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California Soul

"California Soul"
Song by The Messengers
Published 1967
Writer Ashford & Simpson
Recorded by The 5th Dimension, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Marlena Shaw
Performed by Jamiroquai

"California Soul" is a pop-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. It was then issued as a single by American pop quintet The 5th Dimension in late 1968, and also covered by Motown vocal duo Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and Marlena Shaw the next year. It was Marvin's and Tammi's last single together when released in early 1970.

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.[1] Marvin and Tammi's cover was the B-side of The Onion Song. The duo's version of "California Soul" reached number fifty-six pop but never charted on the US R&B chart.[2] The duet was released after Terrell's death from a brain tumor in March 1970.

In 1969, Marlena Shaw covered the song on the album The Spice of Life. This version has appeared in commercials for Dockers, KFC and Dodge Ram trucks.[3] A Diplo remix appears on Volume 4 of the Verve Remixed compilation series; this version was used in a late summer 2011 commercial for Target and was featured in the 2011 video game Driver: San Francisco. The original version of Shaw's cover also appears in the 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V, played by the in-game radio station The Lowdown 91.1.[4]

The song also appears on the 1970 LP War and Peace by Edwin Starr. The following year, the experimental vocal band The Undisputed Truth released this song on their debut album The Undisputed Truth, produced and arranged by Norman Whitfield.

The song is also featured in The Italian Job (2003). An exclusive remixed version featuring Ya Boy was used in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011).

The song is sampled by Gang Starr in their song "Check the Technique". Also sampled by Stereo MC's in their song "Sofisticated". Also sampled by United Game Artists in their cover of "Fear is the Mindkiller" by Adam Freeland featured in the game Rez.

The Gerald Wilson Orchestra version of the song is sampled by Pete Rock in the A.D.O.R. song "Let it All Hang Out".

The band Jamiroquai covered the song live during their 2011 European tour.

The Miracles covered this song on their 1969 album Four in Blue.


  • Credits 1
    • The 5th Dimension version 1.1
    • Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell version 1.2
  • References 2


The 5th Dimension version

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell version


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 Ad - YouTube Video
  4. ^

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