On July 7th 1980 Marvin Gaye faced a predominantly jazz loving audience at the 14th
Festival in Switzerland. Even though the festival featured some of the most celebrated artists in the
jazz world, Motown's premiere soul man was awarded one of the warmest welcomes.Marvin opens
his set with a funk fortified rendition of his 1977 chart topper 'Got To Give It Up', instantly creating
an irresistible groove that must have converted many doubters in the crowd. He follows this with
'Funky Space Reincarnation' and 'Come Get To This', which leads seamlessly into another of his
atmospheric slow grooving gems, 'Lets Get It On'.For over an hour and a half we are able to witness
Marvin perform his numerous hits including a medley of his Tammy Terrell duets. 'How Sweet It Is
(To Be Loved By You)' and 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' all delivered with Marvin's
renowned passion and vigour.
Marvin not only put on a dazzling display, but also proved exactly why he has carved out his own
chapter in the soul music story. On record Marvin Gaye is never less than outstanding and on stage
always spectacular. Here you can enjoy the best of both worlds, on a specially remastered version
producing excellent PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and DTS 5.1 surround.
While first working at Motown as a session drummer and playing on early hits by Smokey Robinson
& the Miracles, he met Gordy's sister Anna, and married her in late 1961. Upon mounting a solo
career, Gaye struggled to find his voice, and early singles failed. Finally, his fourth effort, "Stubborn
Kind of Fellow," became a minor hit in 1962, and his next two singles - the 1963 dance efforts "Hitch
Hike" and "Can I Get a Witness" - both reached the Top 30. With 1963's "Pride and Joy," Gaye
scored his first Top Ten smash, but often found his role as a hitmaker stifling - his desire to become
a crooner of lush romantic ballads ran in direct opposition to Motown's all-important emphasis on
chart success, and the ongoing battle between his artistic ambitions and the label's demands for
commercial product continued throughout Gaye's long tenure with the company.
With 1964's Together, a collection of duets with Mary Wells, Gaye scored his first charting album;
the duo also notched a number of hit singles together, including "Once Upon a Time" and "What's
the Matter With You, Baby?" As a solo performer, Gaye continued to enjoy great success, scoring
three superb Top Ten hits - "Ain't That Peculiar," "I'll Be Doggone," and "How Sweet It Is (To Be
Loved by You)" - in 1965. In total, he scored some 39 Top 40 singles for Motown, many of which
he also wrote and arranged. With Kim Weston, the second of his crucial vocal partners, he also
established himself as one of the era's dominant duet singers with the stunning "It Takes Two."
However, Gaye's greatest duets were with Tammi Terrell, with whom he scored a series of massive
hits penned by the team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, including 1967's "Ain't No
Mountain High Enough" and "Your Precious Love," followed by 1968's "Ain't Nothing Like the Real
Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By." The team's success was tragically cut short in 1967 when,
during a concert appearance in Virginia, Terrell collapsed into Gaye's arms on-stage, the first
evidence of a brain tumor that abruptly ended her performing career and finally killed her on March
16, 1970. Her illness and eventual loss left Gaye deeply shaken, marring the chart-topping 1968
success of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," his biggest hit and arguably the pinnacle of the
At the same time, Gaye was forced to cope with a number of other personal problems, not the least
of which was his crumbling marriage. He also found the material he recorded for Motown to be
increasingly irrelevant in the face of the tremendous social changes sweeping the nation, and after
scoring a pair of 1969 Top Ten hits with "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" and "That's the Way
Love Is," he spent the majority of 1970 in seclusion, resurfacing early the next year with the self-
produced What's Going On, a landmark effort heralding a dramatic shift in both content and style
that forever altered the face of black music.
A highly percussive album that incorporated jazz and classical elements to forge a remarkably
sophisticated and fluid soul sound, What's Going On was a conceptual masterpiece that brought
Gaye's deeply held spiritual beliefs to the fore to explore issues ranging from poverty and
discrimination to the environment, drug abuse, and political corruption; chief among the record's
concerns was the conflict in Vietnam, as Gaye structured the songs around the point of view of his
brother Frankie, himself a soldier recently returned from combat.
The ambitions and complexity of What's Going On baffled Berry Gordy, who initially refused to
release the LP; he finally relented, although he maintained that he never understood the record's full
scope. Gaye was vindicated when the majestic title track reached the number two spot in 1971, and
both of the follow-ups, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna
Holler)," also reached the Top Ten. The album's success guaranteed Gaye continued artistic control
over his work and helped loosen the reins for other Motown artists, most notably Stevie Wonder, to
also take command of their own destinies. Consequently, in 1972, Gaye changed directions again,
agreeing to score the blaxploitation thriller Trouble Man; the resulting soundtrack was a primarily
instrumental effort showcasing his increasing interest in jazz, although a vocal turn on the moody,
minimalist title track scored another Top Ten smash.
The long-simmering eroticism implicit in much of Gaye's work reached its boiling point with 1973's
Let's Get It On, one of the most sexually charged albums ever recorded; a work of intense lust and
longing, it became the most commercially successful effort of his career, and the title cut became his
second number one hit. Let's Get It On also marked another significant shift in Gaye's lyrical
outlook, moving him from the political arena to a deeply personal, even insular stance that continued
to define his subsequent work. After teaming with Diana Ross for the 1973 duet collection Marvin
and Diana, he returned to work on his next solo effort, I Want You; however, the record's completion
was delayed by his 1975 divorce from Anna Gordy. The dissolution of his marriage threw Gaye into
a tailspin, and he spent much of the mid-'70s in divorce court.
To combat Gaye's absence from the studio, Motown released the 1977 stopgap Live at the London
Palladium, which spawned the single "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1," his final number one hit.
As a result of a 1976 court settlement, Gaye was ordered to make good on missed alimony payments
by recording a new album, with the intention that all royalties earned from its sales would then be
awarded to his ex-wife. The 1978 record, a two-LP set sardonically titled Here, My Dear, bitterly
explored the couple's relationship in such intimate detail that Anna Gordy briefly considered suing
Gaye for invasion of privacy. In the interim, he had remarried and begun work on another album,
Lover Man, but scrapped the project when the "Ego Tripping Out" lead single - a telling personal
commentary presented as a duet between the spiritual and sexual halves of his identity, which
biographer David Ritz later dubbed the singer's "divided soul" - failed to chart. As his drug problems
increased and his marriage to new wife Janis also began to fail, he relocated to Hawaii in an attempt
to sort out his personal affairs.
In 1981, longstanding tax difficulties and renewed pressures from the IRS forced Gaye to flee to
Europe, where he began work on the ambitious In Our Lifetime, a deeply philosophical record that
ultimately severed his longstanding relationship with Motown after he claimed the label had remixed
and edited the album without his consent. Additionally, Gaye stated that the finished artwork
parodied his original intent, and that even the title had been changed to drop an all-important question
mark. Upon signing with Columbia
in 1982, he battled stories of erratic behavior and a consuming
addiction to cocaine to emerge triumphant with Midnight Love, an assured comeback highlighted by
the luminous Top Three hit "Sexual Healing."
The record made Gaye a star yet again, and in 1983 he made peace with Berry Gordy by appearing
on a television special celebrating Motown's silver anniversary. That same year, he also sang a soulful
and idiosyncratic rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the NBA All-Star Game; it instantly
became one of the most controversial and legendary interpretations of the anthem ever performed.
And it was to be his final public appearance.