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You're All I Need to Get By

"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" by Method Man and Mary J. Blige.


Written by real-life couple Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, it became one of the few Motown recordings of the 1960s that was not recorded with the familiar "Motown sound". Instead, "You're All I Need to Get By" had a more soulful and gospel-oriented theme surrounding it, that was influenced by the writers, who also sing background vocals on the recording, sharing vocals in a church choir in New York. The lead voicals were recorded separately by the two singers and combined during the mixing process, reportedly to cut studio time and give time for the wheelchair-bound Terrell to record while going over surgery to repair the malignant brain tumor she would pass away from in 1970.

The original recording by Gaye and Terrell peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number-one on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart for five weeks, becoming one of the longest-running number one R&B hits of 1968 and the most successful duet recording of Marvin Gaye's entire career. Given its global appeal, it also reached #19 on the British singles charts in late 1968, staying there for nineteen weeks.

Other recordings

Diana Ross recorded "You're All I Need to Get By" for her 1970 album, Diana Ross. Ashford and Simpson produced this version as well.

Aretha Franklin recorded this song for her 1971 compilation album, Aretha's Greatest Hits. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot Soul Singles chart.

Dionne Warwick recorded this song in 1969 for the album Soulful and Gloria Gaynor redid it in a disco way for Gloria Gaynor's Park Avenue Sound in 1978.

Michael McDonald recorded this song for his second album of Motown covers, 2004's Motown Two.

Kidda uses a line of this song for his 2008 single "Under The Sun".

Other allusions to the song

This song and its 1995 interpolation of it by Method Man and Mary J. Blige on their single, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By", were referenced in "All I Need" by Jay-Z when he says: "And all...I...need is a chick to hold a jammy like/Meth and Mary, like, Marvin and Tammi"

On the first season of American Idol, winner Kelly Clarkson sang this song during Motown week and Jasmine Trias also sang it on the third season. On the sixth season finale, American Idol Winner Jordin Sparks sang it as a duet with second-season winner Ruben Studdard. Seventh season American Idol runner-up David Archuleta performed this song on Star Search final.


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