Marvin Gaye Live!

Marvin Gaye Live! (Photo credit: thejcgerm)

I consider myself an avid music lover although there are some genres that I prefer over others.

For me music is a very heart felt passion. More than any other human activity, music is the one that has sustained me in all facets of my life.

That being said, Soul music has been my life line. And, the ultimate purveyor of Soul to me is the late, great, legendary troubled man himself-Marvin Gaye!!!!

Marvin first worked his way into my consciousness on a Soul Train broadcast. I remember it clearly. He was accompanied by his young daughter Nona Gaye. She introduced him and he sang perhaps his signature hit-“Distant Lover”.

Needless to say, I was hooked. I think at that moment I became a Marvin Gaye fan for life.

Please know dear readers that fan is short for fanatical. Believe me, when it comes to Marvin, that is exactly what I am!!!

Through the years I have become the unofficial expert on all things Marvin. I can probably chronicle his entire discography.

For me the most compelling and fascinating aspects about Marvin transcends his music.

I absolutely love the way he was able to channel his painful life experiences into his music. I have always had a deep empathy for the outsider or underdog. Without a doubt, Marvin was the ultimate underdog.

I think he really came into his own in the early 1970’s after his masterpiece What’s Going On. No matter how many times I listen to a song on this album or the entire suite of songs, I am overtaken by what can only be described as a near religious experience.

“Mercy Mercy Me” brings out the activist in me.

In “What’s Happenin Brother” I can preach on the realities of the returning Black soldier to a world in disarray.

Whenever listen to “Flying High in the Friendly Sky” I experience a symbolic narcotized high.

Marvin’s musical compilations have the power to take the listener through the entire gamut of human emotions. Through his music I have experienced every one of them.

How can you not be seductively hypnotized by “Let’s Get It On”? Especially with this line-“If the spirit moves you let me groove you let your love come down”.

Ooooh, please don’t forget the I want You album. He took the art of seduction, foreplay and copulation to another level.

Marvin’s most unsuccessfully commercial album is my all-time favorite. Here My Dear was originally conceived as a ploy in order for Marvin to pay his then wife Anna Gordy back alimony. He originally planned to purposely record a substandard album. However, the resultant album was a stunning musical autobiography of love lost and found.

As well noted Marvin was a chronic drug abuser for more than half of his life. Conventional wisdom states that drug use is a form of self-medicating in order to deal with emotional pain and scars.

With this in mind, I remember one of his last arrangements on a post Motown era album. It was a cut titled “It’s Madness”.

The lyrics….

World, I’m not the same. I can’t remember my name half the time. I took a walk, I thought I’d get some air but was really not aware of what I said or what I did.

I never see the dark of night or the light of day. I took a walk into the park and never saw the children play. Everything I see is a crazy kind of mystery to me I’m flirting with the mother of insanity Oh, babe, where is my mind?

Since you left me it’s been hard to find. Oh where, where is my mind? It started to rain, and I felt insane
But one thing’s for sure It’s going to rain forever more until you come back to me Please, baby

World, I’m not the same I go somewhere and can’t remember how I came I’m completely turned around, lost in space It’s your face I see constantly
I never know from right or wrong, or anything I’m like a desperate man, see me try to cling to the only other parts you’ve left to me I’m flirting, I’m flirting with insanity

Oh, bring back my mind since you left me, honey I can’t find it Ooh, honey, bring back my mind
Oh, I’m slipping’ away more and more every day. Please release my soul give me back control of my mind. Only you can save me!!!!

On a greatest hits album of Marvin’s work, a critic who was a personal friend reminisced that he was very sadden by Marvin’s passing but then realized that Marvin will live forever through his music. He concluded that listening to Marvin’s music was very cathartic and totally eliminated the need to seek conventional therapy.

On that I am inclined to agree.

Sorry beloved reader for the long post, but waxing poetic about this musical Soul legend is one of my favorite pastimes.

I hope it is a joy for you to read as it has been a joy for me to write!

Marvin Gaye – “What’s Goin On?” (