Never Fear, Marvin’s “Here”
By the late 1970’s, R&B Singer, Marvin Gaye had been a troubled soul with years of broken marriages, extensive drug use, mental and physical abuse from his father, and ultimately the untimely demise of his career due to financial issues and low record sales. Among all of his current troubles, his 1975 divorce from Anna Gordy (sister of Motown Founder & CEO, Berry Gordy) lead him to create one of the most interpersonal, soulful, and intriguing albums of all time .
Marvin Gaye’s, Here My Dear, (1978) released on December 15, 1978. Hear My Dear, was a composition of 14 songs detailing the tumultuous and joyous times of his 12 year marriage to Anna Gordy. This album wasn’t intended to be a top seller for Marvin as exclaimed by himself, “Why should I break my neck when Anna was going to wind up with the money anyway?” (Here, My Dear album liner notes by David Ritz & Harry Weinger. UMG Recordings, Inc. 2008.) The original intention behind the album was to use the album sales as alimony and divorce settlement income for Anna. However, Marvin still wanted to hold true to his fans and release a sentimental album that his fans could relate to and be entertained.
The reception for the album had been mixed with many fans and industry moguls feeling that the album had been too personal, dark, and non-commercial. At the time, disco music had been at an all time, and after Marvin Gaye had already been a recluse for almost 4 years, this album only increased that worry and concern for Marvin. After the album release, Anna Gordy had considered suing Marvin for invasion of privacy, but later recanted the decision. Marvin, himself, had gone into exile after the album due to the poor promotion by Motown and negative reception.
Personally, I felt this album was the most invigorating, soulful, and emotionally intense album that had ever been composed by any artist. With such deep personal reflection and timeless emotion, it truly reveals a part of Marvin that had been hidden and restricted over the decades. I haven’t heard an album yet that instilled so much passion about a life situation that had one point peaked at the top, yet slowly deteriorated over time. Literally, song after song, goes in almost chronological order as far as how the marriage deteriorated over time through infidelity, fights, and as one of his famed tracks from the album stated, “Anger”.
Two songs that had really stood out to me were, “Anna’s Song” and “Is That Enough?”. In both songs, Marvin’s plead for forgiveness, his sorrow for their failed marriage, and recollection of fights only exposed his vigorous effort to one day earn Anna’s heart again; not through marriage, but possibly through friendship. By the early 2000’s, the Hear, My Dear album had been re-evaluated and the appreciation for his work had finally been recognized. The amount of personal energy that Marvin put into this album had been more in these songs than any other album he released.
It was voted one of the greatest albums in music history by Mojo Magazine (1995) and Rolling Stone magazine’s critics poll (500 Greatest Albums of All-Time) (2003), among others. It’s re-release in 2007 had featured more tracks and three more unreleased tracks.
Soulful, Tearful, Personified.
– Evan J.