Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”.
Artist: Marvin Gaye
Title: Midnight Love
Label: CBS Records
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 Marvin’s entire career.
Midnight Love contained 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”. 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”.
“Midnight Lady” started off with assorted percussion, provided by Gaye and other musicians, before having its beat delivered by a drum machine and overdubbed handclaps provided by the singer, before keyboard riffs (also played by Gaye), guitar lines by Banks and a horn section joined in. It was almost two minutes before Gaye began singing the song’s first lines. Musically the song had elements of funk, new wave and synthpop; Gaye’s vocals also was 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’ve been influenced by the music of James’. “Sexual Healing” was influenced by Caribbean music and reggae while also including funk elements musically; vocally the song recalled 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. In addition to the original demo, another alternate version mixed both versions. The reggae-inspired “Third World Girl” was 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”. The gospel-influenced “Joy” was a tribute to his father‘s ministry and his own religious background. The song also included a rock-influenced guitar solo from Banks. “My Love is Waiting” had 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 was under just 40 minutes.
1. Midnight Lady (5:17)
2. Sexual Healing (3:59)
3. Rockin’ After Midnight (6:04)
4. ‘Til Tomorrow (4:57)
1. Turn On Some Music (5:08)
2. Third World Girl (4:36)
3. Joy (4:22)
4. My Love Is Waiting (5:07)