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Any Major Marvin Gaye Songbook

I was 17 and had just got into Motown in a big way. Apart from various Motown compilations, one LP I had was the one of duets by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye. I had decided that What’s Going On was my new all-time favourite song (and it has remained one of my all-time favourites). I had liked Gaye for his two comeback singles in 1982, My Love Is Waiting and Sexual Healing, so I paid extra attention to his Motown songs.

We were just about to leave on a long road-trip in early April 1984 when the radio news announced that Marvin Gaye had been shot dead. Bloody hell! First Lennon, now Gaye.

So to mark the 40th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s murder by his own father on April 1 — the day before his 45th birthday — here’s a Songbook. It comes a bit later than the actual anniversary. Diana Ross Sings Covers for her 80th birthday (a mix that featured Marvin on two duets) and the In Memoriam for March got in the way.

I wonder how Marvin’s legacy is regarded today. No doubt, to some people — content creators for clickbait sites and their consumers — he is the carnal crooner who in an aggressively cheesy video pursues a saucy nurse for some “sexual healing”. To them, the healing the singer seeks is the kind that culminates in sticky stuff. But that’s getting Marvin wrong. He was actually addicted to porn and masturbation (he hints at that in the lyrics); what he sought was actual healing from his addictions, to regain a healthy sexuality. But that awful video hardly helped tell that story. The song is covered here by Rita Coolidge.

Of course, Marvin was the loverman who nine years earlier had pleaded to get it on. By then his marriage to Anna Gordy was effectively over. In 1977 Marvin agreed to settle his divorce from Anna by giving her half of the royalties from his next album. His first instinct was to knock off a substandard piece. Indeed, my own instinct would have been to record an album of covers of songs that deal with bitter break-ups.

In the event, he produced an introspective double album, acerbically titled Here, My Dear, which is not an easy listen but maintained Marvin’s artistic integrity. I don’t know of any covers of songs from that album, though.

Marvin’s songwriting creativity exploded in the 1970s, but he scored a number hits as co-writer during his early Motown years, when he still complemented his singing career with session drumming.

With William “Mickey” Stevenson and a changing roster of third partners, he wrote several of his own early hits, such as Stubborn Kind Of Fellow (covered here by Kate Taylor), Hitch Hike (covered by Jean DuShon), Pride And Joy (covered by the Jackson 5), Wherever I Lay My Hat, his duet with Kim Weston It Takes Two, and If This World Were Mine, his duet with Tammi Terrell, which he wrote on his own (it is covered here in a superlative version by Luther Vandross and Cheryl Lynn).

He also co-wrote Motown classics for others, such as Dancing In The Street for Martha & The Vandellas (covered here by The Mamas & The Papas), The Marvelettes’ Beechwood 4-5789, and a little later Baby I’m For Real for The Originals (the latter with Anna Gordy, covered beautifully by the ill-fated soul singer Sherrick). See ID3 tags for co-authors of the featured songs.

For more covers of Marvin Gaye songs, check out the What’s Going On Recovered mix, posted in 2021 for its 50th anniversary.As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-ongotten covers and the above text in PDF format. PW in comments.

1. Jean DuShon – Hitch Hike (1964)
2. The Mamas & The Papas – Dancing In The Street (1966)
3. Kate Taylor – Stubborn Kind Of Woman (1978)
4. The Jackson 5 feat. Michael Jackson – Pride And Joy (1976)
5. Sherrick – Baby I’m For Real (1987)
6. Fourplay feat. El DeBarge – After The Dance (1991)
7. Cheryl Lynn & Luther Vandross – If This World Were Mine (1982)
8. Nancy Wilson – Come Get To This (1975)
9. Sylvia – You Sure Love To Ball (1976)
10. The Three Degrees – Distant Lover (1975)
11. Ken Boothe – Let’s Get It On (1974)
12. Richie Havens – What’s Going On (1973)
13. Sarah Vaughan – Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) (1971)
14. Aretha Franklin – Wholy Holy (1972)
15. Randy Crawford – Just To Keep You Satisfied (1979)
16. Rita Coolidge – Sexual Healing (1993)
17. Kyle Eastwood with Joni Mitchell – Trouble Man (1998)
18. Michael McDonald – Mercy Mercy Me (2004)
19. David Sanborn feat. Howard Hewitt – Got To Give Up (1994)
BONUS TRACKS
20. Stanley Turrentine – Don’t Mess With Mister T. (1973)
21. Cornell Campbell – Wherever I Lay My Head (1975)

GET IT!

Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
George Harrison
Gordon Lightfoot
Hank Williams
Holland-Dozier-Holland
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Randy Newman
Prince
Rod Temperton
Rolling Stones Vol. 1
Rolling Stones Vol. 2
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

More Songbooks
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More CD-R Mixes

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  1. amdwhah
    April 9th, 2024 at 08:11 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. April 9th, 2024 at 18:47 | #2

    Great mix, nice work as always. I’ve always loved Jack Black’s “Let’s Get It On” from High Fidelity, but it’s probably not the best vocals ever, still fun.

  3. April 9th, 2024 at 20:00 | #3

    great compilaton as always… but my antivirus said that it has a virus detected….

  4. amdwhah
    April 13th, 2024 at 09:16 | #4

    Sometimes there are false alarms; I have had no alerts from others. I’ve reupped the folder (i.e. not zipped) on WeTransfer for you (and anyone else who wants it). You have 7 days (until April 19) to download that:

    https://wetransfer.com/downloads/b82c3b486f00653aa4ad6408adba717020240413070459/4bac72226beec7db0a9041ed222ce48e20240413070703/fd0cb6

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