Marvin Gaye ¦ Midnight Love

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Midnight Love
Midnight Love.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1, 1982
RecordedOctober 1981 – August 1982
StudioStudio Katy, Ohain, Belgium
Devonshire Studios, Los Angeles, California
Kendun Recorders, Burbank, California
Arco Studios, Munich, Germany
GenreSoul, funk, reggae, R&B, boogie
ProducerMarvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye chronology
In Our Lifetime
Midnight Love
Dream of a Lifetime
Singles from Midnight Love
  1. "Sexual Healing"
    Released: September 30, 1982
  2. "My Love Is Waiting"
    Released: January 1983
  3. "'Til Tomorrow"
    Released: April 1983
  4. "Joy"
    Released: July 1983

Midnight Love is the seventeenth and final studio album by Marvin Gaye. He signed with the label Columbia in March 1982 following his exit from Motown. The final album to be released before his death, it ultimately became the most successful album of Gaye's entire career.

The disc was certified triple platinum in the United States, selling well over six million copies worldwide. It was nominated for a 1984 Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, spawning the two-time Grammy Award-winning smash "Sexual Healing". It was ranked number 37 on the Rolling Stone list of the best albums of the 1980s decade[1] and the NME named the album as its Album of the Year in 1983.[2]


In January 1981, Gaye's final Motown album, In Our Lifetime, was released on Motown's Tamla label. Gaye was angry over its release and Motown's edit of the album, comparing it to an unfinished Picasso painting and having others finish the painting for him.[3] Gaye vowed afterwards to never record for Motown again.[4][5] The following month, a Belgian concert promoter and a longtime fan of Gaye's music, Freddy Cousaert, visited a visibly shaken and depressed Gaye, who was struggling with drug addiction, in London, following the end of a European tour. Concerned for Gaye's health and state, Cousaert offered Gaye a place in his pension in Ostend. Gaye, who was traveling with his younger brother Frankie and then-girlfriend, Dutch model Eugenie Vis, agreed to go on the trip though he admitted to Frankie later that he didn't know where Ostend was and that he "left that to the hands of God."[6]

Gaye arrived at Ostend on February 14, 1981. That same month, Gaye's second marriage to Janis Hunter ended in divorce two years after Hunter filed. Gaye cut down on his drug use while in Ostend and began exercising and attending the local church. Gaye recovered well enough to begin talks of a musical comeback. Disappointed in the results of his last two albums and in his relationship with Motown, as well as disappointing fans during his oft-chaotic concert tours, Gaye, with Cousaert's help, began rehearsing a new band for the short Heavy Love Affair Tour, named after Gaye's song from the In Our Lifetime album in Ostend. Some of the rehearsal footage aired on the Belgian TV documentary, Transit Ostend. The tour took place mainly in London, Bristol and Manchester, England, before Gaye performed the final two dates in Ostend. Gaye ended the tour after the Ostend performances and remained in Ostend, along with two of his touring musicians, Gordon Banks and Odell Brown.

Within the final months of 1981, with word of Gaye plotting a musical comeback and an exit from Motown, several labels offered record deals. Gaye eventually accepted CBS Records, which in turn gave him a three-album contract with Columbia. Details of how much the singer was paid when Gaye signed on March 23, 1982, was not made public due to possible interference with Gaye's payment to creditors to receive back taxes, which had prompted Gaye to permanently settle in Europe. It was later determined that it took $1.5 million (US$4,022,586 in 2020 dollars[7]) to buy Gaye's contract out of Motown, with an additional $600,000 advance money (US$1,609,034 in 2020 dollars[7]) awarded to the singer.[1] Gaye had begun recording on elements of his new album starting in December 1981 in Brussels before the deal was set. Figuring he had alienated record buyers and his legion of fans for writing interpersonal albums, Gaye sought to record more mainstream music to win them back. In explaining why he decided to go for the commercial sounds instead of looking inward as he had with his last album, In Our Lifetime, Gaye explained, "I'm worried that I'm getting so introspective, no one will listen. I can't afford to miss this time. I need a hit."[8] In regards to the album's music, Gaye told a reporter:

“On one level, it’s a party record. It’s a record you can dance to and even freak to. But if you listen closely and go beneath your surface, you’ll hear my heart speaking. You’ll hear my heart saying, ‘It’s time to put the madness behind and let love lead the way.’ You’ll hear me testify that I still believe in Jesus, I still believe in God’s miraculous grace, I still believe that the Lord forgives even when — and especially when — we cannot forgive ourselves.” [9]


One of the first songs Gaye had worked on with musician Odell Brown was a reggae-influenced track that Gaye and Brown had recorded around October 1981. The then-Rolling Stone reviewer David Ritz had arrived to Belgium in April 1982 after he had been tipped off to where Gaye was. Despite Gaye's pleas to not meet up with Ritz, Ritz eventually located Gaye in his Ostend apartment not too far from Cousaert's pension where he and Gaye reluctantly continued their interviews that led to the book, Divided Soul.

