Marvin Gaye - Can i Get a Witness

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"Can I Get a Witness"
Single by Marvin Gaye
from the album Greatest Hits
B-side "I'm Crazy 'bout My Baby"
Released September 1963
Format 7" single
Recorded July 17, 1963; Hitsville, U.S.A.
(Detroit, Michigan)
Genre R&B, soul, rock 'n' roll
Length 2:53
Label Tamla (U.S.A.)
T 54087
Writers Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producers Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier
Marvin Gaye singles chronology
"Pride & Joy"
"Can I Get a Witness"
"You're a Wonderful One"


  "Can I Get a Witness" is a song composed by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier as a song for American recording vocalist Marvin Gaye, who issued the record on Motown's Tamla imprint in September 1963.



Recorded at Motown's Hitsville, U.S.A. studios on July 17, 1963, the song's lyrical writer Eddie Holland discussed going over the song once with Gaye, who had complained to the producers about singing their songs above his vocal range, something he would later complain about during recording sessions for his rendition of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine".

According to Holland, once Gaye heard Holland perform the song to him, he nodded and stated, "okay I'm ready" to a perplexed Holland, who often had to work over the song a few times with other artists who recorded their songs. According to Holland, Gaye recorded the song in one take, which impressed Holland, his brother and Dozier. Holland would later call Gaye "the most versatile vocalist I ever worked with."

On the song, backed by a boogie woogie-styled piano riff played by Funk Brothers pianist Earl Van Dyke, Gaye performs the song in a gospel harmony with members of The Andettes and Holland-Dozier-Holland backing him up on background vocals. Gaye performs the song mostly in a tenor range but occasionally sings in both the baritone and falsetto ranges.



Released in September 1963 as the follow-up to Gaye's top ten hit, "Pride and Joy", the song peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 on 28 December 1963 and also became one of Gaye's earlier international hit singles, making a buzz at the United Kingdom, primarily among dance clubs in northern England, particularly in London and Leeds, and also charted in France where it peaked at number 29 on its chart. Gaye performed the song live at the The T.A.M.I. Show and lip-synching the song while appearing on the Hollywood A Go-Go in 1964 and also on the BBC show, Ready, Steady, Go! in 1965.




  • Lead vocals by Marvin Gaye
  • Background vocals by The Andettes
  • Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers




Marvin Gaye - Can i Get a Witness / I'm Crazy 'bout My Baby

U.K. Stateside SS 243 (1963)

The vinyl has remained in excellent condition.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record labels are clean and unmarked.

The record comes with an original company paper sleeve.

Browse this category: Soul/R&B & Motown Singles