All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. DAARAC.org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.
Search DAARAC.org

Friday, November 21, 2008

Legend: Marvin Gaye




b. Marvin Pentz Gay Jnr., 2nd April 1939, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

d. 1st April 1984, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

***************************************************************************************

Marvin Gaye's contribution to Black Music over the past four decades is immeasurable.

Marvin Gaye was named after his father, a minister in the Apostolic Church.

The influence of the church in his early years played a formative role in his musical career, particularly from the 70's onwards, when his songwriting shifted back and forth between mainstream and religious topics.

Marvin abandoned a place in his father's church choir and in 1957, he joined the Marquees, who recorded for Chess under the guidance of Bo Diddley.

The following year the group was taken under the wing of producer and singer Harvey Fuqua, who utilised them to reform his doo-wop outfit the Moonglows.

When Fuqua moved to Detroit in 1960, Gaye went with him.

Fuqua soon joined forces with Berry Gordy at Motown Records, and Gaye became a session drummer and vocalist for the label.

In 1961, he married Gordy's sister, Anna, and was offered a solo recording contract.

Marvin added an 'e' to his surname (the word 'gay' was taking on newer meanings and Gaye was concerned about his reputation considering the flamboyant dress sense of his father) and began his career as a jazz singer, but in 1962 he was persuaded to record R & B, and notched up his first hit single with the confident 'Stubborn Kind Of Fellow', a top 10 R & B hit.

This record set the style for the next three years, as Gaye enjoyed hits with a series of energetic, dance songs that cast him as a smooth soul figure.

He also continued to work behind the scenes at Motown, co-writing Martha And The Vandellas' hit 'Dancing In The Street', and playing drums on several early recordings by Little Stevie Wonder.

In 1965, Gaye moved into a more sophisticated soul music style.

'How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)' epitomised his new direction, and it was followed by two successive R & B number 1 hits, 'I'll Be Doggone' and 'Ain't That Peculiar'.

His status as Motown's best-selling male vocalist left him free to pursue different avenues on his albums, which in 1965 included a tribute to the late Nat 'King' Cole and a collection of Broadway standards.

To capitalise on his image as a ladies' man, Motown teamed Gaye with their leading female vocalist, Mary Wells, for some romantic duets.

When Wells left Motown in 1964, Gaye recorded with Kim Weston until 1967, when she was succeeded by Tammi Terrell.

The Gaye / Terrell partnership represented the peak of the soul duet, as their voices blended sensuously on a string of hits written specifically for the duo by Ashford And Simpson.

Terrell developed a brain tumour in 1968, and collapsed onstage in Gaye's arms.

Records continued to be issued under the duo's name, although Simpson allegedly took Terrell's place on some recordings.

Through the mid-60's, Gaye allowed his duet recordings to take precedence over his solo work, but in 1968 he issued 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' (written by Whitfield / Strong), a song originally released on Motown by Gladys Knight And The Pips, although Gaye's version had actually been recorded first. It became the label's biggest-selling record to date.

Gaye followed up with another number 1 R & B hit, 'Too Busy Thinking 'Bout My Baby', but his career was derailed by the illness and eventual death of Terrell in March 1970.

Devastated by the loss of his close friend and partner, Gaye spent most of 1970 in seclusion.

The following year, he emerged with a set of recordings that Motown at first refused to release, but which eventually formed his most successful solo album.

On 'What's Going On', a number 1 hit in 1971, and its two chart-topping follow-ups, 'Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)' and 'Inner City Blues', Gaye combined his spiritual beliefs with his increasing concern about poverty, discrimination and political corruption in American society.

Gaye evolved a new musical style that influenced a generation of black performers.

Built on a heavily percussive base, Gaye's arrangements mingled varying influences into his soul roots, creating an instrumental backdrop for his sensual, almost pleading vocals.

These three singles were all contained on 'What's Going On', a masterpiece on which every track contributed to the overall message.

Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson say that this is their favourite 'all time' LP.

Gaye composed the soundtrack to the 'blaxploitation' thriller 'Trouble Man'.

His primarily instrumental score highlighted his interest in jazz, while the title song gave him with another hit single.

Gaye's next project saw him shifting his attention from the political to the sexual with 'Let's Get It On'.

Its explicit sexuality marked a major change in Gaye's career, as he began to use cocaine more and more regularly, he became obsessed with his personal life, and rarely let the outside world figure in his work.

Meanwhile, he continued to let Motown market him in a traditional fashion by agreeing to collaborate with Diana Ross on a sensuous album of duets in 1973, although the two singers allegedly did not actually meet during the recording of the project.

The break-up of his marriage to Anna Gordy in 1975 delayed work on his next album.

'I Want You' followed to critical acclaim in 1976.

The album was written by Leon Ware, who had, originally, intended recording the material himself, but was persuaded by Marvin to allow him to record the set.