According to Ritz, he had seen several S&M comic book type of books in Gaye's bookshelf. Said to have been disgusted with this, Ritz told Gaye "you need some sexual healing". Ritz then alleged Gaye told him to write a poem. However, this story was disputed by Gaye's friends, family members and fellow musicians. When Cousaert was told of this story, he denied Ritz ever having anything to do with the song except for its title.[10] Musicians Odell Brown and Gordon Banks also flatly denied Ritz's accounts, with Brown stating "I never met the guy. All I was told was that he was doing an interview for Rolling Stone."[11] Banks stated that what really happened is Gaye had told Ritz that he was intrigued by Amsterdam's Red Light District and Ritz had responded to it by stating Gaye needed sexual healing but "that was it. David didn't have anything to do with that."[12] Gaye's Frankie also stated that all Ritz said was "not only are you sexy but your music is healing" after Gaye played the track to him.[13]

Gaye and Gordon Banks then worked on seven of the album's other tracks. To help out, Columbia had sent Gaye and his musicians several instruments along with the Roland TR-808 drum machine and a Jupiter 8 synthesizer. Gaye and Banks mainly contributed to the production, with Harvey Fuqua adding to the production by adding horn sections.[12] In regards to the recording development of the album Gordon Banks stated:

It was basically him and I in the studio. Columbia Records gave him some new toys to play with. They gave him two drum machines, a synthesizer called a Roland TR-808 and a Jupiter 8. Marvin didn't know too much about technology so it was my job to figure out how to get the stuff working. He kind of liked the sounds that came from it and he went from there. Marvin was a great pianist. After getting past the challenges with the Jupiter 8, it was like he had been playing it his whole life.[14]

The funk song, "Rockin' After Midnight", actually came by from the mixing of two songs.[12] "My Love is Waiting", the sole Gordon Banks composition, was recorded much like the demo.[12] Around April 1982, Gaye presented a rough demo of "Sexual Healing" to Columbia executive Larkin Arnold, who was as pleased with the song as Marvin had been.[15] The album took more than nine months to be completed, and was mixed and edited in several studios in Belgium, Germany and the United States, particularly in California.[16] Arnold explained that the production was costly and that Gaye's months in production were sporadic at best.[1] According to Curtis Shaw, Gaye's lawyer, the cost of recording the album was $1.5 million (US$4,022,586 in 2020 dollars[7]), though Arnold put it at "closer to $2 million" (US$5,363,448 in 2020 dollars[7]).[1]


Midnight Love contains elements of funk, boogie, Caribbean music, reggae, new wave and synthpop, as well as older genres such as soul, R&B and doo-wop. The reason for these many genres was because, according to Banks, Gaye's music was "progressing" and that it was "changing and it had to change because he didn't want any more ties to Motown".[12] As Larkin Arnold later explained, "Marvin had been living in Europe, and was influenced by both reggae and the synthesizer work of groups like Kraftwerk" and that he "took the rhythm of reggae, the new technology and American soul and came up with something fresh and unique".[1]

"Midnight Lady" starts off with assorted percussion, provided by Gaye and other musicians, before its beat is delivered by a drum machine and overdubbed handclaps provided by the singer, followed by keyboard riffs (also played by Gaye), guitar lines by Banks and a horn section. It is almost two minutes before Gaye began singing the song's first lines. Musically the song has elements of funk, new wave and synthpop; Gaye's vocals were also influenced by the vocal styling in new wave records. The demo of this recording was listed as "Clique Games/Rick James", indicating the song might have been influenced by the music of James'.[17] "Sexual Healing" was influenced by Caribbean music and reggae while also including funk elements musically; vocally the song recalls Gaye's gospel background while his background harmonies (which included Fuqua and Banks as co-backing vocalists) took influence from doo-wop. "Rockin' After Midnight" was also influenced by funk as well as boogie music while "'Til Tomorrow", the sole ballad in the album, was strongly influenced by doo-wop.

