Marvin Gaye this weekend. Ironic that April marks the birth of Marvin Gaye, as well as his death. Born on April 1, 1939 and dead on April 2, 1984. One of the more shocking losses and senseless acts.
Marvin Gaye was one of the founding artists of Motown, and was one of the main ingredients who helped shape what became known as The Motown Sound. A prolific songwriter as well as Producer, his singing career would almost seem incidental, had he not made such an indelible impression on the Sound of American Soul music in the 1960s – and be such a potent force in the area of social comment through his music in the 1970s.
That his music crossed genres as well as a racial lines is testimony to how powerful his talent was. Remember, the 1960s mainstream American music was still segregated in some parts of the country. Fortunately, through Top-40 radio, much of that stigma eventually evaporated, but it was far from easy. Motown was the sound of Urban America and Marvin Gaye was one of its most prominent faces.
From his initial string of hits in the 1960s; such classics as Heard It Through The Grapevine and Ain’t That Peculiar to his social consciousness anthems of the 70s, including the iconic What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye never lost his ability to reach far and connect with an audience, no matter who. Evidence is clear with this performance from the legendary Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, recorded on November 13, 1979 and broadcast over the Japanese radio network NHK. You can hear for yourself the universal appeal Marvin Gaye had on Japanese audiences.
His appeal has never diminished – his music is not only the soundtrack of a generation, but his message is the touchstone for those who missed him the first time. It’s his timeless and universal appeal – his artistic talent and impeccable showmanship notwithstanding.
A Marvin Gaye concert was always an event – here is proof of that.
Crank it up and enjoy.