor in 1970.

<i>Diana Ross</i> (1970 album) 1970 studio album by Diana Ross

Diana Ross is the debut studio album by American singer Diana Ross, released on June 19, 1970 by Motown Records. The ultimate test to see if the former Supremes frontwoman could make it as a solo act, the album was overseen by the songwriting-producing team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, who had Ross re-record several of the songs the duo had recorded on other Motown acts. Johnny Bristol, producer of her final single with The Supremes, contributed on the The Velvelettes cover "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You."

<i>Diana & Marvin</i> 1973 studio album by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye

Diana & Marvin is a duets album by American soul musicians Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, released October 26, 1973 on Motown. Recording sessions for the album took place between 1971 and 1973 at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. Gaye and Ross were widely recognized at the time as two of the top pop music performers.

<i>Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations</i> 1968 studio album by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations

Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations is, as the title implies, a collaborative album combining Motown's two best selling groups, Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations. Issued by Motown in late 1968 to coincide with the broadcast of the Supremes/Temptations TCB television special, the album was a success, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200. Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations spent four weeks at number one on the UK Albums Chart.

<i>Love Child</i> (The Supremes album) 1968 studio album by Diana Ross & the Supremes

Love Child is the fifteenth studio album released by Diana Ross & the Supremes for the Motown label in 1968. The LP was the group's first studio LP not to include any songs written or produced by any member of the Holland–Dozier–Holland production team, who had previously overseen most of the Supremes' releases.

<i>I Heard It Through the Grapevine</i> (album) 1968 studio album by Marvin Gaye

I Heard It Through the Grapevine! is the eighth studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, released on August 26, 1968 on the Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. Originally released as In the Groove, it was the first solo studio album Gaye released in two years, in which during that interim, the singer had emerged as a successful duet partner with female R&B singers such as Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell. The album and its title track are considered both as Gaye's commercial breakthrough.

<i>The Magnificent 7</i> (album) 1970 studio album by The Supremes and The Four Tops

The Magnificent 7 is a collaborative album combining Motown's premier vocal groups, The Supremes and The Four Tops. Issued by Motown in 1970, it followed two collaborative albums the group did with The Temptations in the late 1960s. The album featured their hit cover of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep – Mountain High", which reached number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In December 1971, Billboard reported UK album sales of 30,000 copies.

<i>Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrells Greatest Hits</i> 1970 greatest hits album by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's Greatest Hits is a 1970 compilation album released by Motown stars Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell on the Tamla label. It is a collection of the duo's recording material, penned and produced by the songwriting-producing team of Ashford & Simpson except for two tracks. The album was released shortly after the death of Terrell, who died of a brain tumor at the age of 24.

<i>The Complete Duets</i> 2001 compilation album by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

The Complete Duets is a two-disc compilation album of duet recordings by Motown Records artists Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, recorded between 1965 and 1969. The set compiles all of the tracks from the duo's three albums - United,You're All I Need and Easy - as well as several of Tammi Terrell's solo recordings and other previously unissued material.

"Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come By" is a duet released in 1969 on the Tamla label by renowned singers Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

"California Soul" is a funk-soul tune written by Ashford & Simpson, issued originally as the B-side of the Messengers' single "Window Shopping" in 1967 under the Motown group of labels. Nick Ashford then released his own version in June 1968 on Verve 10599. It was then issued as a single by American pop quintet the 5th Dimension in late 1968, and also covered by Motown vocal duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and by Marlena Shaw the following year. It was Gaye's and Terrell's last single together when released in early 1970.

What You Gave Me (song)

"What You Gave Me" is a hit duet written and produced by Ashford & Simpson and issued as a single originally by the vocal duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1969 on the Tamla label.

"You Ain't Livin' till You're Lovin'" is a 1968 single released on the Tamla-Motown label by Motown vocal duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

References

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