Can I Get a Witness“Can I Get a Witness” Singleby Marvin GayeB-side"I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby" Released September 1963 Format LPRecorded Hitsville USA, July 17, 1963 GenreSoulLength 2:53 LabelTamlaWriter(s)Holland-Dozier-HollandProducerBrian Holland, Lamont DozierMarvin Gayesingles chronology "Pride and Joy"
(1963) "Can I Get a Witness"
(1963) "You Are a Wonderful One"
"Can I Get a Witness" was a 1963 hit song by Marvin Gaye on the Tamla (Motown) label. Written and produced by Motown songwriting and producing team Holland-Dozier-Holland, the song was built among gospel settings and heralded Gaye's beginnings in the church even if the message was about "love gone bad". The song featured Gaye on piano, playing a boogie pattern, the Funk Brothers in demand, and members of the Four Tops and the Supremes in the background accompanying Gaye. The song became such a big hit in both US and UK shores that British musicians like Dusty Springfield, The Rolling Stones, and Steampacket (which featured a very young Rod Stewart) recorded cover versions of the song. Gaye's version peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 (though the R&B singles chart had a hiatus around this time, it's been reported that the song hit #3 on the R&B chart) and soon became a memorable catchphrase to any other song released since. Lee Michaels' 1971 version peaked at #39 on the Hot 100. Curiously, Gaye's and Michaels' versions both peaked during Christmas week of their respective years.
- Lead vocals by Marvin Gaye
- Background vocals by The Supremes & The Four Tops
- Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers