Week 2: Post – MARVIN GAY

Marvin’s first experiences with music was singing in church congregations, but was introduced to secular music in high school and never went back. He was involved with various rhythm and blues groups where his vocal abilities and his piano playing got him signed to Motown Records! Originally a studio drummer, he began his rise to stardom as Marvin Gaye with “Let your conscious be your guide”; Mixing his interest in jazz with the record labels desire to produce R&B records. Marvin was later greatly affected by the death of his his co-singer Tammy Terrell. Living in Detroit, he was no stranger to the struggles of the civil rights movement. Being quite headstrong, Marvin was inspired to perform a song with the underlying tone of protest(Originally written by Renaldo Benson) to the dismay of the label and his powerful brother in law. The recording of “What’s Going On” was the product, but quality control at the label refused to release it. His brother in law even went on to say that it was “The worst thing i’ve ever heard”. This did not stop Marvin and thus Marvin refused to record anything else until it was released. During this time Marvin focused on becoming a professional football player for the Detroit Lions. This transformed Marvin from string-bean status to beast mode. Through a mistake in organization, a higher up in the studio heard this recording and fell in love with it. This lead to its eventual release. A couple other unintentional things happened during the production such as the now signature vocal layering that fans have to know and love. Another interesting thing is that he sang in the space that was traditionally used for the alto saxophone. It is also fun to mention that in place of a fade out, Marvin pushed the master fader back up just to say “F YOU” to the industry for not recognizing the artistry in this project.


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