The original version of "Turn On Some Music", titled as "I've Got My Music", included some spiritual and autobiographical lyrics, that changed to sexually erotic ones.[8] In addition to the original demo, another alternate version mixed both versions. The reggae-inspired "Third World Girl" is a tribute to Bob Marley, though Gaye refused to mention Marley by name on the track, explaining, "I won't exploit a leader to make a commercial song".[18] The gospel-influenced "Joy" is a tribute to his father's ministry and his own religious background.[18] The song also includes a rock-influenced guitar solo from Banks. "My Love is Waiting" has elements of funk, synthpop and gospel music, as evident to Gaye's final words in his thank you calls, "we like to thank our Heavenly Father, Jesus!" The entire album's length is under just 40 minutes.[18]

A controversial outtake from the album sessions, "Sanctified Lady" was originally planned and expected by the singer to become a follow-up to the success of Sexual Healing.[19][20] Another controversial outtake is a song titled "Masochistic Beauty". Originally incomplete during the times of the album's release and Gaye's death, both songs were later completed by Gordon Banks and released on the posthumous Dream of a Lifetime compilation.[21][22][23][24]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[25]
Christgau's Record Guide: The '80sA–[26]
MusicHound R&B4/5[27]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[28]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[29]
Tom Hull – on the WebA[30]
The Village VoiceA[31]

In his review of Midnight Love, Rolling Stone reviewer Dave Marsh called the album in terms of it being viewed as a comeback as "remarkably arrogant", stating "it simply picks up from 1973's Let's Get It On as if only ten minutes had elapsed since Gaye hit his commercial peak", though he did state the album was a successful comeback.[28] After its rank on the magazine's list of best eighties albums, the album was described as "an inspired, mature work from one of the greatest soul singers, and is certainly one of the best solo albums of the eighties."[1] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau explained that the album's "concentration on the carnal is one reason it's his best ever".[26] In its Picks and Pans Reviews, People cited "too long gone, the Soulful One shows he can still sizzle".[32] At the 1984 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for a Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy, losing out to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". "Sexual Healing" won two Grammys the previous year, the only two Gaye won in his lifetime.

Midnight Love was voted the eighth best album of 1982 in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll.[33] A similar placement was ranked on the Netherlands' Oorlijsten.[2] The UK's NME listed it at number-one on its list.[2][34] Since then, much like Gaye's previous albums, it has been listed on best-of lists, ranking at number 37 on the United States and Australia Rolling Stone list of top eighties albums.[2] The UK magazine Melody Maker listed it as one of the significant albums to be released between 1982 and 1985. Gary Mulholland listed it as one of the "261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco" in 2006.

Commercial performance

Midnight Love was released to record retail stores on October 1, 1982, just a day after "Sexual Healing" was released as a single. In response to "Sexual Healing", the album was bought out in droves. By that December, the album had already hit #1 on the Top Black Albums chart and the Top 10 of the Pop albums chart, making it Gaye's eighth album to accomplish this. "Sexual Healing" crossed over to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. By the end of 1982, it had already sold over a million copies.

Upon Gaye's return to the United States, Gaye attended a party in celebration of the album's accomplishment with a new polished look, reuniting with his ex- Anna Gordy Gaye and their son, Marvin III. Eventually, the album would reach sales of 3.9 million copies in the United States alone, becoming Gaye's most successful career album. Worldwide, the album also performed extremely well, hitting #1 in Canada and #7 in the United Kingdom. Overall global sales surpassed six million. The album's biggest hit single, "Sexual Healing", sold over two million US copies and earned an RIAA Platinum certification. It hit the top of the charts in several countries and stayed at #1 on the Top Black Singles chart for ten consecutive weeks, making it the most successful R&B single of the 1980s.


The album made an impact on future R&B recordings. The Isley Brothers, who released their album, Between the Sheets, in April 1983, took the same musical approach of Midnight Love and added it to their album.[12] Gordon Banks stated the album "influenced a lot of people doing a mellow thing with a funk vibe in it".[12] Because the album was also among the first pop albums to use a Roland TR-808, the style would be copied by other artists of similar genres in the years to come.[35] In the wake of its success, "Sexual Healing" became one of Gaye's most covered songs as well as being sampled by several artists in the hip-hop and R&B genres. The demo version of "Turn On Some Music" was sampled for Erick Sermon's hit, "Music", giving full credit to Gaye as a leading vocalist, giving Gaye a posthumous top 40 hit in 2001, 17 years after his death. In 1998, Sony Music re-released the album as a two-CD "Legacy" edition set titled Midnight Love and the Sexual Healing Sessions. The same edition would be re-released in 2007, to celebrate the album's 25th anniversary since its release.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Marvin Gaye, except where noted.

