Monday, October 05, 2009

My October star is the tortured genius Marvin Gaye.

One of my first musical memories of Marvin was hearing I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE on the radio and finding it vaguely scary. It's interesting that when I started listening seriously to Motown that Marvin had already started to change his persona from handsome singer of ballads and sunny Soul to the more serious Socially-committed singer-songwriter who emerged in the classic WHAT'S GOING' ON album.

But Marvin at any time in his life appeared to be a contradiction in terms - the singer who was also happier playing the drums, the spiritual man who embraced the darker side of his life with abandon, the soaring Soul singer who preferred to sing Broadway standards, the man who married into the family of Motown boss Berry Gordy which disintegrated into acrimony and most ominously of all, seemingly a man in charge of his own destiny who remained locked in a battle of wills with his abusive father.

The tragic outcome of that private battle robbed us of one of the greatest voices in soul music and of a man who always seemed to be the first to explore new musical vistas.

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