Little Known Classics: Marvin Gaye

I admit, we all know Marvin Gaye as one of the all time greats. But do most of us know Marvin Gaye beyond “Let’s Get it On”? I have 8 less appreciated tracks from the legendary soul singer’s more popular albums that you can appreciate whether you’re hip to crooner’s catalogue or just taking your first listen.

1.Distant Lover

This one comes off of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” album. Basically, everything off that album is the smoothest thing on any album besides “I Want You”. This live version is courtesy of my boy Malcolm. Say thanks to the fellow if you see him

2. You Sure Love to Ball

Please don’t mind the photos. Marvin will make you feel. Just like you want him to. Oh baby. You sure love to ball. . .

3. Come Live With Me Angel

After releasing “Let’s Get it On”- the greatest lovemaking music the world had known- in 1973 Marvin decided to foray deeper into the satin sheets. The album “I Want You” is what he found while inside. Come Live With Me Angel comes right after the titular track to create an atmosphere of haze, musk, and body grinding madness that pervades the sensational LP. Groove to this.

4. I Want to Be Where You Are

I’m cheating here. But it’s okay because it’s for your own good. I Want to Be Where You Are was originally released as a 1 minute interlude in “I Want You”. It’s arguably the finest minute on the album. This 6 minute mix from the deluxe edition gives you a bit more time to throw the clothes off and start making babies. Oh, you don’t do that when listening to Marvin Gaye? Maybe it’s just me then.

5. When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You

The year is 1976. Marvin Gaye’s relationship with his wife has gone to pot; he’s been hemorrhaging cash on cars, cocaine and extravagant homes; and he’s found himself in a stint of depression. Marvin was about to give up but then he realized he owed too much child support and alimony to even do that. So he made “Here, My Dear” instead (released in 1978). When did You Stop Loving Me. . . is the chronicle of Marvin and his wife’s deteriorating marriage. It’s that sad-smooth stuff. Naw’mean?

6.Time to Get it Together

This is the part of the album where Marvin gets his life together. It’s uplifting, it’s Marvin, it’s good. Also, note that he almost didn’t release this album. There were concerns that the content was too personal but I guess bankruptcy was more unappealing than people knowing his business. This is one time where we can all thank the IRS. Am I right? Guys? Am I right?

7.Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)

Yes, everyone knows this song but do you know it as an environmental awareness song? I didn’t think so. Radiation underground, in the sky,. . . what about this overcrowded land, how much more of this can she stand?” That’s about mother Earth. Sing for Gaia so I know it’s real, Marvin.

8.What’s Happening Brother

Marvin takes on the voice of one brother writing to another. You get this beautiful moment where you feel the simultaneous hope and anxiety that brings the brothers together and also reinforces their distance. The singing is good too, I guess.