Marvin Gaye Live at Montreux – July 17, 1980
There really isn’t much to add that hasn’t been written in volumes about the music and career of Marvin Gaye. Without question, one of the cornerstones of Motown and the Soul genre. His popularity and the beauty of his music haven’t diminished one bit over the years. Yes, there’s that element of nostalgia for those of a certain age who remember when his many hits were released. But more than that, his music has stood the test of time, his message has never been lost.
Marvin Gaye has been called “the number-one purveyor of soul music”. In his book Mercy Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye, Michael Eric Dyson described Gaye as someone “who transcended the boundaries of rhythm and blues as no other performer had done before”. Following his death, The New York Times described Gaye as someone who “blended the soul music of the urban scene with the beat of the old-time gospel singer and became an influential force in pop music”. Further in the article, Gaye was also credited with combining “the soulful directness of gospel music, the sweetness of soft-soul and pop, and the vocal musicianship of a jazz singer”. His recordings for Motown in the 1960s and 1970s shaped that label’s signature sound. His work with Motown gave him the titles Prince of Soul and Prince of Motown. Critics stated that Gaye’s music “signified the development of black music from raw rhythm and blues, through sophisticated soul to the political awareness of the 1970s and increased concentration on personal and sexual politics thereafter”. As a Motown artist, Gaye was among the first to break from the reins of its production system, paving the way for Stevie Wonder.Gaye’s late 1970s and early 1980s recordings influenced contemporary forms of R&B predating the subgenres quiet storm and neo-soul.
This concert, not part of the treasure trove issued by Arte over the past few weeks (which, for some reason we are unable to get hold of here in the States . . . .the specter of contractual hassles, no doubt), has been issued as a DVD version. I’m not sure if it’s still available. But if you want to see the artist as well as hear him, seek it out.
But for now, 90 minutes of Marvin Gaye. And all is right with the world . . . at least for 90 minutes, anyway.