RELATED MUSIC LISTS
 REAL Sputnik Constution
 Epics Pt. 2
 Record Labels: A Brief History
 100 Greatest Song Lyrics
 Worst Superheroes..
 The Human Voice, Divine
 Another Top 100
 Top 250 Albums (Part One)
 Best of 1973
 Revive the Funk
 Pluto's Awesome 100 Songs
 Good ass albums that black folk mad
 Winter Break Films
 Gimme Dadrock: 200 Greatest Albums
 REAL Sputnik Constution
 Peace and Love, America
 "Classics" That Aren't.
 Voter's Diligence
 Political
 Best of 1971
» More Lists (160)

» Edit Band Information
» Edit Albums

» Add a Review
» Add an Album
» Add News

Marvin Gaye

One of the most gifted, visionary, and enduring talents ever launched into orbit by the Motown hit machine, Marvin Gaye blazed the trail forthe continued evolution of popular black music. Moving from lean, powerful R&B to stylish, sophisticated soul to finally arrive at an intenselypolitical and personal form of artistic self-expression, his work not only redefined soul music as a creative force but also expanded itsimpact as an agent for social change.

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (in the style of his hero Sam Cooke, he added the "e" to his surname as an adult) was born April 2, 19 ...read more

One of the most gifted, visionary, and enduring talents ever launched into orbit by the Motown hit machine, Marvin Gaye blazed the trail forthe continued evolution of popular black music. Moving from lean, powerful R&B to stylish, sophisticated soul to finally arrive at an intenselypolitical and personal form of artistic self-expression, his work not only redefined soul music as a creative force but also expanded itsimpact as an agent for social change.

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (in the style of his hero Sam Cooke, he added the "e" to his surname as an adult) was born April 2, 1939, inWashington, D.C. The second of three children born to the Reverend Marvin Gay, Sr., an ordained minister in the House of God -- aconservative Christian sect that fuses elements of orthodox Judaism and Pentecostalism, imposes strict codes of conduct, and observes noholidays -- he began singing in church at the age of three, quickly becoming a soloist in the choir. Gaye later took up piano and drums, andmusic became his escape from the nightmarish realities of his home life -- throughout his childhood, his father beat him on an almost dailybasis.

After graduating from high school, Gaye enlisted in the U.S. Air Force; upon his discharge, he returned to Washington and began singing in anumber of street-corner doo wop groups, eventually joining the Rainbows, a top local attraction. With the help of mentor Bo Diddley, theRainbows cut "Wyatt Earp," a single for the OKeh label that brought them to the attention of singer Harvey Fuqua, who in 1958 recruited thegroup to become the latest edition of his backing ensemble, the Moonglows. After relocating to Chicago, the Moonglows recorded a series ofsingles for Chess, including 1959's "Mama Loocie." While touring the Midwest, the group performed in Detroit, where Gaye's graceful tenorand three-octave vocal range won the interest of fledgling impresario Berry Gordy, Jr., who signed him to the Motown label in 1961.

While first working at Motown as a session drummer and playing on early hits by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, he met Gordy's sisterAnna, and married her in late 1961. Upon mounting a solo career, Gaye struggled to find his voice, and early singles failed. Finally, hisfourth effort, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow," became a minor hit in 1962, and his next two singles -- the 1963 dance efforts "Hitch Hike" and"Can I Get a Witness" -- both reached the Top 30. With 1963's "Pride and Joy," Gaye scored his first Top Ten smash, but often found hisrole as a hitmaker stifling -- his desire to become a crooner of lush romantic ballads ran in direct opposition to Motown's all-importantemphasis on chart success, and the ongoing battle between his artistic ambitions and the label's demands for commercial productcontinued throughout Gaye's long tenure with the company.

With 1964's Together, a collection of duets with Mary Wells, Gaye scored his first charting album; the duo also notched a number of hitsingles together, including "Once Upon a Time" and "What's the Matter With You, Baby?" As a solo performer, Gaye continued to enjoygreat success, scoring three superb Top Ten hits -- "Ain't That Peculiar," "I'll Be Doggone," and "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" --in 1965. In total, he scored some 39 Top 40 singles for Motown, many of which he also wrote and arranged. With Kim Weston, the second ofhis crucial vocal partners, he also established himself as one of the era's dominant duet singers with the stunning "It Takes Two..

