Ain't No Mountain High Enough (4:05)

Cover of The Ultimate Collection

From The Ultimate Collection and 143 other releases

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is a song written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla Motown label. The composition was first successful as a 1967 hit single recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, becoming a hit again in 1970 when recorded by former Supremes frontwoman Diana Ross. The song became Ross’ first solo number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

After the Top 20 success of her first single, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”, Ashford and Simpson had Ross re-record “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Initially, Ross was apprehensive, as she had previously covered the song as a member of the Supremes in a duet with The Temptations. Eventually, however, she was convinced to make the recording. The cover produced a version similar to gospel with elements of classical music strings (provided by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra), spoken word passages from Ross, with the Andantes, Jimmy Beavers, and Ashford and Simpson as backing singers giving the song a soul and gospel vocal element.

Motown chief Berry Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. It was not until radio stations nationwide were editing their own versions and adding it to their playlists that Ashford and Simpson were able to convince Gordy to release an edited three-minute version as a single.

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