Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye image

Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye

AlbumbyMarvin Gaye

Released in 1983, 17 tracks, 58 min



"Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye"

Mar 11, 2019

Oh The Memories, As I Glean My Favorites From Best of ‘Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye’

Written by @taylor / 6 mins read

With a title like Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye, that shit better be true, the devil on my shoulder says, but the angel’s voice of reason counters that this particular record was put out in 1983, and since then, we have had an even longer time and even more generations discover the various aspects of the Marvin Gaye songbook, making determinations of their own on what are his greatest Motown hits. Personally, my greatest hits are not so much the earliest or earliest material, a period which starts with album How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You and seems to end with the Tammie Terrell duets. No, for me, it all really begins with the pivotal progressive Soul album What’s Going On, given to me by me father when I was 14 or 15, which was the biggest trip of all, because my Dad, even though he is a working musician and performer, never really gave me albums growing up, which I suppose could be surprising. I’m a film buff, and I expect to hip my kids to all the dopest cinema, but I also understand – when you work in music, the last thing you’re thinking is propagating that music. What’s Going On blew my mind, and it’s exceptional music is represented on Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye with the tracks “What’s Goin On”, “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler), and “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” That is the start of my real involvement with Marvin Gaye, and then I would dive deeper with the exceptional albums I Want You and Let’s Get It On. Fun fact – I don’t ever listen to the song “Let’s Get It On.” I have always felt that it was overly commercial and, with respect, an old folks versions of something sexy. It will be more than hilarious when my grand children turn up their face at the sexy sounds of a Prince ballad that I drop for them, saying that it is an ‘old folks’ version of something sexy – but I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there. This current compilation album starts with the sixties stuff that I have mostly ignored, travels through the seventies, and mostly ends with the dynamite tracks on album Let’s Get It On, which is just as well, because by time of the album Midnight Love, separating the meat from the fat on such an album was an ordeal. Therefore, I would offer that this is a pretty good best of.

The Album Starts Off With The Classics, Some That Are Are A Bit Unfamiliar

For classic Soul, though it is not my go to era for Gaye’s music, wow – ain’t nothin better than the opening track “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” He is so thankful over the love that his woman gives that he needs to literally stop doing whatever he is doing and let her know, all over a cool, jazz era shuffle. How many times have I heard the perfection of “Your Precious Love”, and that iconic bass guitar line? Then the classic uptempo dance song “Ain’t That Peculiar” slaps harder than most songs in history – series neck and back problems from whipping your body to the beat. I am quite unfamiliar with the sounds of “That’s The Way Love Is” and “If I Could Build My Whole Life Around You”, but then familiarity sets in with the Soulfully belting and haunted chords of “You’re All I Need To Get By.” Seriously, why is this love song so dark and badass sounding? “I’ll Be Doggone” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” are just way too old and commercial to resonate me, especially having heard these songs in the background somewhere my whole life, but things start to really pick up in a soulful and aesthetic sense when “What’s Goin On” hits.

The Real Joints Realy Begin Halfway Through

“What’s Goin On” is an opus, and probably, besides Donnie Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free”, one of the most heartbreaking and at the same time hopeful songs ever vomited to vinyl, cassettes, CD – you name it. Next up is “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”, a Tammi Terrell duet again, and you know what – I’ve always felt it to be a pedestrian Soul song. With respect, Terrell would pass away soon after in 1970 from a brain tumor, and that is actually what inspired a lot of the album What’s Goin On released in 1971, as Marvin Gaye was crushed by her loss. “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)” represented one of the funkiest fight-for-poverty tracks ever made, and it’s syncopated rhythm is beyond iconic. This was ghetto music before it was popular, and before Hip Hop.

Following Some Of The Greatest Joints From The Greatest Gaye Eras, This Album Slaps

Suddenly, the album journeys into my favorite territory, starting with the one of the greatest songs ever made, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”, which was, like “What’s Going On”, an indictment of the chaos of the world, wrapped up in the warmth and caring of one of the most emotional voices in the game. If things had just kept going in that vein, Gaye would have ended up being known as the one of the saddest artists who ever lived, but thankfully for this experience, we can skip time a bit, and closing the album out are some truly awesome songs that most resonate with my understanding of the greatness of Marvin Gaye; “Trouble Man”, noteworthy for it’s funky as hell beat, great instrumentation, and coolest of the cool vocal syncopation part where Gaye sings “I know some places and I've seen some faces / I've got good connections / they dig in my directions.” You already know how I feel about one of the last songs here “Let’s Get It On”, but I am much more for the two highlights, “Got To Give It Up (Pt. 1)” and it’s can’t put down beat, and most cosmic of all, the timeless seductive ballad “Distant Lover”, which literally applies the utmost of sex appeal upon the grandest of distances, as I can imagine this track working to keep two lovers together, whether they are one state away or one galaxy away. Real talk.

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Album Info

"Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye"


  • Aug 22, 1983


  • R&B

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