Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#19) & R&B (#3); 1967

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The pairing of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell was a match made in heaven, on and off record. Each came from troubled backgrounds and their singing and performing relationship provided emotional healing for both of them.

Solo, Marvin’s vocals on hits such as Can I Get A Witness and Ain’t That Peculiar had a rough gospel tinged sound, while Tammi’s voice was lighter. In January of 1967 she laid down her vocals for Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, a tune from Motown’s newest writers, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

As Marvin’s latest release – a duet with Kim Weston called It Takes Two – gathered steam at radio, Berry Gordy, Jr. decided to have Gaye replace some of Tammi’s vocal lines with his. Marvin adlibbed his way in and around Tammi’s track.

The vocal blend proved magical, giving Marvin some of the biggest hits of his career and making Tammi a star until 1969 when failing health prevented her from recording.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Harvey Fuqua
  • Johnny Bristol

Lyrics Written by:

  • Nickolas Ashford
  • Valerie Simpson