If I Could Build My Whole World Around You

"If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" is a popular song recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967 and released in November 14, 1967. Written by Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, and Vernon Bullock, the single was Gaye & Terrell's third single together and the second to go Top Ten on both the Pop and R&B charts of Billboard, peaking at number ten and number two, respectively.[1][2]

"If I Could Build My Whole World Around You"
If I Could Build My Whole World Around You label.jpg
Single by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
from the album United
B-side"If This World Were Mine"
ReleasedNovember 14, 1967
RecordedHitsville USA; March 16 & 21, 1967
GenreSoul, pop
Songwriter(s)Harvey Fuqua
Johnny Bristol
Vernon Bullock
Producer(s)Harvey Fuqua
Johnny Bristol
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell singles chronology
"Your Precious Love"
"If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" / "If This World Were Mine"
"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing"


The duo's vocals go back and forth as they described what could be if either was able to "build a world" around their loved one. It was one of few songs that set the duo apart from other R&B duos of the time. In time, this song among other legendary duets by the two soul icons would become the landmark for R&B duets to this day. The song was also one of the few songs that was written by someone other than Ashford & Simpson, who had written several hit songs for the duo.

Billboard described the single as a "groovy blues item headed right for a choice spot on the top 100" with a "powerful vocal performance by the duet."[3] Cash Box said that "vocal performances with enough power to make the side are highlighted by some wonderful lively arrangements."[4]


Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1967-68) Peak
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[5] 41
US Billboard Hot 100 10
US Best Selling R&B Singles (Billboard) 2


  1. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 7: 1967 [CD liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 225.
  3. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. November 25, 1967. p. 12. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  4. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. November 25, 1967. p. 30. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  5. ^ "officialcharts.com". officialcharts.com. Retrieved January 6, 2022.