Monday, 31 March 2014

Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984)

To mark the 30th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's death on 1 April. Marvin's genuine love for his fellow man was the reason behind his recording of Abraham, Martin And John, which was a British hit. Marvin performed at Motown president Berry Gordy's house during the holiday season in 1960, shortly after he singed with the Tamla label. His first run of hit singles started in 1962 with, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow", "Pride and Joy", then went on to, "Can I Get a Witness" in 1963, plus a minor hit with his first duet partner, Mary Wells. "Once Upon a Time" which was the start of his hit duets, "It Takes Two" was the pair's biggest duetting hit. After scoring the hit single, "It Takes Two" with Kim Weston, Motown producers Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua reasoned that Tammi would be the perfect match for Gaye, they began working with Tammi Terrell on a series of duets, mostly composed by Ashford & Simpson, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Your Precious Love", ''If This World Was Mine'', "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By". On March 16, 1970, Tammi Terrell passed in Gaye's arms. Following this, he went into prolonged seclusion from the music business. Affected by depression, he decided he would not perform in public for a time. In 1968 he reached, #1 in both the US & UK, with his cover version of the Norman Whitfield song "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", which was first recorded by Smokey Robinson, but an American hit for, Gladys Knight & the Pips, prior to Marvin's hit version of the song. "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" & "That's the Way Love Is" were also hit for Marvin in 1969. ''Whats Going On'' was released in 1971, plus it was the first Marvin Gaye album credited as being produced. Marvin Gaye had already proved his worth as a producer, writing and producing songs for Motown vocal group The Originals, Baby, I'm for Real" and "The Bells", became US hits as a result. One night, Gaye called Berry Gordy about doing a protest record while Gordy vacationed at the Bahamas, to which Gordy chastised him, "Marvin, don't be ridiculous. That's taking things too far. Gaye approached Gordy with the "What's Going On" song while in California where Gordy had relocated. Gordy took a profound dislike to the song, calling it "the worst thing I ever heard in my life", Gordy also felt the song was too political to be a hit on radio and too unusual compared with what was considered a part of the popular music sound of that time to be commercially successful. Upon its release, the song became a hit and was Motown's fastest-selling single at the time, reaching #1 on the Soul Chart & #2 in the American Pop chart.It just goes to show that recording artist, sometimes are right with their decisions The album has remained in Soul Music history as possibly one of the best Soul albums ever made. The album included such songs as, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" & "Save the Children"..
The Trouble Man soundtrack followed, i putting a Mizell Brothers project in the can, that included, ''Where Are We Going'' that was later released on a compilation album. Let's Get It On was Marvin's 12th album release, the album once again took him to the top of the US album chart in 1973, the album included, American Billboard hit singles, "Let's Get It On", "Come Get to This", and "You Sure Love to Ball". Initial plans to make the Ross/Gaye duet album began as early as 1970, but with the lull of Tammi Terrell,passing,it did happen at that time.

Recording sessions for the album took place in 1972 and 1973 at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. The album featured covers including, f Wilson Pickett's "Don't Knock My Love", the Stylistics previously recorded, ''Stop Look Listen'', You Are Everything, in which the latter two songs became the UK hit single from the album, where as in America, they were, "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" & "You're a Special Part of Me", but the album has a hit selling in both America & in the UK. In 1974 he released a Live album, with "Distant Lover (Live)" becoming a hit single again. on the strength of the sheer quality of the live performance of the song. Marvin's next live album was recorded in London, the side four, of the double album included the US #1, ''Got To Give It Up'' recently an influence to Robin Thicke on his #1 selling song, ''Blurred Lines''. Gaye's next studio album, I Want You, followed in 1976 with the title track becoming a number-one R&B/Soul smash hit, the title song was written by Leon Ware & T Boy Ross. The song was originally intended to be included in Ware's Musical Massage album, but when Ware, who was also signed to the label as a solo artist, presented it to, Berry Gordy, he persuaded Leon to give it to Marvin, for the album he was working on. Reportedly recorded at Marvin's Room, the singer's new recording studio in Los Angeles, Marvin also reportedly recorded the song while lying on his back of his sofa according to Ware, who said that he couldn't see Gaye at first but then discovered a laid-back Marvin delivering the song in his trademark tenor vocals. The erotic, sexual album proved to be a success not only in the bedrooms, but chart wise also. The album once again, is yet another, Marvin masterpiece, a timeless set of songs, including, "I Wanna Be Where You Are" that was first a hit for, Michael Jackson, also written by, Leon Ware, who co wrote & produced the album. In the later part of 1978, Gaye issued Here, My Dear, the album was a concept album, for his ex wife, Anna Gordy. After months of delays, in March of 1977, the singer's attorney Curtis Shaw wanted to end divorce proceedings and convinced Marvin to give up half of the percentage of album royalties he would earn from his next Motown album to Anna. The Gayes' divorce was finalized in June.. The ''Here My Dear'' album was completed in three months but the singer held it back for over a year, scared of letting it be released.

Larkin Arnold bought Marvin out of his Motown contract, thus ending the singer's 21-year relationship with the company in 1982 . New label, fresh start for the singer who was now living in, Ostend Belgium. Midnight Love was his debut album for, Columbia Records released in the autumn / fall of 1982. It was one of his most successful albums, containing the worldwide hit, ''Sexual Healing''. Marvin was back on top, the album was nominated for a 1983 Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, spawning the two-time Grammy Award-winning smash, "Sexual Healing", NME album of the year, but in the 1984 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for a Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy, losing out to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". The two Grammys Marvin won the previous year, were the only two Gaye won in his lifetime. On this sad day of, April 1, 1984, as Marvin was seated on his bed talking to his mother, Gaye's father fired a shot at Marvin twice. The first shot, which entered the right side of Gaye's chest, was fatal, having perforated his vital organs. Gaye was taken to the emergency room of the California Hospital Medical Center and was pronounced dead on arrival at 1:01 pm. His father was sentenced to probation, later died himself in 1998. We will always ask ourselves why, how could you shoot your own son. Marvin Gaye will always be in our hearts & his music will live forever. R.I.P Marvin, you wonderful one.

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