We’re coming up to the 80th anniversary of the birth of legendary singer Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939) AND the 35th anniversary of his death at the hands of his own father (April 1, 1984).
In the 1960s, he was one of the most significant artists on the Motown label. Early on, he was a session drummer. He became a successful songwriter.
As a solo artist, he had future stars such as the Vandellas and the Supremes singing backup for him. He had hits with a number of female duet partners. He was a producers for the Originals and others.
I made a list of favorite songs five years ago, but the links no longer work; numbers refer to chart action on the Billboard charts (US). Three Ain’t songs in my Marvin Gaye Top Ten.
21.The Star-Spangled Banner– version performed at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game
19.Let’s Get It On (1 for six weeks RB, 1 pop, 1973)
18.Got to Give It Up (1 for five weeks RB, 1 pop, 1977)
17.I’ll Be Doggone (1 RB, 8 pop, 1965)
16.Pride And Joy (2 for three weeks RB, 10 pop, 1963)
15.You’re All I Need to Get By (with Tammi Terrell) (1 for five weeks RB, 7 pop, 1968)
14.Your Unchanging Love (7 RB, 33 pop, 1967)
13.I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1 for seven weeks, both RB and pop, 1968) – you know how you’ve heard Stairway to Heaven or Freebird too often?
12.It Takes Two (with Kim Weston) (4 RB, 14 pop, 1967)
11.Mercy Mercy Me (1 for two weeks RB, 4 pop, 1971)
10.Sexual Healing (1 for ten weeks RB, 1982; 3 pop, 1983)
9.Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing (with Tammi Terrell) (1 RB, 8 pop, 1968)
8.What’s Going On (1 for five weeks RB, 2 pop, 1971)
7.Hitch Hike (12 RB, 30 pop, 1963)
6.Ain’t That Peculiar (1 RB, 8 pop, 1965)
5.Stubborn Kind Of Fellow (8 RB, 46 pop, 1962) – and he was, in his dealings with Motown founder Berry Gordy and others
4.Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (with Tammi Terrell) (3 for three weeks RB, 19 pop, 1967); Tears Dry on Their Own by Amy Winehouse leans heavily on this version of the Ashford/Simpson hit
3.Piece Of Clay – described here
2.Inner City Blues (1 for two weeks RB, 9 pop, 1971) – STILL makes me want to holler, throw up both my hands…
1.Can I Get a Witness (3 RB, 22 pop, 1963)