TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's Going? Marvin Gaye

"War is not the answer. Only true love will conquer hate."
--Marvin Gaye
"If you cannot fine peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else."

--Marvin Gaye

Listen up. Today, the daddy is feeling Marvin Gaye. Why? Because April 2 is his birthdate; and he's only one of the greatest R&B singers of all times.

And the daddy wants to ask you something: Do you remember him singing, "How sweet it is to be loved by you?" "I'll be doggone?" "Ain't that peculiar?" "Can I get a witness?" "Stubborn kin d of fellow?"
And do you remember him teaming up with a woman with Tami Terrell, a woman with a voice so sweet you could swear she was a bird-angel singing just outside your kitchen just for you? Do you remember those two voices melding together and singing, "Heaven must have sent you from above/Oh oh, heaven must have sent your precious love?" Yes, the Washing D.C. native, like the rest of black America, grew up listening to Ray Charles and being influenced by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

Yes, this talented young teen, like many others, grew up singing in a black church then singing with a group called The Moonglows before signing up with Tamla, a subsidiary of Motown. And, yes, the rest, as they say , was black history. Here are just a few nuggets to remember about Marving Gaye:


1. Marvin Gaye was more than a crooner or romantic singer. Yes, initially Marvin Gaye and Motown made hit after hit with him singing uptemp
o love songs . But Marvin was also a very good songwriter, a singer who penned socially relevant songs about love, family, the black community and violence. Want a good example, listen to the song he wrote called "Save the children" and how the bittersweet music matches the words. Even today-- or maybe, especially today, given the problems with youth in some black communities-- it will almost make you cry.

2. Marvin Gaye was not just a singer/ songwriter. He was also an advocate. When Barry Gordy resisted Marvin Gaye writing about the problems g
oing on in Detroit and other predominantly black communities as well as war, Marvin refused to record for Motown. After some time, and with intervention of people like Smokey Robinson, who had influence with Gordy, a compromise was reached: Marvin would record one more album, after which he would be able to record a socially relevant album. The result was the album "What's going on."

3. With "What's Going On, " Marvin recorded the first "concept" album ever , an entire album of songs tied to a specific theme or related ideas. The album included songs about war, violence, the ecology, and black unity: the need for the black community to talk to each other, find out "what's going on," and move as a community to improve their conditions. It was a great hit; and songs from that album are still being played today. The songs not only possessed good lyrics but a spirit or feeling that matched the feelings of blacks during the turbulent times of the Vietnam war abroad and black rebellions against oppression at home.

4 . Marvin's death was tied to family violence, an ongoing, serious problem in too many black families. As a child, Marvin often saw his father beat his mother and tried to intervene, only to get beaten himself. But when a grown up Marvin came back from Europe and was staying with his parents and saw his father attempt to beat his mother again, he said he would not allow it to happen this time. His father shot and killed him. There may be no greater story to illustrate the destructiveness of domestic violence in black families and the need for blacks to rid themselves of this scourge than the life and times of Marvin Gaye. On the other hand, the family violence, the drugs, the love of women (especially his love for Tami Terrell) and his problems recording the music about which he felt most passionately-- all seemed to fuel his passion as an artist and his stirring, legendary performances on stage.

Marvin Gaye is dead, but the resume of his work and the meaning of his life is there for us to hear and read. And on the road to quality music and positive humanity, he left thick footprints for us to follow.


Now, the daddy wants to ask you something:What's your favorite song of Marvin Gaye?

10 comments:

R.J. said...

Let's Get It On. Always a classic when you're with the one you love.

MacDaddy said...

RJ: "Let's Get It On" is great. Sine you're a very romantic guy, I thought you might also like "Distant Lover." Do you know that one?

nicki nicki tembo said...

Hey now! I'm partial to "Come Get to This" but how can you go wrong with any of his music?

MacDaddy said...

nicki: Yes, they're all good. But the live version of "Distant Lover," and "Stubborn kind of fella" really grooves. And the music epitomizes the Motown sound of the 60's. Great music!

judy said...

Daddy, great post. I love when you write (about) music. I'd never heard "Save the Children," so I found it on YouTube. (It's playing as I type - you're always broadening my musical horizons.)

When you asked about my favorite Marvin Gaye song, I thought saying "Let's get it on" would sound shallow given the depth of your post; I'm glad to see I'm not alone in loving that song. =)

(And my Blues exploration is in full swing. Some of this stuff really gets inside me, and it's not about the lyrics, it's something else.)

Robbie said...

Mac, I wish I knew "Distant Lover" but I don't. I'm going to have to look that one up or find someone with the CD.

brownsugatou said...

Nice post as always,
"Keep on dancin'
You got to get it
Got to give it up..."

Hands down my ALL time favorite would have to be "Go To Give It Up"... oh wow, brings back memories. I'm out and headed to somebody's Soul Train line!

Great post MacDaddy. :-)

MacDaddy said...

brownsugatu: Me too! Good to hear from you.

Stella said...

LOVE Marvin Gaye. What's Goin' On? still gives me goosebumps, and as relevant as the day he first wrote and sang that song.

Did anyone hear about the Marvin Gaye movie coming out? Jesse L. Martin will play Marvin Gaye. I don't usually like bio pix, but Martin is amazingly talented. I think he'll be able to evoke Gaye's considerable genuis.

Happy Belated Birthday, Marvin. The world misses you.

MacDaddy said...

Stella: I love that entire CD. Nice to hear from you again.