Album of the Day: Marvin Gaye (8/28/73)

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Few R&B artists (and even fewer rock artists) have had the triple whammy of back-to-back-to-back masterpieces that Marvin Gaye produced with What’s Going On, Trouble Man and Let’s Get It On. All the more remarkable is that these three albums (the latter released on August 28, 1973) are in theme, tone and texture quite different. While 1971’s  What’s Going On (see blog post for May 21) was a groundbreaking, languid and flowing social commentary and 1972’s Trouble Man an uptempo “blaxploitation” soundtrack, Let’s Get It On was pure Marvin: sensual, erotic and soulful. The album exudes sexuality across all tracks. