marvin gaye and tammi terrell united


The first of 3 albums recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell was released on 29 August 1967.

The 28-year-old Gaye had recorded albums with Mary Wells and Kim Weston before being paired with the 22-year-old Terrell for “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which was released as a single in April 1967 and became a Top 20 hit (peaking at #19). United would go on to have 2 Top Ten hits (”If I Could Build My World Around You” and “Your Precious Love” and another Top 20 hit (“If This World Were Mine”).

Gaye and Terrell toured in support of the album, and on 14 October 1967, Terrell collapsed on stage and was later diagnosed with brain cancer. Over the course of the next 2 years, Terrell underwent 8 surgeries, recording when she was strong enough, but stopped touring in early 1969. She died in March 1970 at the age of 24.


On this day in music history: June 8, 1968 - “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #8 on May 25, 1968. Written and produced by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, it is the third R&B chart topper for Marvin Gaye and the first for Tammi Terrell. The song is the first chart topping single produced by the husband and wife songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson. Hired by Motown as staff songwriters the previous year, they have to lobby for the right to produce their own compositions, as Johnny Bristol had produced the first Gaye and Terrell album “United”. The basic track is recorded at Motown Studio A in Detroit on July 22, 1967, featuring The Funk Brothers, with further sessions for the vocals and strings taking place on August 8, September 29, and October 5 & 6, 1967. Both Ashford & Simpson and Bristol produce versions of “Ain’t Nothing But The Real Thing”, but Nick and Valerie’s version is the one that is unanimously chosen in Motown’s Quality Control meeting when it is up for release consideration. Issued as the first single from the their second album “You’re All I Need” on March 28, 1968, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” is the first of two chart topping singles taken from the set, selling over a million copies in the US.