The title track was another number 1 hit on the soul charts, as was his 1977 disco outing, 'Got To Give It Up'.

Drug problems and tax demands interrupted his career, and in 1978 he fled the US mainland to Hawaii in a vain attempt to salvage his second marriage.

Gaye devoted the next year to the 'Here My Dear' double album, a bitter commentary on his relationship with his first wife.

Its title was ironic.

He had been ordered to give all royalties from the project to Anna as part of their divorce settlement.

With this crisis behind him, Gaye began work on an album to be called 'Lover Man', but he cancelled its release after the lukewarm sales of its initial single, the sharply self-mocking 'Ego-Tripping Out', which he had presented as a duet between the warring sides of his nature.

In 1980, under increasing pressure from the Internal Revenue Service, Gaye moved to Europe where he began work on an ambitious concept album, 'In My Lifetime'.

When it emerged in 1980, Gaye accused Motown of remixing and editing the album without his consent, of removing a vital question-mark from the title, and of changing his original cover artwork.

The relationship between artist and record company had been shattered, and Gaye left Motown for Columbia in 1982.

Persistent reports of his erratic personal conduct and reliance on cocaine fuelled pessimism about his future career, but instead he re-emerged in 1982 with a new single, 'Sexual Healing', which combined his passionate soul vocals with a contemporary slow-dance backing.

The subsequent album, 'Midnight Love', offered no equal surprises, but the success of the single seemed to herald a new era in Gaye's music.

He returned to the USA, where he took up residence at his parents home.

The intensity of his cocaine addiction made it impossible for him to work on another album, and he fell into a prolonged bout of depression.

He repeatedly announced his wish to commit suicide in the early weeks of 1984, and his abrupt shifts of mood brought him into heated conflict with his father, rekindling animosity that had been there since Gaye's childhood.

On 1st April 1984, another violent disagreement provoked Marvin Gay Snr. to shoot his son dead, an awful end to the life of one of soul music's premier performers.

Motown and Columbia collaborated to produce two albums based on Gaye's unfinished recordings.

'Dream Of A Lifetime' mixed spiritual ballads from the early 70's with sexually explicit funk songs from a decade later, while 'Romantically Yours' offered a different reading of Gaye's original intentions in 1979 to record an album of big band ballads.

In 1997, the album of 'big ballads' was issued under the title of 'Vulnerable'.

The album was said to Marvin's favourite record from his long and distinguished resume.












Discography

The Soulful Moods Of Marvin Gaye (Tamla 1961)
That Stubborn Kind Of Fella (Tamla 1963)
Recorded Live: On Stage (Tamla 1964)
When I'm Alone I Cry (Tamla 1964)
with Mary Wells: Together (Motown 1964)
Hello Broadway This Is Marvin (Tamla 1965)
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (Tamla 1965)
A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole (Tamla 1965)
Moods Of Marvin Gaye (Tamla 1966)
with Kim Weston: Take Two (Tamla 1966)
with Tammi Terrell: United (Tamla 1967)
In The Groove (Tamla 1968)
with Terrell: You're All I Need (Tamla 1968)
with Terrell, Weston, Wells: Marvin Gaye Amid His Girls (Tamla 1969)
with Terrell: Easy (Tamla 1969)
MPG (Tamla 1969)
That's The Way Love Is (Tamla 1970)
What's Going On (Tamla 1971)
Trouble Man-Film Soundtrack (Tamla 1972)
Let's Get It On (Tamla 1973)
with Diana Ross: Diana And Marvin (Motown 1973)
Marvin Gaye Live! (Tamla 1974)
I Want You (Tamla 1976)
Marvin Gaye Live At The London Palladium (Tamla 1977)
Here My Dear (Tamla 1978)
In Our Lifetime (Tamla 1981)
Midnight Love (Columbia 1982)
Dream Of A Lifetime (Columbia 1985)
Romantically Yours (Columbia 1985)
The Marvin Gaye Collection: Rare, Live And Unreleased (Motown 1990)
The Last Concert Tour (Giant 1991)
For The Very Last Time (1994)
Vulnerable (Motown 1997)
The Very Best Of Marvin Gaye (Motown 2001)
What's Going On - Deluxe Edition (Motown 2001)
Let's Get It On - Deluxe Edition (Motown 2001)


Resources
http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Marvin%20Gaye.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_Gaye
http://www.marvingayepage.net/

2 comments:

DenaKali said...

i'm so glad to have found your site.

enjoyed reading post!!! Marvin is my favorite artist I must say so stumbling across this was a sure sweet delight.

and I'm really loving this blog.

thanks

peace,

dena

Mr. Wone said...

Deluxe Editions of Here My Dear and In Our Lifetime should be added too.

Visit Blaxploitation Jive for biographies on Legendary Artist and discography information.