Can I Get a Witness

Can I Get a Witness visualized

Can I Get a Witness‘ is an iconic song that stands as a testament to the power and versatility of soul music. Composed by the legendary trio Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland, and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, this track was released as a non-album single by Marvin Gaye in September 1963​​​​.

This piece became a pivotal work for Gaye, showcasing his extraordinary vocal range and his ability to infuse soul music with deep, resonant emotion.

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    1. Marvin’s Version

    2. Marvin Gaye‘s rendition of “Can I Get a Witness” is notable for its dynamic vocal performance and its recording history. Recorded at Motown’s Hitsville U.S.A. studios in July 1963, Gaye impressed the songwriters by nailing the song in one take, despite his initial reservations about singing above his vocal range.

      This recording session highlighted Gaye’s versatility, with his voice seamlessly transitioning between tenor, baritone, and falsetto ranges​​. Following its release, the song achieved significant success, peaking at No. 22 on the Hot 100 in December 1963 and enjoying popularity in the UK and France​​.

      Gaye’s live performances of the song, including appearances on shows like “Hollywood A Go-Go” and “Ready, Steady, Go!” further cemented its place in the annals of soul music.

    3. Other Notable Versions

    4. Can I Get a Witness” also saw a variety of covers by renowned artists, each bringing their unique style to the song. The Rolling Stones included it on their debut album in 1964, alongside an instrumental sequel titled “Now, I’ve Got a Witness“.

      Dusty Springfield, Stevie Wonder, The Checkmates, Ltd., The Buckinghams, and English singer Sam Brown are among the others who have covered the song.

      Notably, The Supremes, who provided background vocals for Gaye’s original, recorded their version in 1966, released much later in 1987. Each of these renditions contributed to the song’s enduring legacy, showcasing its adaptability across different genres and styles​​.

    5. Creating The Song

    6. The song’s inspiration came from a sermon, where a preacher’s repetitive request for a witness sparked the idea for its lyrics. The song delves into themes of unrequited love and seeks validation, resonating with many who have experienced similar emotions.

      However, its release during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States added deeper social commentary, reflecting the struggles and the need for support within the black community. The song’s universal appeal for empathy and solidarity transcends racial and social boundaries, making its message relevant even today​​.

    7. Lyrics

    8. Listen everybody, especially you girls
      Is it right to be left alone
      While the one you love is never home?
      I love too hard, my friends sometimes say
      But I believe, I believe
      That a woman should be loved that way
      But it hurts me so inside
      To see her treat me so unkind
      Somebody, somewhere tell her it’s unfair

      Can I get a witness?
      Can I get a witness?
      Can I get a witness?

      Is it right to be treated so bad
      When you’ve given everything you had?
      Even tossin’ in my sleep
      ‘Cause I haven’t seen my baby all week
      Now, you chicks do agree
      That this ain’t the way love’s supposed to be
      Let me hear, let me hear you say yeah, yeah

      Up early in the morning with her on my mind
      Just to find out all night that I’ve been cryin’
      But I believe a woman’s a man’s best friend
      So I’m gonna stick by her till the very end
      But she causes so much misery I forget how
      Love is supposed to be
      Somebody, somewhere, tell her it ain’t fair

      Can I get a witness?
      I want a witness
      Witness, witness
      Witness, witness

      Everybody knows, especially you girls
      Love can be sad
      But I have a love that’s twice as bad
      Now all you chicks agree
      That this ain’t the way its’s supposed to be
      Let me hear you, let me hear you say yeah, yeah

      I want a witness
      I want a witness
      I want a witness
      I want a witness

      Holland–Dozier–Holland, 1963

    posted by admin    December 17, 2023    December 29, 2023