Divided Soul: The Life Of Marvin Gaye

Divided Soul: The Life Of Marvin Gaye

David Ritz

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 030681191X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Drawing from interviews conducted before Marvin Gaye's death, acclaimed music writer David Ritz has created a full-scale portrait of the brilliant but tormented artist. With a cast of characters that includes Diana Ross, Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder, this intimate biography is a definitive and enduring look at the man who embodied the very essence of the word soul.

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released, though he loved to shock studio guests by playing it. Gaye always saw himself split in half, a picture he would soon realize on the cover of an album which, in 1979, he hadn’t yet conceived—the good Marvin and the bad Marvin, the angel and the devil, the masochist and the messiah. For Gaye, it was all or nothing. By fall, trying to finalize his new record, trying to make money on the road, he was exhausted. He had honored none of his major financial commitments and was growing

wanted me to pay for the guns and the bombs with my hard-earned money? I felt like Muhammad Ali. No North Vietnamese had done nothing to me. I still hadn’t forgotten what happened to me in the Air Force. I resented like hell having to give Uncle Sam a dime. I knew I could never beat the mothers, and I knew that attitude would get me in trouble, but I didn’t give a shit. “Not that I was any hero. Other people went to jail and I didn’t. I was privileged. I saw what was happening in this country,

America at the start of the seventies, he asked, “What’s going on?", convinced that he had the answer. PART TWO 15 SERMON FROM THE STUDIO One theory of the life of Marvin Gaye could view his personal history as a carefully predetermined work—a play, a novel, a suite of songs—consciously constructed by the singer himself. Marvin liked to give the impression that he was calling the shots, creating wild twists and turns in order to keep himself amused. He possessed a highly developed sense of

vindicated the two years it took Marvin to produce the new work. At Motown, where major acts were sometimes expected to record an album every six months, Marvin’s singular timetable was viewed with skepticism. “I tried to tell those folks,” Marvin said in his sly-fox slur, “that I’m always right on time. Management was worried to death I’d deliver a lame product. So when I delivered the goods, and when the goods shot to the top, I couldn’t help but smile. It proved What’s Going On was no fluke.

confidence. (The band included Ray Parker, Jr., on guitar, Ernie Watts on sax, and Jamie Jamerson, the great Motown bassist. Joe Sample was on keyboard, who, along with fellow Crusader Wilton Felder, had played on Let’s Get It On.) On “Inner City Blues,” Gaye, still stumbling, invoked the sanctity of his father’s church—just as years before he’d called upon Ray Charles’ muse—to fortify his soul. “A long time ago,” Marvin sang, “my daddy told me, he said, ‘son, feel it . . . feel it’ . . . said,

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