I Can't Get Next To You

Album: Puzzle People (1969)
Charted: 13 1

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by the Motown songwriters Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield, and Whitfield produced the track. The duo also wrote the Temptations hit "Cloud Nine," which was released in 1968. Both songs were released after David Ruffin left the group, but while "Cloud Nine" had a Psychedelic sound and some pretty deep lyrics, "I Can't Get Next To You" is more typical Motown Soul, and finds The Temptations singing about the power of love, and how all their otherworldly powers mean nothing if they can't get the girl.
  • All 5 of The Temptations trade verses on this song, and they all join in on the chorus. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dor - canton, OH
  • In 1970 Al Green recorded a slow version of this song which appeared on the album Al Green Gets Next To You. Other artists to record it include The Four Tops, Jose Feliciano, Annie Lennox, Edwin McCain, The Osmonds, Toto and Savoy Brown.

Comments: 6

  • Jennifur SunSam from sherman oaks I know of one person who could tell you because he probably played on the session, Joe Messina one of the only two original Funk Brothers still alive
  • Sam from Sherman OaksCan somebody please explain to me what the heck was going on in the studio where they recorded this song before they rolled the tape? Cause in many versions of the song, in the intro, there is loud clapping and whooping and hollering before one of the temps quiets everybody else down and then the piano player kicks the song off.. I’m thinking maybe there was a concert going on before they recorded this song and the engineer decided to hit record when whatever song they were doing before they started to record I Can’t Get Next To You was done and he was just recording the group’s reaction to hearing that song then they recorded the rest of the song. Now the question is what was that song or was that ruckus noise just done on purpose and they weren’t playing or singing anything else before they recorded I Can’t Get Next To You? I feel like the only person alive that would know the answer to this question is the lone surviving original member of the Temps (Otis Williams) Cause I’m not sure if anybody from that recording session is still alive today (I think 90% of the people who were for that session are now dead) Hopefully a Motown expert/junkie can answer my question about this. I would definitely appreciate that!.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyExactly fifty years today on October 12th, 1969 the Temptations' "I Can't Get Next To You" peaked at #1 {2 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    The rest of the Top 10 was:
    At #2. "Hot Fun In The Summertime" by Sly and the Family Stone
    #3. "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies
    #4. "Jean" by Oliver
    #5. "Little Woman" by Bobby Sherman
    #6. "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley
    #7. "That's The Way Love Is" by Marvin Gaye
    #8. "Wedding Bell Blues" by The 5th Dimension
    #9. "Easy To Be Hard" by Three Dog Night
    #10. "Tracy" by The Cuff Links
    And on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, "Green River" by Creedence Clearwater Revival was in it's third of four weeks at #1...
    Plus leading the seventeen new arrivals on the Top 100 were the Beatles with "Something", it debut at position #20, with the flip-side, "Come Together", entered at position #23...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 28th 1969, the Temptations performed "I Can't Get Next To You" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    One month earlier on August 10th, 1969 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; and nine weeks later on October 12th, 1969 it peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks} and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on September 28th, 1969 it also reached #1 {for 5 weeks} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    The two weeks it was at #1 on the Top 100 it prevented "Hot Fun in the Summertime" by Sly and the Family Stone from reaching #1; it was at #2 for both those week and never made the top spot...
    Between 1965 and 1975 the Temps had fifteen records peak at #1 on the R&B Singles chart.
  • Betty from Dayton, OhWooooo! good vocals!
  • Lester from New York City, NySavoy Brown does a great studio version of this and even better live versions.
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