Marvin Gaye violently left this earth 32 years ago today (4/1/84). If you need to know one thing about me musically it’s that he IS my absolute favorite singer, but wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, particularly the 90s, I was really into Toni Braxton, Whitney, Anita, Mariah, Brian McKnight and the list goes on. As far as old school artists I was listening to Chaka and the Isleys but here and there I would find my parent’s tapes and Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits was one of them. I would listen but after a song or two I would take the tape out and move on. I wasn’t ready and I wouldn’t be ready until my mid-20s. I can’t really pinpoint a specific moment I just know that my mama had died and Marvin’s dope ass anthology cd was always floating around the house and one night I play God Is Love (admittedly I was drunk) and just starting CRYING. Marvin spoke to me in a way that instantly I was hooked and couldn’t let go of his goodness. Its one thing to sing about God, love and trials but it’s another thing when an artist went through it and you can relate. He comforted me but he also let me know we are all human, fall short but can be redeemed through His love.
Ok so when I got a year or two older I discovered the “divorce” album, Here My Dear, and the rest of his flawless run in the 70s. Two songs in particular that stood out to ME as a woman still growing, learning and hitting my damn head in the game of life were Time To Get It Together and You Sure Love to Ball. Time To Get It Together has this sick ass percussion (Marvin was a drummer at Motown before he got his big break) and the message is just simple and resounding, leave the bullshit alone and focus on yourself. The way he calls on God in the beginning just hits you in the soul cause you knew he was for real about what he was saying. The synths and just the layering of the beat gets me every time. You Sure Love To Ball came at a time where I was feeling myself physically and I had cut off pretty much any type of man or intimacy in my life so when I heard him singing about this promiscuous woman that he still wanted and loved, it hit a nerve inside of me cause let’s keep it funky I could see myself within that song. He just sounded sexy but the thing about Marvin was he could be subtlety nasty but still a gentleman and not miss a beat.
Marvin died in 1984, I was only 2 years old but because he was such a classic man inside and outside of his art his music will forever live on and nothing he sung about will ever go out of style because he was spitting nothing but truth, revelations and letting all of his flaws live through the music while trying to find the balance of love in his life. I wish he would’ve grown old because I know he would’ve made some great music well into his old age, he was just that kind of artist. Luckily, the music he left has become timeless and still much-needed in this day and age because women are yearning to be told they are beautiful, fuckable and wanted. These new age dudes aren’t singing about love, romance and sex cleverly like the OG’s did.
RIP to a master of sound.