  1. "Midnight Lady" – 5:17
  2. "Sexual Healing" (Odell Brown, Gaye, David Ritz) – 4:05
  3. "Rockin' After Midnight" – 6:04
  4. "'Til Tomorrow" – 4:57
  5. "Turn On Some Music" – 5:08
  6. "Third World Girl" – 4:36
  7. "Joy" – 4:22
  8. "My Love Is Waiting" (Gordon Banks) – 5:07

Deluxe bonus disc (The Sexual Healing Sessions)

  1. "Clique Games/Rick James" (Original version of "Midnight Lady") – 5:38
  2. "Sexual Healing" (Alternate 12-inch instrumental) – 4:38
  3. "Sexual Healing" (Original vocal version) – 4:39
  4. "Sexual Healing" (Alternate vocal/mix) – 4:49
  5. "I Bet You Wonder" (Original version of "Rockin' After Midnight") – 6:42
  6. "Rockin' After Midnight" (Instrumental) – 7:00
  7. "Baby, Baby, Baby" (Original vocal version of "'Til Tomorrow") – 6:54
  8. "I've Got My Music" (Original vocal version of "Turn On Some Music") – 5:33
  9. "Turn On Some Music" (Alternate vocal/mix) – 5:16
  10. "Third World Girl" (Original reggae version) – 8:00
  11. "Third World Girl" (Alternate Vocal/mix) – 6:34
  12. "My Love Is Waiting" (Alternate vocal/mix) – 5:15
  13. "Marvin's Message to the CBS Records Staff" – 1:01
  14. "Sexual Healing" (Rehearsal Tape Courtesy of David Ritz) – 2:14


  • Marvin Gaye – vocals, Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer, organ, drums, drum machine, drum programming, bells, glockenspiel, vibraphone, finger cymbals, bongos, congas, and cabasas
  • Gordon Banks – guitar, bass, background vocals, drums, Fender Rhodes piano
  • James Gadson – drums on "Midnight Lady"
  • Bobby Stern – tenor saxophone, harmonica
  • Joel Peskin – alto & tenor saxophone
  • Harvey Fuqua – backing vocals on "Sexual Healing", editing, mixing, production advisor
  • David Stout and The L.A. Horn Section – horns
  • Curt Sletten – trumpet
  • Harry Kim – trumpet
  • Alan Kaplan – trombone
  • McKinley T. Jackson – horn arrangement


  • Larkin Arnold – executive producer
  • Mike Butcher – engineer, mixing
  • Brian Gardner, Alan Zentz – mastering
  • John Kovarek – engineer
  • Henri Van Durme – engineer


Chart performance for Midnight Love
Chart (1982)Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[36]23
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[37]7
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[38]8
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[39]20
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[40]6
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[41]14
UK Albums (OCC)[42]10
US Billboard 200[43]7
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[44]1


Certifications for Midnight Love
RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
France (SNEP)[46]Gold118,800[45]
United Kingdom (BPI)[47]Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA)[48]3× Platinum3,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "100 Best Albums of the Eighties: Marvin Gaye, Midnight Love". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Acclaimed Music – Midnight Love". Archived from the original on September 22, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  3. ^ Ritz 1991, pp. 280–281.
  4. ^ Ritz 1991, p. 281.
  5. ^ Des Barres 1996, p. 114.
  6. ^ Gaye 2003, p. 132.
  7. ^ a b c d 1634 to 1699:McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy ofthe United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700-1799:McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present:Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Ritz 2007, p. 11.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Humo 1994.
  11. ^ Marvin Gaye: Behind the Legend, 2006
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "'The Man Was a Genius': Tales from Making Marvin Gaye's Final Album". The Atlantic. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  13. ^ Gaye 2003, p. 144.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Ritz 2007, p. 12.
  16. ^ Midnight Love liner notes, p. 11 (2001)
  17. ^ Ritz 2007, p. 13.
  18. ^ a b c Ritz 2007, p. 15.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Seidenberg, Robert (July 4, 1985). "Dream Of A Lifetime".
  23. ^ Pareles, Jon (May 12, 1985). "For Marvin Gaye, Life - Through Song - Goes On" – via
  24. ^ Stone, James Henke, Rolling. "GAYE ALBUM A MISHMASH; QUEEN SOUND IS BACK".
  25. ^ Allmusic review
  26. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1990). "G". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  27. ^ Graff, Gary; du Lac, Josh Freedom; McFarlin, Jim, eds. (1998). "Marvin Gaye". MusicHound R&B: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1578590264.
  28. ^ a b "Midnight Love – Album Reviews". January 20, 1983. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  29. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (1992). "Marvin Gaye". The Rolling Stone Album Guide (3rd ed.). Random House. ISBN 0-679-73729-4.
  30. ^ Hull, Tom (n.d.). "Grade List: Marvin Gaye". Tom Hull – on the Web. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  31. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 30, 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  32. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Midnight Love". December 18, 1982. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  33. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 22, 1983). "Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  34. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  35. ^ "Slaves to the rhythm". CBC News. November 28, 2008. Retrieved November 28, 2008.
  36. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  37. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6200a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  38. ^ " – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  39. ^ " – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  40. ^ " – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  41. ^ " – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  42. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  43. ^ "Marvin Gaye Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  44. ^ "Marvin Gaye Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  45. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  46. ^ "French album certifications – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  47. ^ "British album certifications – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Midnight Love in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  48. ^ "American album certifications – Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love". Recording Industry Association of America.


