Valentine's Day post earlier this year.
people know the story of Marvin's life - the childhood teasing that led
him to add the "e" to his surname, the abusive transvestite preacher
father, and his (private and public) performance anxieties. He was a
troubled man indeed, which makes it all the more fascinating that he
should have made such beautiful music.
Drug issues and financial
problems in the mid-to-late 70s led him to retreat from the limelight.
The young Rick James had been a huge Marvin fan, apparently hanging
around recording studios whenever his idol was working. In the early 80,
Rick's star was in the ascendancy, just as Marvin had hit rock bottom
and moved to Ostend to lick his wounds and plan his comeback, Midnight Love. Here's Marvin's response.
Marvin Gaye - Clique Games/Rick James (Original Version of "Midnight Lady")
outtakes are a tricky one - more often than not, what ended up on the
studio floor should've stayed there. However, this is a looser, longer
take with more emphasis on the vocals. And for some reason, nothing says
"here comes summer!" more than a synthesised bass and early 80s drum
machine! Or is it just me?
Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing (Original Vocal)
everything that Marvin had been through (and put himself through), he
still had the most beautiful voice. On this acapella take of "Sexual
Healing", it's spine-tingling to hear him knocking out a
seemingly-effortlessly perfect vocal. (is it a scurrilous bit of rumour-mongering, or did he really knock one off before doing this vocal?)
I love it when he stretches himself on the bridge and when you can
clearly hear him tapping along. However, it's also a bit weird to
clearly hear the final line which was faded out on the released
Backing vocals are by Marvin, Gordon Banks (Marvin's brother-in-law, rhythm guitarist and Midnight Love's de-facto co-producer) and Harvey Fuqua, who had put together Marvin's first vocal group, The Moonglows.
Marvin Gaye - Message to CBS Records Staff
Marvin obviously saw Midnight Love
as his big comeback, embarking on a US tour which would be marred by
drug-induced paranoia and a terrible scene during each performance of
"Distant Lover" where he would strip off to his underwear. When the tour
ended he retreated to his parent's house where (it's widely believed)
he effectively goaded his father into killing him so that he wouldn't
have to commit suicide, something he'd tried on several occasions.
I have time, I'll do a post about "Here, My Dear" - one of my
favourites, and an album that has gone from being his most criminally
ignored release to his most widely misunderstood. Until then, bat-fans,
keep it Domino...
Buy - Midnight Love/The Sexual Healing Sessions
Visit - Marvin Gaye on Wikipedia
Visit - the Marvin Gaye page