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Happy Birthday Marvin Gaye And The Greatest Breakup Song Of All Time

Ever since H-Town said “listening to some Marvin Gaye all night long,” the legacy of Marvin Gaye’s music has been somewhat commercialized in ways that disgust me. “Let’s Get It On,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” even “What’s Going On” a song that has never not been fitting for the times when it is played; all of these fantastic songs are no longer such. I mean, they’re still good, but tolerable? It’s honestly gotten to the point where I hear them and I don’t even listen to 30 seconds, I skip right along to the next song.

But this is not the case for the majority of Marvin’s catalog. Die-hard Marvin fans know Gaye was more than just some bedroom Lothario who was all about getting panties thrown at him. I mean, that was the life he lived, but I’m saying, his music went much deeper, and ran a gamut of emotions. For my money, his best moments on record aren’t about lust or even love, but rather, love lost.

If you’re someone who is actually interested in R&B beyond what’s playing today and what you heard on some “Body & Soul” compilation (no shade to those “B&S” compilations though. They’re excellent.), I urge you to listen to “Here, My Dear” and read the entire backstory of that album here.

When you’re done reading and listening to it, go listen to “Let’s Get It On” and you can either play that one from top to bottom or you can skip everything and go to the very last song.

In honor of Gaye’s born day (he would have been 73 had he not been killed at the hands of his father on April 1, 1984) I want to share “Just To Keep You Satisfied.” To my ears, this is Marvin Gaye at his best, his most honest. The song was originally recorded by a couple of Doo Wop groups as a dedication to lasting love, but when Gaye got his hands on the song, he took it somewhere else entirely. At the time Gaye was recording this song, he was going through a divorce from Anna Gordy, the pain and sadness of which is masterfully conveyed
here by Gaye.

It’s a sneaky song so seductive you might want to make love to it, but one close listen to the lyrics and you realize this is a song for the times when love hurts us the most, when we tried as hard as we could to make it work and nothing worked at all. Most importantly, because it’s sung by a man, I always thought “Just To Keep You Satisfied” got at the heart of men’s frustrations with a failed relationship. Sometimes, we’re not sad it didn’t work out, we’re just frustrated; frustrated because we thought we got it right and we didn’t, and no matter who is to blame, getting love wrong is one of life’s worst pains.

  • wentz

    Marvin speaks to my soul….thanks for the reminder!

  • Michelle

    The music snob, er, nerd in you came out with this post but it’s all good. Marvin Gaye is my favorite male vocalist of all time and I, too, get irritated by the people and institutions who play the sh!t out of his greatest hits. The “Here, My Dear” album was a commercial flop, but it is one of his finest works, IMO. Familiarity with that album and its back story is a good method to weed out the casual listeners from the avid listeners. 

    P.S. If you haven’t read “Divided Soul” by David Ritz you must. Seriously. 

  • 847pm

    He’s been gone nearly 30 years and is still in a class all by himself. I’m partial to the I Want You album. “Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again” is my fav Marvin song. Here, My Dear was a throw together album that wasn’t even ready to be released (Motown greed) the fact that it is so highly esteemed anyway speaks VOLUMES about the state of today’s so called r&b.

    On another note: a Marvin Gaye biopic of EPIC proportions NEEDS to happen. I have already thought out actors/actresses to play roles LOL

  • Drumdumb82

    As great of an album as “Here My Dear” is there was an album he did called “In My LifeTime” that was held back for many year that is such a amazing work of art as well.. From Love Songs to party tunes, 28 whole track of breath taken music that the one and only Marv Gaye and his band of Soul Groove Seekers could produce! If any of you haven’t please treat yourself to some lost greatness as its best! Great Post for Marv and I great breakdown of the music.

  • http://twitter.com/dwandye Dwandye Porter

    I just bought the album… the basis of the album is sad but the quality of music on it is like wow!!  My fave is When Did You Stop Loving Me When did I Stop Loving You….

  • Lily

    “It’s a sneaky song so seductive you might want to make love to it, but one close listen to the lyrics and you realize this is a song for the times when love hurts us the most, when we tried as hard as we could to make it work and nothing worked at all. Most importantly, because it’s sung by a man, I always thought “Just To Keep You Satisfied” got at the heart of men’s frustrations with a failed relationship. Sometimes, we’re not sad it didn’t work out, we’re just frustrated; frustrated because we thought we got it right and we didn’t, and no matter who is to blame, getting love wrong is one of life’s worst pains.”

    I love your writing.

  • http://bellalevine1964.wordpress.com/ Charlotte

    oh marvin. i’ve always loved this song. right up there with his stop, look, and listen duo with Diana Ross