About once a month or so I have a long chat on RNZ about a particular musical artist or genre or a theme – for their regular Tuesday music features. This week I chose to talk about the music (and some of the trauma that informs it) of Marvin Gaye. Marvin was a house-drummer and songwriter for Motown ahead of being a solo star. He was a supper-club Sinatra-styled crooner for the best part of a decade before really breaking big. He was a duet-partner to Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells, Diana Ross and others. And then he reinvented himself as a seduction-balladeer and these sermons about sex and spirituality became massive across the 1970s. And Marvin became miserable.
In 2021 we celebrate not only the 50th Anniversary of his best-known, most-loved album, What’s Going On but also the 60th Anniversary of his debut album. I also noticed that I am now older that Gaye. He was murdered, by his father, on the eve of his 45th birthday. I turned 45 this year.
Marvin Gaye’s music has been in my life forever. I’m sure it will continue to be. But I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him this year – and it was a great privilege to be able to share some of those thoughts and some of his fabulous music as part of a radio feature on RNZ.
If you want to hear the feature, Click HERE.