  • Des Barres, Pamela (1996). Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon. Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-14853-4.
  • Gaye, Frankie (2003). Marvin Gaye, My. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-742-0.
  • "Marvin Gaye: From Misery to Ostend". March 14, 1994. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • Ritz, David (1991). Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye. Cambridge, Mass: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81191-X.
  • Ritz, David (2007). Midnight Love and the Sexual Healing Sessions.


Veröffentlichungen von Marvin Gaye die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:

His Classic Duets ¦ Every Great Motown Hit Of Marvin Gaye ¦ Live In Montreux 1980 ¦ Midnight Love ¦ Volume One: 1961-1965 ¦ Diana & Marvin ¦ What’s Going On ¦ What’s Going On: Live

Marvin Gaye auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye (* 2. April 1939 als Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. in Washington, D.C.; † 1. April 1984 in Los Angeles, Kalifornien) war ein US-amerikanischer Soul- und R&B-Sänger der 1960er, 1970er und frühen 1980er Jahre.


Marvin Gaye wurde als Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. in Washington, D.C. geboren. Sein Vater war Prediger der Pfingstgemeinde „Church of God, House of Prayer“, einer konservativen Sektion der Church of God. Marvin Gaye hatte einen älteren Halbbruder, Michael Cooper, eine ältere und eine jüngere Schwester und einen jüngeren Bruder, , der später ebenfalls Musiker wurde. Das „e“ fügten Marvin und sein Bruder nachträglich ihrem Nachnamen hinzu – einerseits um Sam Cooke zu imitieren, der dasselbe getan hatte, andererseits um sich von ihrem Vater abzugrenzen und auch um Doppeldeutigkeiten im Zusammenhang mit ihrem Namen („gay“ bedeutet im Englischen „schwul“) zu vermeiden. Marvin Gaye sang im Schulchor und lernte später Klavier und Schlagzeug spielen. Als Schlagzeuger arbeitete Gaye später u. a. mit Smokey Robinson und The Miracles.

Nach dem Schulabschluss trat Gaye in die United States Air Force ein. Nach seiner Entlassung spielte er in verschiedenen Doo-Wop-Gruppen, u. a. bei The Rainbows. Mit Bo Diddley veröffentlichten The Rainbows die Single Wyatt Earp (1958, Okeh). Sie wurden anschließend von Harvey Fuqua engagiert und benannten sich in The Moonglows um. Mama Loocie (1959, Chess Records) war Gayes erste Single mit The Moonglows.

Die Jahre bei Motown

Nach einem Konzert in Detroit, Michigan, wurde Gaye von Berry Gordy Jr. von Motown Records für eine Solokarriere unter Vertrag genommen. Marvin Gaye heiratete 1961 dessen Schwester (1922–2014). Er veröffentlichte bis 1962 drei Singles, die allesamt nicht erfolgreich waren. Erst sein vierter Versuch, Stubborn Kind of Fellow, und die 1963 veröffentlichten Singles Hitch Hike und Can I Get a Witness waren kleine Hits.

Pride and Joy (1963) wurde ein „Smashhit“, aber Gaye war zunehmend unzufrieden mit der Rolle des romantischen Schnulzensängers, in die er sich bei Motown Records gezwungen sah. Together (1964) war Gayes erstes Album, das es in die Charts schaffte. Bis 1977 brachte er 39 Top-40-Songs für Motown heraus, viele davon Duette mit Mary Wells, Kim Weston und Tammi Terrell.

Zusammen mit Terrell, mit der er seit 1967 zusammenarbeitete, hatte er viele große Hits, wie Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967), Your Precious Love (1967), Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing (1968) und You’re All I Need to Get By (1968). Dazwischen hatte Gaye seinen bis dato größten Hit I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Der Zusammenarbeit mit Terrell war nur kurze Dauer beschieden. Nachdem sie bereits seit 1965 oder 1966 unter immer wiederkehrenden Kopfschmerzen litt, die im Laufe der Zeit zunahmen, kollabierte Terrell am 14. Oktober 1967 in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, bei einem gemeinsamen Auftritt im Rahmen einer Tournee. Nachdem sich bei ihr kurz darauf zusätzlich Lähmungserscheinungen zeigten, brach Terrell die Tournee ab, um sich im Krankenhaus von Philadelphia untersuchen zu lassen. Dort wurde erst bei ihrem zweiten Aufenthalt im Januar erkannt, dass sie an einem Hirntumor erkrankt war. Währenddessen führte Gaye die Tournee mit anderen Gesangspartnerinnen zu Ende. Nach insgesamt sieben Operationen zur Beseitigung des Tumors und der Folgeschäden starb Terrell am 16. März 1970. Zwischenzeitlich nahm diese, soweit es ihr Gesundheitszustand zuließ, weiter im Studio auf, auch zusammen mit Gaye. Teilweise wurden damals aber auch Soloaufnahmen Terrells aus der Zeit vor dem Bekanntwerden ihrer Krankheit durch Gaye besungen und durch Overdubbing zu Duetten gemacht. Ob Terrell die letzten vier Lieder des letzten gemeinsamen Albums Easy selbst sang oder ob es Valerie Simpson war, dazu gibt es unterschiedliche Aussagen. Marvin Gaye hielt bei der Beerdigung Tammi Terrells eine bewegende Rede und fiel danach in Depressionen.

