Monday, April 2, 2012

Song of the Day: Marvin Gaye "Come Live With Me Angel"

In honor of  the late singer/songwriter/composer Marvin Gaye's birthday, I'm posting one of my favorite songs by him from his classic 1976 album I Want You. Gaye was born on April 2, 1939 and died on April 1, 1984--one day before his 45th birthday after a heated argument with his father, who shot him dead...

Marvin Gaye's career started at Motown Records during the 1950s when Detroit was the Soul & R&B mecca of the world. Under the guidance of Barry Gordy, Gaye had much success with hits like "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" along with numerous duets with label mates Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells, and Diana Ross. Nicknamed the "Prince of Soul", he also had other successful hits such as "I Want You", "Sexual Healing", and "Distant Lover" which helped usher in the "quiet storm" era. A conscious singer, he released songs such as "Mercy Mercy Me" and "Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)" that talked about war and the struggle for blacks in America.

Although his time here on earth was cut short, the plethora of beautiful music that he recorded lives on. He has been named as of the Greatest Artists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, and has received several awards for his work. There have been several Marvin Gaye posthumous album releases and his influence can be seen and heard from many younger artists today, although none of them could ever hold a candle to him. Marvin Gaye was one of the few artists who was able to successfully transition from Doo-Wop to Funk, to Disco to Contemporary R&B. You can also hear his influence in Rap/Hip Hop. Mary J. Blige and Method Man won a Grammy for their remake of Tammi Terrell & Gaye's hit "You're All I Need To Get By" in 1996. His music has been sampled by artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Jay-Z, Joe Budden and more. For those of you that were wondering who Drake was referring to in "Marvin's Room" or Big Sean in "Marvin & Chardonnay", now you know.

There have been rumors for years that there are Marvin Gaye biopics in the works, but I haven't seen any concrete evidence yet. In the meantime, I satisfy myself by listening to all his albums and reminisce on the days when R&B music was about love and substance. Thank you Marvin Gaye for sharing your gift.

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