Marvin Gaye / Tammi Terrell

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing

Song Review by

There's no doubt about it -- Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell had something really special. Though Gaye had recorded duets with Kim Weston and Mary Wells, it was his vocal pairings with Terrell that were the biggest hits. The New York-based songwriting team of Ashford and Simpson began writing for Motown after writing "Let's Get Stoned," a number one R&B/Top 40 pop hit for Ray Charles. Their first hit with Gaye and Terrell was the 1967 Top Five R&B/Top 20 pop smash "Ain't No Mountain High Enough,"produced by Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol. When the songwriters expressed an interest in producing the singers, the Detroit-based label flew them in for a week to work in their music room where Nick Ashford would come up with lyric ideas while Valerie Simpson sat at the piano. One resulting song from the sessions was "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing." The track has a gentle, breezy quality with a tender, subdued musical motif that has flutes that bring to mind the happy chirping of birds. It's also notable for its semi lack of a musical introduction -- the record just seems to glide in. Terrell's vocals sweetly dominate while Gaye relishes her direct affections. "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" went to number one R&B and number eight pop in the summer of 1968.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1969
Various Artists
Motown 2:12
No Image 1970
Various Artists
2:13
Greatest Hits [Motown] 1971 Motown 2:13
Anthology [1974] 1974 Motown 2:17
No Image 1974 Motown
Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye 1983 Motown 2:16
The Big Chill [Original Soundtrack] 1983
Original Soundtrack
Motown 0:00
Marvin Gaye & His Women 1985 Motown 2:14
The Marvin Gaye Collection 1990 Motown 0:00
Hitsville USA - The Motown Singles Collection 1959-1971 1992
Various Artists
Motown 2:18
Motown Legends, Vol.3 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 2:19
Motown Legends: Duets 1995
Various Artists
PSM 2:15
The Master 1961-1984 1995 Motown 2:16
Anthology: The Best of Marvin Gaye 1995 Motown 2:16
Forever Yours 1997 DTS Entertainment / Digital Sound 2:16
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Motown 2:16
Motown 40 Forever 1998
Various Artists
Motown 2:15
Whole Lotta Soul 1968-1969 1999
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:15
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 1 - 6 1999
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Motown 2:16
Universal Masters Collection 2000 Universal 2:15
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell 2000 Motown / Uptown / Universal 2:15
United/You're All I Need 2001 Universal International 2:18
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 3: 1966-1969 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:15
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye [Motown 2001] 2001 UTV / Motown 2:15
All Music Guide: Motown Memories 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 2:18
The Complete Duets 2001 Motown / Universal Distribution 3:33
You Are Everything 2001 Rotation 2:14
Love Songs: Greatest Duets 2003 Motown 2:15
The Marvin Gaye Collection [2003] 2003 Motown 3:05
Body + Soul: Duets 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:16
Motown Number 1's 2004
Various Artists
Motown / UTV 2:15
Gold: Greatest Hits [Universal Canada] 2004 Universal Distribution / Universal International 2:15
Icons 2004 Motown 2:13
Gold 2005 Motown 2:15
Motown Remixed 2005
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
Peabo Bryson Presents Classic Soul Ballads 2005
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 0:00
Love Collection 2006 Universal International 2:13
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Motown 2:15
Number 1's 2007 Motown 2:14
More Motown Classics Gold 2007
Various Artists
Motown 2:14
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 8: 1968 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O Select / Motown 2:17
True '60s 2007
Various Artists
Digital Entertainment 2:13
Valentine's #1s & Other Favorite Love Songs 2008
Various Artists
Chron Reissues 2:14
Playlist Plus 2008 Motown 2:14
Playlist Plus: Motown 50th Anniversary 2008
Various Artists
Motown 2:18
Favorites 2008 Universal Distribution 2:13
Motown: The Complete #1s 2008
Various Artists
Motown 2:13
Motown 50 [International Version 2] 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Universal Distribution 2:13
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:14
The Complete Collection 2008 Motown / Universal 2:16
Memories of Motown 2009
Various Artists
Motown / Universal Music 2:16
Now That's What I Call Motown! 2009
Various Artists
Motown 2:13
Motown 50 Fanthology 2009
Various Artists
Motown 2:13
Motortown Review 2009
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:18
Sweet Soul Music: 1968 2009
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:14
Total Motown 2010
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:16
Love Songs 2011 Motown 2:15
Smooth Soul [Time Life] 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:16
Best of Marvin Gaye 2013 Motown 2:16
Motown the Musical: 100 Originals 2013
Various Artists
Cobalt Helladisc / Universal Music 2:16
100 Essential 60's
Various Artists
Universal 2:15
100 Essential Hits: 60s
Various Artists
Brunswick / Universal Music 2:16
202 Motown Songs: The Complete #1's
Various Artists
Island / Def Jam / Universal Music 2:14
No Image
Various Artists
Motown 2:12
No Image
Various Artists
Motown 2:12
Icon: Motown Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Motown 2:15
No Image
Various Artists
Motown 2:16
Motown 50 [Universal Mexico 1]
Various Artists
Universal 2:14
Motown Remixed Extras [No.2]
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 5:47
No Image
Various Artists
Motown
No Image
Various Artists
The Best of Marvin Gaye: Green Series Strategic Marketing 2:16
No Image
Various Artists
Motown
Total 60s
Various Artists
Universal 2:12