Gaye veröffentlichte 1971 das Album What’s Going On, das eines der berühmtesten Soulalben wurde und sich aufgrund der musikalischen Arrangements (Verwendung von Elementen aus Jazz und Klassik) sowie der Texte (politische Aussagen zu Umweltschutz, politischer Korruption, Drogenmissbrauch und Vietnamkrieg) von anderen damaligen Produktionen des Genres und insbesondere der Motown-Produktionen unterschied. Auf dem Album verarbeitete Gaye sein Entsetzen über die Berichte seines Bruders Frankie, der gerade aus dem Vietnamkrieg zurückgekehrt war, seine Trauer über den frühen Tod seiner Duettpartnerin Tammi Terrell und diverse private Probleme. Die Inspiration kam durch die Musiker Renaldo „Obie“ Benson und , die Gaye im Juni 1970 ermunterten, ihren neuen Song What’s Going On mitzuproduzieren und ihn bei Motown zu veröffentlichen. Schließlich wurde entschieden, dass Gaye selbst den Gesangspart übernehmen sollte. Berry Gordy weigerte sich zunächst, die Single zu veröffentlichen, da er sie für zu kritisch und kommerziell wenig erfolgversprechend hielt. Erst als Gaye damit drohte, nie wieder für Motown zu singen, lenkte Gordy ein. Nachdem die Single mit Platz eins der R&B- und Platz zwei der US-Pop-Charts großen Erfolg hatte, machte Gordy eine Kehrtwendung und forderte Gaye dazu auf, ein komplettes Album in diesem Stil zu produzieren. Gaye erhielt dabei weitreichende Freiheiten. Das daraus resultierende gleichnamige Album hatte drei Top-Ten-Singles, u. a. das Titelstück und Mercy Mercy Me. What’s Going On?, und ist ein „in sich geschlossenes“ Album, da die einzelnen Songs ohne Pausen ineinander übergehen.

Die 1972 veröffentlichte Single You’re The Man erreichte wieder die Top Ten der R&B-Charts, war in den Popcharts allerdings nur mäßig erfolgreich. Daraufhin wurde das dazugehörige Album namens You’re The Man gar nicht erst veröffentlicht. Sämtliche Aufnahmen landeten für mehr als 45 Jahre in der Schublade. Erst im April 2019 erschien das Album zum 80. Geburtstag von Marvin Gaye.[1]

Let’s Get It On (1973) war ein sexuell und romantisch aufgeladenes Album, das sehr erfolgreich war, es bis in die Charts schaffte und Platz 164 der 500 besten Alben aller Zeiten der Musikzeitschrift Rolling Stone wurde.[2] Am 4. September 1974 wurde Marvin Gayes Tochter Nona Gaye geboren. Gaye tat sich mit Diana Ross als „Marvin and Diana“ zusammen und veröffentlichte den Soundtrack zu Trouble Man. I Want You war 1975, in dem Jahr, in dem seine Ehe schließlich scheiterte, das nächste Soloalbum. Aufgrund unterlassener Unterhaltszahlungen zwang ein Gerichtsurteil Gaye 1976, ein weiteres Album aufzunehmen und die Tantiemen daraus seiner Ex-Frau zu überschreiben. Bei dem Album handelte es sich um Here, My Dear (1978), ein sehr persönliches Album, so intim, dass Anna Gordy darüber nachdachte, Gaye wegen Verletzung ihres Persönlichkeitsrechts zu verklagen. 1980 trat Gaye beim Montreux Jazz Festival auf. Nach einer erfolglosen Single und einer rasch gescheiterten zweiten Ehe zog Gaye zunächst nach Hawaii und, als er Probleme mit der US-Steuerbehörde bekam, 1981 schließlich ins belgische Ostende.

Comeback und Tod

Noch in Belgien begann Gaye, an dem Album In Our Lifetime zu arbeiten, seiner letzten Arbeit für Motown. 1982 schloss er einen Plattenvertrag mit Columbia Records ab und veröffentlichte Midnight Love. Dieses Album enthielt einen seiner bekanntesten Songs, Sexual Healing.

