Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing, 1983 Grammys

Posted in Marvin Gaye, Youtube Favs on June 9th, 2011 by Willie

Part 85 my soul people, back with more Marvin Gaye like I promised.  This time, its a special performance of “Sexual Healing,” sung live at the 1983 Grammys.  This was Marvin’s last worldwide smash hit, eventually peaking at #3 on the Billboard 100 after dominating the R&B charts.  There is a lot of tragedy and joy to be found in the creation of this record.  It’s a reflection of Marvin attempting  to embrace a healthier more peaceful life through sobriety, exercise, and  Sadly, just as he was in the midst of his triumphant comeback, he was gunned down by his father in one of the more bizarre rock and roll assassinations.  It reminds me a lot of John Lennon’s demise after he completed Double Fantasy. It’s really painful to think of the three icons; Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, all dying in the early 80s.  They left a tremendous void.  Anyway, this song was almost entirely produced by Marvin himself outside of the rhythm guitars.  It’s a true masterpiece that touched on elements of doo-wop, snythpop, reggae, funk and gospel.  This performance, a lot like the song, is a triumph.  Marvin reminds the music elite that he is an absolute God, taking them to school by defining what pop music is and can be.  RIP Marvin.

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Marvin Gaye, The National Anthem

Posted in Marvin Gaye, Youtube Favs on June 8th, 2011 by Willie

Soul week grooves on with part 84 of my youtube countdown.  Today I have Marvin Gaye, the Prince of Soul, singing “The National Anthem” at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game.  For my money, this is the greatest National Anthem ever, slightly better than Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic Woodstock performance.  Marvin managed to turn the normally stuffy and militaristic anthem into a smooth soul jam complete with the most seductive beat and vocal delivery ever achieved for the song.  There is just too much to love about this video.  I love the way he sexualizes the song, driving every woman in the crowd absolutely crazy.  I love the way the NBA arena reflects off his large sunglasses.  Most of all, I love the way he squeezes all that emotion from his performance to the point where he looks like he is going to cry.  The most amazing feat of the song is that Marvin’s version somehow reflects the entire history of cultural cool that America has produced in its history, not just its military glory and political power.  It’s almost a personal anthem, reflecting Marvin’s sad yet sexy soul.  Whatever it is, its a pure wonder, and an essential listening experience.  Enjoy.  Oh, PS, expect more Marvin this week.

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