Marvin Gaye

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Soulful Moods, 4/10
That Stubborn Kinda Fellow, 5.5/10
When I'm Alone I Cry, 4/10
Hello Broadway, 3/10
How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You, 5.5/10
Moods of Marvin Gaye, 6.5/10
Heard It Through The Grapevine, 5/10
M.P.G., 4/10
That's The Way Love Is, 5.5/10
What's Going On, 7/10
Trouble Man, 6/10
Let's Get It On, 6.5/10
I Want You, 6/10
Hear My Dear, 4.5/10
Midnight Love, 4.5/10

One of the most expressive vocalists of the era, Marvin Gaye, capable of impersonating both the romantic lover and the hostile mod/punk and the political activist, breathed life into H-D-H's Can I Get A Witness (1963) and How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1964), Smokey Robinson's I'll Be Doggone (1965), One More Heartache ((1966) and Ain't That Peculiar (1965), Norman Whitfield's I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1967), and Ashford's and Simpson's Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1967). Gaye the songwriter exploded in 1971, with the socially aware and orchestrally-arranged concept album What's Going On (1971). The less intense and dense Let's Get It On (1973) was more sound-oriented and returned to his erotic persona, a transition towards the abstract melodic fantasies of I Want You (1976), co-written with Leon Ware.
(Translated from my original Italian text by DommeDamian)

Marvin Gaye (born in Washington) began in Don Covay's Rainbows and then in Harvey Fuqua's Moonglows. He arrived in Detroit as a studio drummer.

Marvin Gaye, singer, author, arranger, producer, as reluctant to appear in public as concentrated in his profession, immediately stood out as one of the few Motown artists with an authentic personality.

He began, after the album Soulful Mood (1961), with typical carefree party dance-songs, such as Stubborn Kind of Fellow (1962) and Hitch Hike (1963). Gaye also introduced an Otis Redding oomph that made him a favorite even of mods, especially with the relentless Can I Get A Witness (1963) written by the trio H-D-H.

Then he revealed himself to be a romantic and sensual singer, strong with a mellifluous tenor with a vocal opening of three octaves, under the aegis of the stable producers, who made him the protagonist of slow ballads par excellence, above all the gospel How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1964), written by the HDH trio (with jazz piano and martial wind cadence).

From the point of view of the singing (never more so controlled, flexible, relaxed), and from that of the arrangement (light on a varied rhythm) the masterpieces of this first period are I'll Be Doggone (1965) by Smokey Robinson , Ain't That Peculiar (1965), One More Heartache ((1966) by Smokey Robinson.

With an anguished and paranoid I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1967, by Whitfield), a series of erotic duets with female singers, largely written by Ashford and Simpson, such as Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1967), Your Precious Love (1967), Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing (1968) and Good Lovin 'Ain't Easy to Come by (1969), and after two other sentimental hits ( Too Busy Thinking About My Baby (1969), and That's The Way Love Is (1969)), Gaye gained full compositional independence. He then began to sing from a less romantic and more "urban" angle, with references to current events. What's Going On , Mercy Mercy Me and Inner City Blues were the three gems of 1971. 

The album What's Going On (1971) is one of the musical masterpieces of the time. Gaye composed a suite of songs dedicated to social themes and arranged it with vibraphone, celesta, flutes, trimbe, violins, harp, viola, cellos, keyboards, etc. 

Trouble Man (1972) was the jazzy (and almost entirely instrumental) soundtrack of a film about blacks. The hyper-sensual Let's Get It On (1973) was less densely arranged, but went even further in rarefying harmony and letting sounds speak louder than words. I Want You (1976) was even more daring, because the songs no longer have a center of gravity and just seem to float in a magma of abstract sounds.

Songwriter Leon Ware wrote much of Marvin Gaye's I Want You album (1976).

Then Gaye converted to disco music with Got To Give It Up (1977), a long excursus in falsetto with a tribal rhythm and in a casual atmosphere (voices in the background of the typical disco audience).

The double album Here My Dear (1979) was a concept about his failed marriage. The reggae-tinged erotic song cycle of Midnight Love (1981) contains Sexual Healing .

Gaye was assassinated in 1984 by his father, a preacher.

Marvin Gaye (nato a Washington) esordi` nei Rainbows di Don Covay e poi nei Moonglows di Harvey Fuqua. Arrivo` a Detroit come batterista di studio.

Marvin Gaye, cantante, autore, arrangiatore, produttore, tanto restio ad apparire in pubblico quanto concentrato nel proprio mestiere, si mise subito in luce come uno dei pochi artisti della Motown dotati di un'autentica personalita'.

Esordi`, dopo l'album Soulful Mood (1961), con tipiche dance-songs spensierate da party, come Stubborn Kind of Fellow (1962) e Hitch Hike (1963). Gaye introdusse anche una grinta alla Otis Redding che ne fece un favorito persino dei mod, soprattutto con l'incalzante Can I Get A Witness (1963) scritta dal trio H-D-H.

Poi si rivelo` cantante romantico e sensuale, forte di un tenore mellifluo con un'apertura vocale di tre ottave, sotto l'egida dei produttori di scuderia, che ne fecero il protagonista di ballate lente per eccellenza, su tutte il gospel How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1964), scritta dal trio H-D-H (con piano jazz e cadenza marziale di fiati).

Dal punto di vista del canto (mai piu` cosi` controllato, flessibile, rilassato), e da quello dell'arrangiamento (leggero su un ritmo variegato) i capolavori di questo primo periodo sono I'll Be Doggone (1965) di Smokey Robinson, Ain't That Peculiar (1965), One More Heartache ((1966) di Smokey Robinson.

Con un'angosciosa e paranoica I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1967, di Whitfield), una serie di duetti erotici con cantanti femminili, in gran parte scritti da Ashford e Simpson, come Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1967), Your Precious Love (1967), Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing (1968) e Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come by (1969), e con altri due hit sentimentali (Too Busy Thinking About My Baby, 1969, e That's The Way Love Is, 1969), Gaye si conquisto` la piena indipendenza compositiva. Prese allora a cantare da un'angolatura meno romantica e piu` "urbana", con riferimenti all'attualita` (What's Going On, Mercy Mercy Me e Inner City Blues le tre gemme del 1971. L'album What's Going On (1971) e` uno dei capolavori della musica del tempo. Gaye compose una suite di canzoni dedicata a temi sociali e la arrangio` con vibrafono, celesta, flauti, trimbe, violini, arpa, viola, violoncelli, tastiere, etc. Trouble Man (1972) fu la colonna sonora jazzata (e quasi interamente strumentale) di un film sui neri. L'iper-sensuale Let's Get It On (1973) era meno densamente arrangiato, ma si spingeva anche oltre nel rarefare l'armonia e lasciare che i suoni parlassero piu` delle parole. I Want You (1976) fu ancor piu` ardito, perche' le canzoni non hanno piu` un centro di gravita` e sembrano semplicemente fluttuare in un magma di suoni astratti.

Songwriter Leon Ware wrote much of Marvin Gaye's I Want You album (1976).

Poi Gaye si converti` alla disco-music con Got To Give It Up (1977), un lungo excursus in falsetto a ritmo tribale e in clima casual (vociare in sottofondo del tipico pubblico di discoteca).

The double album Here My Dear (1979) was a concept about his failed marriage. The reggae-tinged erotic song cycle of Midnight Love (1981) contains Sexual Healing.

Gaye was assassinated in 1984 by his father, a preacher.

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