Schon seit den Jahren bei Motown war Gaye kokainabhängig. Nach einer Amerikatournee, während der er mit Depression und anderen gesundheitlichen Problemen zu kämpfen hatte, zog er Ende August 1983 zu seinen Eltern, um sich in deren Haus zurückzuziehen. Mehrfach drohte Gaye nach Streitigkeiten mit seinem Vater damit, sich umzubringen. Am 1. April 1984, einen Tag vor seinem 45. Geburtstag, wurde Gaye von seinem Vater im Verlauf eines weiteren Streits erschossen. Die Tatwaffe hatte Gaye seinem Vater zu Weihnachten geschenkt.[3] Dieser wurde dafür wegen Totschlags zu einer Bewährungsstrafe verurteilt.

Andenken und postume Ehrungen

Statue von Marvin Gaye, Casino-Kursaal Oostende

Marvin Gaye wurde 1987 in die Rock and Roll Hall of Fame aufgenommen. 1990 erhielt Gaye einen Stern auf dem Walk of Fame.

Zahlreiche Musiker erwiesen Gaye in ihren Werken ihre Reverenz, darunter 2Pac, The Commodores, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weather Report und Paul Young.

2002 bezeichnete Prince die beiden Stücke What’s Going On (1971) und Let’s Get It On (1973) als zwei von 55 Songs, die ihn musikalisch inspiriert haben.

Im Jahr 2006 wurde der Watts Branch Park, ein Park in Washington DC, den Gaye häufig als Teenager besuchte, in Marvin Gaye Park umbenannt. 2009 wurde in Deanwood der 5200 Block der Foote Street NE in Marvin Gaye Way umbenannt.

Der Rolling Stone setzte Gaye auf Platz 18 der 100 größten Musiker sowie auf Platz 6 der 100 besten Sänger und Platz 82 der 100 besten Songwriter aller Zeiten.[4][5][6]

Die Hafenstadt Ostende ehrte seinen Gast, indem es 2014 zu Gayes 75. Geburts- und 30. Todestag eine Gedenkplatte in der Strandpromenade einließ, nahe seiner Wohnung in der Residence/Residentie Jane, Albert-I.-Promenade 77.[7] Auch befindet sich in der Stadt in einem Foyer eines Casinos eine lebensgroße Bronzestatue.[8]

Im August 2014 wurde Gaye postum in die Hall of Fame für Rhythm and Blues Music aufgenommen. 2015 brachten Charlie Puth und Meghan Trainor das Lied Marvin Gaye heraus; eine Hommage an dessen Song Sexual Healing. 2016 wurde Gaye postum in die Songwriters Hall of Fame aufgenommen. In Los Angeles wurde 2018 eine Poststelle offiziell in Marvin Gaye Post Office umbenannt.[9] Ein Jahr später gab der United States Postal Service eine Briefmarke von Gaye zu seinem 80. Geburtstag heraus.[10]



JahrTitelHöchstplatzierung, Gesamtwochen, AuszeichnungChartplatzierungenChartplatzierungen[11][12][13]
(Jahr, Titel, Plat­zie­rungen, Wo­chen, Aus­zeich­nungen, Anmer­kungen)
(16 Wo.)US
mit Mary Wells
Erstveröffentlichung: 15. April 1964
Aufnahme: Hitsville USA Studios, Detroit
Produzenten: Clarence Paul, Mickey Stevenson
1965How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by YouUS128
(10 Wo.)US
(7 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 21. Januar 1965
Produzenten: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Berry Gordy
1966Moods of Marvin GayeUS118
(10 Wo.)US
(17 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 23. Mai 1966
Produzenten: Smokey Robinson, Brian Holland,
Lamont Dozier, Clarence Paul
Take TwoR&B24
(2 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 25. August 1966
mit Kim Weston
Produzenten: Harvey Fuqua, William Stevenson
(44 Wo.)US
(22 Wo.)R&B
mit Tammi Terrell
Erstveröffentlichung: 29. August 1967
Produzenten: Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol,
Hal Davis, Berry Gordy, Jr.
1968You’re All I NeedUS60
(21 Wo.)US
(19 Wo.)R&B
mit Tammi Terrell
Erstveröffentlichung: August 1968
Produzenten: Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol
1969In the Groove /
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
(27 Wo.)US
(30 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 26. August 1968
Produzenten: Ashford & Simpson, Ivy Jo Hunter,
Frank Wilson,Norman Whitfield, Mickey Gentile,
Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, George Gordy
M. P. G.US33
(18 Wo.)US
(32 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 30. April 1969
Produzent: Norman Whitfield
(2 Wo.)US
mit Tammi Terrell
Erstveröffentlichung: 16. September 1969
Produzenten: Ashford & Simpson, Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol
1970That’s the Way Love IsUS189
(3 Wo.)US
(16 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 8. Januar 1970
Produzent: Norman Whitfield
1971What’s Going OnCH58
(… Wo.)CH