However, Gaye's greatest duets were with Tammi Terrell, with whom he scored a series of massive hits penned by the team of NickolasAshford and Valerie Simpson, including 1967's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Your Precious Love," followed by 1968's "Ain'tNothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By." The team's success was tragically cut short in 1967 when, during a concertappearance in Virginia, Terrell collapsed into Gaye's arms on-stage, the first evidence of a brain tumor that abruptly ended her performingcareer and finally killed her on March 16, 1970. Her illness and eventual loss left Gaye deeply shaken, marring the chart-topping 1968success of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," his biggest hit and arguably the pinnacle of the Motown sound.

At the same time, Gaye was forced to cope with a number of other personal problems, not the least of which was his crumbling marriage. Healso found the material he recorded for Motown to be increasingly irrelevant in the face of the tremendous social changes sweeping thenation, and after scoring a pair of 1969 Top Ten hits with "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" and "That's the Way Love Is," he spent themajority of 1970 in seclusion, resurfacing early the next year with the self-produced What's Going On, a landmark effort heralding adramatic shift in both content and style that forever altered the face of black music. A highly percussive album that incorporated jazz andclassical elements to forge a remarkably sophisticated and fluid soul sound, What's Going On was a conceptual masterpiece that broughtGaye's deeply held spiritual beliefs to the fore to explore issues ranging from poverty and discrimination to the environment, drug abuse,and political corruption; chief among the record's concerns was the conflict in Vietnam, as Gaye structured the songs around the point ofview of his brother Frankie, himself a soldier recently returned from combat.

The ambitions and complexity of What's Going On baffled Berry Gordy, who initially refused to release the LP; he finally relented, althoughhe maintained that he never understood the record's full scope. Gaye was vindicated when the majestic title track reached the number twospot in 1971, and both of the follow-ups, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," also reachedthe Top Ten. The album's success guaranteed Gaye continued artistic control over his work and helped loosen the reins for other Motownartists, most notably Stevie Wonder, to also take command of their own destinies. Consequently, in 1972, Gaye changed directions again,agreeing to score the blaxploitation thriller Trouble Man; the resulting soundtrack was a primarily instrumental effort showcasing hisincreasing interest in jazz, although a vocal turn on the moody, minimalist title track scored another Top Ten smash.

The long-simmering eroticism implicit in much of Gaye's work reached its boiling point with 1973's Let's Get It On, one of the mostsexually charged albums ever recorded; a work of intense lust and longing, it became the most commercially successful effort of his career,and the title cut became his second number one hit. Let's Get It On also marked another significant shift in Gaye's lyrical outlook, movinghim from the political arena to a deeply personal, even insular stance that continued to define his subsequent work. After teaming with DianaRoss for the 1973 duet collection Marvin and Diana, he returned to work on his next solo effort, I Want You; however, the record'scompletion was delayed by his 1975 divorce from Anna Gordy. The dissolution of his marriage threw Gaye into a tailspin, and he spent muchof the mid-'70s in divorce court. To combat Gaye's absence from the studio, Motown released the 1977 stopgap Live at the LondonPalladium, which spawned the single "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1," his final number one hit.

As a result of a 1976 court settlement, Gaye was ordered to make good on missed alimony payments by recording a new album, with theintention that all royalties earned from its sales would then be awarded to his ex-wife. The 1978 record, a two-LP set sardonically titledHere, My Dear, bitterly explored the couple's relationship in such intimate detail that Anna Gordy briefly considered suing Gaye for invasionof privacy. In the interim, he had remarried and begun work on another album, Lover Man, but scrapped the project when the "Ego TrippingOut" lead single -- a telling personal commentary presented as a duet between the spiritual and sexual halves of his identity, whichbiographer David Ritz later dubbed the singer's "divided soul" -- failed to chart. As his drug problems increased and his marriage to new wifeJanis also began to fail, he relocated to Hawaii in an attempt to sort out his personal affairs.

