California Soul

"California Soul" is a funk-soul tune written by Ashford & Simpson, issued originally as the B-side of the Messengers' single "Window Shopping" in 1967 under the Motown group of labels.[1]

"California Soul"
Single by The Messengers
A-side"Window Shopping"
ReleasedSeptember 7, 1967 (1967-09-07)
Songwriter(s)Ashford & Simpson
Producer(s)Jeffrey Bowen

Other recordingsEdit

  • Nick Ashford then released his own version in June 1968 on Verve 10599.[2]
  • The song was then issued as a single by American pop quintet The 5th Dimension in late 1968.
  • The song was also covered by Motown vocal duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It was Gaye's and Terrell's last single together when released in early 1970.
  • A version appears on the 1970 studio album War & Peace by Edwin Starr (Gordy Records).[3] Cash Box said that this version "glimmers with the special touch of a motor city arrangement and the vocal fuel ignited by this splendid team."[4]

Chart performanceEdit

Both The 5th Dimension's version and the Gaye-Terrell version were modest charted hits. The 5th Dimension's performed better, reaching number twenty-five on the pop singles chart.[5] Marvin and Tammi's cover was the B-side of "The Onion Song". The duo's version of "California Soul" reached number fifty pop but never charted on the US R&B chart.[6] The duet was released after Terrell's death from a brain tumor in March 1970.


The 5th Dimension versionEdit

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell versionEdit

Certifications and salesEdit

Marlena Shaw versionEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[8]
Sales since 2004
Gold 400,000 

  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "". Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  2. ^ Record World Magazine July 27, 1968, p. 166.
  3. ^ "". Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  4. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. April 11, 1970. p. 20. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 222.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 225.
  7. ^ The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 9: 1969, Motown/Hip-O Select, 2008, p.109
  8. ^ "British single certifications – Marlena Shaw – California Soul". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 2, 2022.