Let’s Get It On
Known as the “Prince of Soul”, with a smooth, soulful voice, Marvin Gaye’s hits are still around today. Even if you don’t know him (which I doubt), you know his music. Songs like “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing” are Motown hits that we still appreciate and love. Songs as smooth as butter that as kid I remember hearing my dad play in the car and now will randomly stumble upon.
Gaye, despite numerous personal struggles, was an artist who paved the way for other Motown musicians. At a young age, Gaye developed a love for R&B and doo-wop and in the 1950s, joined a group called The New Moonglows. Gaye, a talented singer with a wide vocal range, was soon signed to Motown Records by Berry Gordy Jr. Throughout the 60s, Gaye turned out a number of romantic duets with Diana Ross, as well as many solo dance hits.
Gaye’s soulful, bluesy voice lent itself to three years of duet performances with Tammi Terrell, churning out well known songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You.” The Royal Couple of R&B met their end when Terrell passed due to a brain tumor in 1970. This event left Gaye in a dark place, swearing to never partner with another female vocalist and threatening to abandon the stage forever. Luckily, gaye got back into it when he found inspiration fro the political unrest of the Vietnam War, writing “What’s Going On.” Motown clashed with Gaye over the song’s creative direction, but the single was still released in 1971 and instantly became a hit. The songs success inspired Gaye to take more risks with his music and his album, What’s Going On, introduced his voice to wider audiences while keeping his Motown following.
Growing as an artist, Gaye branched out on his own, steering away from Motown, paving the way for other artists like Stevie Wonder to also branch out down the line. In 1972, Gaye moved to L.A and soon met his soon to be second wife, Janis Hunter. Inspired by his artistic freedom, Gaye recorded “Let’s Get It On”, one of the most esteemed love anthems of all time, a song that brings a warmth over my soul, regardless of its lyrics. The smooth soul sound of the song, accompanied by simple cords and guitar, has a rhythm that brings a calm over me, with lyrics that call for the opposite.