Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell: All You Need For A Perfect Pairing

Remembering when Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell made beautiful music and topped the R&B chart for August 31, 1968 with ‘You’re All I Need To Get By.’

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Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell 'You’re All I Need To Get By' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell 'You’re All I Need To Get By' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

Marvin Gaye was on fire in 1968. The Motown star had been having hits for six years, and had topped the US R&B charts twice already, both times in 1965. But in the year that he turned 29, there was no stopping him.

Gaye had three Billboard Soul No.1s in the space of six months in 1968, two of them with one of his great duet partners, Tammi Terrell, who would tragically die of a brain tumour at the age of just 24. We’re remembering when Marvin and Tammi made beautiful music and topped the R&B bestsellers with “You’re All I Need To Get By,” the lead single from his second duets album with Tammi Terrell, You’re All I Need.

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Gaye’s brace of 1965 chart-toppers, “I’ll Be Doggone” and “Ain’t That Peculiar,” were prime examples of his ebullient early recording style, but by 1968 he was creating smoother, more sophisticated soul that would pave the way for his defining work of the early 70s.

In June of that year, his inspired teaming with Philadelphia-born singer Terrell, which had produced the previous year’s soul and pop hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” took them to No.1 R&B, and No.8 pop, with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson’s “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.”

Marvin’s top duet

Within just 12 weeks, the exact same formula of performers and writers rang the bell again. On the R&B chart for the week of August 31, 1968, Gaye & Terrell’s new Ashford & Simpson creation “You’re All I Need To Get By” started a five-week run at No.1, also hitting No.7 on the pop chart. Of his many and varied duets throughout his career, this was the most successful. Another ten weeks on, before Christmas 1968, Gaye would be at the chart summit again with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

Listen to the best of Marvin Gaye on Apple Music and Spotify.

The You’re All I Need album was released a month after the single. Ashford & Simpson sing backing vocals on “You’re All I Need To Get By,” which has inspired countless cover recordings. They range from Aretha Franklin’s version to collaborations between Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, and Elton John & Marcella Detroit.

Buy or streamYou’re All I Need To Get By” on You’re All I Need.




  1. murray kelly

    August 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    My ultimate favourite song,love this absolute one off.X

  2. G.Sasse

    September 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Marvin and Tammi
    loving them

  3. music producers for indie films

    September 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you ought to write more
    about this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but
    typically people do not talk about these topics. To the next!
    Kind regards!!

  4. Judy

    February 15, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Want all videos of Jackie Wilson combined on ONE video; or, if needed,more than one videol
    Would buy it for sure.

    Saw him perform in a predominately black supper club in Miami, FL. Best performer I have seen.

  5. Eric Swain

    September 12, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Best duet ever

  6. david wall

    September 25, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    is there a trilogy album with all these legends and brilliants songs on please

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