Marvin Pentz Gaye Jr. (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984)
The whole world knows that I’m a huge Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Prince buff.
But the other beast of a soul artist that I love to death is Marvin Gaye, of course! His music deeply expresses the soul of a man.
The most bewildering thing about Marvin that I’ve come to understand more in my adult years is how he was able express his life experiences so artistically despite all his traumatic upheaval. I mean, his pops was a cross dressing preacher that practically despised his own son. I’ll never forget the day I found out his dad took him out, the day before his birthday! I couldn’t understand it and I was
sad as hell. But life is wild that way. All that pain he endured led to greatness.
Check these two youtube clips.
(Tom Joyner interview) The most honest interview I think I’ve ever seen an artist do while they’re STILL dealing with their issues, not after.
His dad was illmatic!
And a suggested read… Divided Soul: The Life Of Marvin Gaye by David Ritz (who actually co wrote Sexual Healing) This book will change your life and have you paying more attention to Marvin’s lyrics. I guarantee it!
I grew up with his music like so many so I thought it was only right to bless the world with a mix. Included here
here in this first episode are some rare releases, B-sides, alternate versions, exclusive re-edits and remixes courtesy of myself and some legendary dj/producer friends.
More Marvin heat to come shortly…
01 – Flyin’ High (In the Friendly Sky)
02 – Sparrow
03 – Life is for learning
04 – Please stay
05 – Come live with me angel
06 – Stop, Look, Listen (To your heart) ft Diana Ross
07 – Let’s Get it on
08 – You sure love to ball
09 – Instrumental
10 – God is love
11 – After the Dance
12 – Mercy mercy me
13 – Interlude
14 – All I need to get by (ft Tammi Terrell)
15 – Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing (ft Tammi Terrell)
16 – Keep on loving me honey (ft Tammi Terrell)
17 – California soul (ft Tammi Terrell)
18 – Chained
19 – Time to get it together
20 – Where are we headed
21 – Life’s a game of give and take
22 – You can leave, but it’s going to cost you
23 – I want you
Happy Birthday to my dear, Marvin Gaye…
April 2nd of this year would have seen you celebrating your 72nd birthday. Sadly, April 1st is also the 27th anniversary since your passing from a fatal gunshot wound.
Your legacy has created an enduring musical output whose influence still reverberates to this day. One of Motown’s most beloved artists, you bucked the controlling system held firmly in place at the label during your 1970′s period thereby opening up the floodgates for some truly transcendental albums which would be released from the label thereon. In 1972, on May 21st (my birthday!) the seminal “What’s Going On” was released. Berry Gordy initially was reluctant to release the album fearing it was “too serious” for the general buying public (a.k.a. ‘white audience’) to embrace. Yet the album skyrocketed on the Pop charts eventually selling 3 million copies and inspiring whole generations of musicians with its political overtones in a lush R&B musical context. Marvin, somehow you and your collaborators created a masterpiece who’s message is still relevant in our modern, troubled times.
You continued breaking down barriers. Your incomparable vocal styles honed singing gospel and doo-wop in your teenage years were the driving force of your next album “Let’s Get It On”. Black music had always embodied seduction but the sound of moans on a commercial album with lyrics such as “Oh baby, please turn yourself around…oh baby, so I can love you good” was UNHEARD of. Janis, your new lover, muse and future wife, inspired a moment of revolution in music. Whether already in missionary or doggy style, we don’t know but damn Marvin – you were getting DOWN and inspiring generations of others to do the same! Your seduction suites continued with the Leon Ware penned “I Want You” album where you became so bold as to refrain “I want to give you some head”. Such raw sentiments were rarely sung outside the chitlin circuit. But your rawness always contained elegance…right on, now THAT’S talent!
1978’s “Here, My Dear” was inspired by your divorce from Anna Gordy. Selling underwhelmingly upon its release, over the years it has on taken a life of its own becoming known as the “divorce album”. The autobiographical lyrics riding atop the many grooves set a precedent for honest personal testimonial in lyrical expression that to this author has only consistently seen explored within the Hip-Hop music genre.
When you made your move to Sony and released the “Midnight Love” album you were experiencing a resurgent peak in your career. Considering that you were in your 40’s, it showed how powerful honest, masterful singing and sincere intent could transcend stereotypes that only “young artists” could sell units on the pop charts. Which is why having your life taken from us is a tragedy many of us still mourn in the depth of our hearts. You were, because you ARE musical brilliance and vocal genius personified.
You had an extensive catalogue that-predated your 70’s output and which introduced your talents wonderfully to the world. “I heard it Through the Grapevine”, “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” and your classic duets with some of Motown’s finest divas such as Tammi Terrell (‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’, ‘If This World Were Mine’) and Diana Ross (‘You Are Everything’) have stood, and thrived, with the test of time. But it’s your seminal 1970’s work whose influence arguably has the strongest grasp. Your soul, passion, conscious-raising intent, spiritual vibrations and diligence to the craft of recorded music have touched and continue to touch so many. We still feel your influence lingering. One beautiful tribute came coutresy of Teena Marie titled “My Dear Mr. Gaye” which featured on her biggest selling album to date, ‘Starchild’. Without question it was the interpolating of “You’re All I Need To Get By” which secured a massive hit (and Grammy Award) for the collaboration between Method Man & Mary J. Blige. Erick Sermon enjoyed renewed chart success with his poignantly edited interpolation of your acapella for “I’ve Got My Music”. Whole tribute albums have been dedicated solely to you, one even featuring your beautiful daughter Nona Gaye. You still continue to live on through Hip-Hop/R&B music as well. Artists as diverse as DeLaSoul, Jay-Z, Scarface, Ice Cube, Bahamadia, Pharcyde, Tweet & Aaliyah through either sampling or covering your work have added a dimension of lushness to their own musical output.
My dear Marvin Gaye – we love the gifts you offered and miss you greatly. But beyond any sadness we may feel, thank you for the great memories we hold with your voice being at the fore to the soundtrack of our lives.
Michelle Jb (a.k.a. MsMerising) is an addict for fierce funkin’ females who can sang. A relentless digger and researcher of obscure women artists in rare-groove/funk music, you can find several of her contributions at www.funkmysoul.gr