(11 Wo.)UK

(… Wo.)US
(53 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 21. Mai 1971
Re-Entry (R&B): 1984, Platz 49, 5 Wochen
Charteintritt in UK erst im Februar 1998
Produzent: Marvin Gaye
Platz 1 der Rolling-Stone-500 (2020); Grammy Hall of Fame
1973Trouble ManUS14
(21 Wo.)US
(21 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 8. Dezember 1972
Produzent: Marvin Gaye
Let’s Get It OnUK39

(1 Wo.)UK
(61 Wo.)US
(46 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 28. August 1973
Produzenten: Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye
Platz 422 der Rolling-Stone-500 (2020)[2]; Grammy Hall of Fame
Diana & MarvinUK6

(45 Wo.)UK
(47 Wo.)US
(27 Wo.)R&B
mit Diana Ross
Erstveröffentlichung: 26. Oktober 1973
Aufnahme: Motown Recording Studios Hollywood
Produzenten: Hal Davis, Suzee Ikeda
1976I Want YouUS4
(28 Wo.)US
(26 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 16. März 1976
Produzenten: Leon Ware, T-Boy Ross, Hal Davis
1978Here, My DearUS26
(21 Wo.)US
(26 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 15. Dezember 1978
Produzent: Marvin Gaye
Platz 493 der Rolling-Stone-500 (2020)
1981In Our LifetimeUK48
(4 Wo.)UK
(17 Wo.)US
(22 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 15. Januar 1981
Produzent: Marvin Gaye
1982Midnight LoveDE48
(4 Wo.)DE

(16 Wo.)UK

(41 Wo.)US
(43 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: 1. Oktober 1982
Aufnahme: Studio Katy, Ohain, Belgien
Produzent: Marvin Gaye
1985Dream of a LifetimeUK46
(4 Wo.)UK
(15 Wo.)US
(20 Wo.)R&B
Erstveröffentlichung: Mai 1985
Produzenten: Gordon Banks, Harvey Fuqua, Marvin Gaye
2019You’re the ManDE46
(3 Wo.)DE
(1 Wo.)CH
(1 Wo.)UK
(1 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 29. März 2019

grau schraffiert: keine Chartdaten aus diesem Jahr verfügbar

Weitere Studioalben

  • 1961: The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye (VÖ: 8. Juni)
  • 1962: That Stubborn Kinda Fellow (VÖ: Dezember)
  • 1964: Marvin Gaye
  • 1964: When I’m Alone I Cry (VÖ: 1. April)
  • 1964: Hello Broadway (VÖ: 12. November)
  • 1965: A Tribute to the Great Nat King Cole (VÖ: 1. November)
  • 1985: Romantically Yours (VÖ: November)
  • 1986: Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye
  • 1997: Vulnerable (VÖ: 22. April)


  • Stambler, Irwin: The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul. 3. überarbeitete Auflage, New York City, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989, S. 250–252, ISBN 0-312-02573-4.


Commons: Marvin Gaye – Sammlung von Bildern, Videos und Audiodateien


  1. Daniel Gerhardt: Vor 47 Jahren für Spotify geschrieben. In: Die Zeit. 31. März 2019, abgerufen am 2. April 2019.
  2. a b RS500 (Liste 2020)
  3. Susan Niasseri: 1984: Marvin Gaye wird vom eigenen Vater erschossen. In: The Rolling Stone. 1. April 2014, abgerufen am 1. März 2015.
  4. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone, 2. Dezember 2010, abgerufen am 7. August 2017 (englisch).
  5. RANKING DES ROLLING STONE: Das sind die besten Sänger aller Zeiten. In: Handelsblatt. 15. Mai 2013, abgerufen am 1. März 2015.
  6. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone, August 2015, abgerufen am 7. August 2017 (englisch).
  7. Auf den Spuren von Marvin Gaye. In: Visit Oostende. Abgerufen am 2. April 2016 (Veröffentlichungsdatum unbekannt).
  8. Soulstar Marvin Gaye wäre heute 80 Jahre alt geworden – Seinen größten Song schrieb er in Ostende
  9. Bill to Name Post Office for Marvin Gaye Signed Into Law, abgerufen am 7. Mai 2020
  10. Post Office Celebrates Life of Marvin Gaye with New Stamp. In: Los Angeles Sentinel. 4. April 2019, abgerufen am 25. Februar 2021 (amerikanisches Englisch).
  11. Chartquellen: Singles Alben Schweiz UK US
  12. The Billboard Albums von Joel Whitburn, 6th Edition, Record Research 2006, ISBN 0-89820-166-7.
  13. Joel Whitburn: Top R&B Albums 1965–1998, ISBN 0-89820-134-9.


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