In 1981, longstanding tax difficulties and renewed pressures from the IRS forced Gaye to flee to Europe, where he began work on theambitious In Our Lifetime, a deeply philosophical record that ultimately severed his longstanding relationship with Motown after he claimedthe label had remixed and edited the album without his consent. Additionally, Gaye stated that the finished artwork parodied his originalintent, and that even the title had been changed to drop an all-important question mark. Upon signing with Columbia in 1982, he battledstories of erratic behavior and a consuming addiction to cocaine to emerge triumphant with Midnight Love, an assured comeback highlightedby the luminous Top Three hit "Sexual Healing." The record made Gaye a star yet again, and in 1983 he made peace with Berry Gordy byappearing on a television special celebrating Motown's silver anniversary. That same year, he also sang a soulful and idiosyncratic renditionof "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the NBA All-Star Game; it instantly became one of the most controversial and legendary interpretationsof the anthem ever performed. And it was to be his final public appearance.

Gaye's career resurgence brought with it an increased reliance on cocaine; finally, his personal demons forced him back to the U.S., wherehe moved in with his parents in an attempt to regain control of his life. Tragically, the return home only exacerbated his spiral intodepression; he and his father quarrelled bitterly, and Gaye threatened suicide on a number of occasions. Finally, on the afternoon of April 1,1984 -- one day before his 45th birthday -- Gaye was shot and killed by Marvin Sr. in the aftermath of a heated argument. In the wake of hisdeath, Motown and Columbia teamed up to issue two 1985 collections of outtakes, Dream of a Lifetime -- a compilation of erotic funkworkouts teamed with spiritual ballads -- and the big band. inspired Romantically Yours. (Vulnerable, a collection of ballads that took over12 years to complete, finally saw release in 1996.) With Gaye's death also came a critical re-evaluation of his work, which deemed What'sGoing On to be one of the landmark albums in pop history, and his 1987 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame permanently enshrinedhim among the pantheon of musical greats. « hide

Similar Bands: The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson And The Miracles

LPs
Dream of a Lifetime
1985

2.5
5 Votes
Midnight Love
1982

4
39 Votes
In Our Lifetime
1981

3.4
13 Votes
Here, My Dear
1978

4.1
58 Votes
I Want You
1976

3.9
65 Votes
Let's Get It On
1973

4.1
172 Votes
Trouble Man
1972

3.9
34 Votes
What's Going On
1971

4.3
550 Votes
That's the Way Love Is
1970

3.4
7 Votes
M.P.G.
1969

3.4
4 Votes
In the Groove
1968

4.3
30 Votes
Moods of Marvin Gaye
1966

3.6
8 Votes
A Tribute to the Great Nat King Cole
1965

3.8
3 Votes
How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You
1965

3.3
3 Votes
Hello Broadway
1964

2.8
3 Votes
When I'm Alone I Cry
1964

3.3
2 Votes
That Stubborn Kinda Fellow
1963

3.1
7 Votes
The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye
1961

2.9
7 Votes
Live Albums
Live at the Indiana Speedway Stadium
2006

Live At The London Palladium
1977

4.3
4 Votes
Marvin Gaye Live!
1974

3.3
2 Votes
Compilations
The Essential Marvin Gaye
2005

4.6
4 Votes
The Marvin Gaye Collection
1990

4.5
1 Votes
Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye
1986

Romantically Yours
1985

Marvin Gaye's Greatest Hits
1976

3.9
4 Votes
Anthology
1974

3.5
1 Votes
Super Hits
1970

4.2
3 Votes
Marvin Gaye and His Girls
1969

4.2
3 Votes
Greatest Hits Vol. 2
1967

Greatest Hits
1964

Contributors: discovolante, KILL, rockandmetaljunkie, Josh-D, JustJoe, Deviant., PuddlesPuddles, CreamCrazy, Med57, KILL, rockandmetaljunkie, iGuter, Days of Future Passed, JustJoe, Deviant.,

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy