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Marvin Gaye Author Of Soul Music

I.     Intro
II.     Music
A. Sex
B. Feelings
C. Life
III.     Life
A. Early Life
B. Addictions
C. Death
IV. Conclusion

Harrington 1 Kci & Jojo, R. Kelly, and Blackstreet are all musicians who have modernized the music of Soul; the music invented by Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye used his feelings of himself, surroundings, and life to write his one-of-a-kind music. Soul music, often referred to as “love man music”, was not about drugs or winning a championship it was about sex, romance, and passion, Marvin Gaye was about it all and more. Marvin Gaye, the Prince of Motown, revolutionized his music into one of America’s most controversial musical forms, “love man music”, which would later become Soul Music.

Marvin Gaye’s music became so popular with the public because it was so risque; the music was about sex. Gaye adored the respect and attention he received from his fans. Songs like “Lets get it on” and “Sexual Healing” became so popular because they were so deeply involved in lovemaking. A loyal fan on Gaye, David Ritz, explains the love expressed in Gaye’s music:
[Gaye] loved fully orchestrated, wildly romantic music… By now he had mastered multi-track vocalizing, the art of playing with his voices. The use of moaning women in the background sounded childish, but sexual noise was an integral part of the little boy fantasy which lay at the heart of what seems to me a work of rare beauty. (Bayles 271)
His music was new, something people have experienced, but were ready for it and excited to hear it. “Love music” also appeared so sudden because the people were tired of the Rock and Roll scene that swarmed America. An unknown fan of the love

Harrington 2 music that was coming about, explains why it took the place of Rock at the top of the charts. “The assumption was that every woman in her right mind would prefer the love men’s smooth talking satin-sheets-on-the-waterbed approach to the ear blistering screeching of white boys with road kill hair (Bayles 271).” Love music became very popular with women, because it appealed to them; it let them fantasize about their dream love man. Although women were into-the-music there were the selective few, either ignorant or indifferent, that thought of the religious background of the music as erotic. The music was filled with remarks of love and sex but it was done in a tasteful and very spiritual way. The music made created such a shock because it was a great combination of elements. Even though Gaye did grow up with a strong religious background he could still comfortably write songs about sex. “I [Marvin Gaye] can’t see what’s wrong with sex between two consenting anybodies. I think we make far too much of it (Bayles 271).” Marvin Gaye knew his music was questionable but he continued to write it and used sex as his main component.

Sex in music did excite the audience but they needed something they could also relate to, something like losing their loved one or getting a divorce perhaps. Marvin craved attention from his fans so he had to write his music for his fans. For the religious fans who need a change of music he catered to them. “Raised by the bible and sacred church songs, music strengthened his belief in church (Haa 40).” For the more heart-broken fans, he aimed one of his many albums just to the divorce of his first wife. He chronicled the divorce of his first wife in the album “Here my Dear”. His tunes that he

Harrington 3 wrote also featured his own jazzy keyboard sequences with the addition of solos performed by a saxophonist. He wanted his music to reach out and touch people in their hearts and spirits. He wanted to connect with his fans with his music, he wanted them to feel how he felt and he wanted to know how they felt. “I [Gaye] was listening to a great deal of Gershwin at that time and I really wanted to do something great (Coleman 2).” He was able to reach millions of people but one of his most famous connections made was to a man by the name of Stevie Wonder. “Gaye’s album “What’s going on” inspired Wonder to take charge of his career (Haa 41)”. Stevie Wonder was twenty-one years young the month of the release of “What’s going on”. Gaye knew what it felt like to connect with someone’s music; he was inspired by songwriter Isaac Hayes. Hayes motivation eventually led Gaye to write the hit song “What’s going on”.

Marvin Gaye also concentrated on using life in general in his songs. Weather it was the infamous Vietnam War, pollution, or the miseries of the Ghetto life, Gaye found a way to incorporate events into his music. “What’s going on was a milestone for Motown as well as for Gaye (DISCovering Biography 2)”. It was a hit because this album was able to reach others since the fans could relate to all the events happening in the world. It was first for the world; an album that was wrote with world events, love, and religion. “The first Motown work to deal witch social ills (DISCovering Biography 2)”. “Down Beat contributor Steve Bloom described the recording as “a blistering indictment of America’s misguided priorities combined with God-is-the-answer proselytizing–clearly the work of a preacher’s son (Discovering Biography 2)”.

Harrington 4 Through all of the troubles in his childhood Marvin Gaye was a successful singer and songwriter. Marvin Gaye was born into a very strict household in Washington D.C. Growing up his father Marvin Pentz Gay Sr. was an evangelical minister who ruled his house with an iron fist often leading him to beat his helpless son. Gaye Jr. has always wanted to be a recognizable name in music. “Marvin Jr., first learned music in church, often performing after his father’s sermons, he longed for a secular career (Biography.com 1)”. Gaye Jr. got his first chance at stardom when he was asked to be a drummer for the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman”, Motown’s first number one hit. While on tour with Marvellettes he met Motown music producer Berry Gordy who would later help Marvin get started. Gordy finally able to persuade Gaye to perform solo; wanting to look more professional he added the “e” to his last name. An unknown author of an on-line biography claimed: “Gaye’s best-known works form the 1960s–hits such as “Can I Get a Witness,” “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You,” and most importantly, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”– are considered soul classics today (Biography.com 1)”.

Marvin Gaye also has the strength to overcome a downward slope in his life and music. In the mid 1970’s Gaye’s downward spiral started because of his addiction to cocaine. He divorced his first wife Anna Gordy, married again to Janis Hunter but like the first it did not last either. His life became a living hell. “During this period Gaye also attempted suicide by ingesting an ounce of cocaine in an hour (Biography.com 2)”. Besides the drugs, Gaye also became deeply indebt to the federal government and his ex-
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wives. Executives at Colombia Records tried to get him back on the right track. They even went as far to send him on a trip Europe to try and revive his confidence. They began to sort out his financial problems and got him back into the studio to record an album. “Gaye’s 1982 release “Midnight Love” was hailed as a masterful comeback; the single “Sexual Healing” won him his first two Grammy awards (Biography.com 2)”. A tour concentrating of the release of “Midnight Love” was shortened by stage fright and outbursts of fear. After the tour ended he decided to take it easy and reside to the home he bought for his parents. He continued abusing drugs, which would eventually lead to a fight with his dad that would lave Marvin Gaye Jr., Prince of Motown, dead.

His death would strike millions of his fans. It was an infamous death, one that no one would wish to be reported. “Gaye’s murder at the hands of his own father in 1984 shocked all but his closest friends, who knew of his family quarrels, his cocaine dependency, and his despondency despite a brilliant 1983 comeback (Biography.com 2)”. Ironically Marvin Gaye Jr. was shot by his religious father by a gun Gaye Jr. bought for his parents to protect themselves. His closet friends and relatives revealed some of the details of Gaye Jr.’s last months alive. “-he was portrayed as a distrustful, anxious, and desperately unhappy person who tried repeatedly to free himself from his use of cocaine (Biography.com 2)”. Marvin Gaye Jr., dead at the age of 44, died just two days before his 45th birthday.

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With society revolutionizing Marvin Gaye’s music into soul, he was able to dispute everything from sexual passion to social consciousness. His music became so popular because it contained the masculine sex appeal missing from hard rock and heavy metal. He was able to overcome many obstacles, like having a minister for a father who dressed in woman’s clothes or having to deal with a drug abuse that he could not control. His fans grew to love and support his music because it appealed to them. They needed the love, sex, and passion Gaye’s music delivered to them. Without MG insight to love and romance, Pop music would not be what it is today.
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Works Cited

Bayles, Martha. Hole in our Soul. New York: The Free Press, 1994.
Coleman, Nick. “Lost Soul.” New Statesman 4 Sept. 1998: 127. EBSCO Host.
Centennial High School Lib., Franklin, TN. 14 Feb. 2001 <http://www.epnet.com/ehost/login.html>.
Haa, Erikka. Soul. New York: FriedmanFairfax, 1994.
“Gaye, Marvin (Pentz Jr.).” Biography.com: 4. Online. World Wide Web. 12 Feb. 2001.
Available http//www.biography.com.
“Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).” Discovering Biography. Windows Version. CD-ROM.
Detroit: Gale Research, 1997.

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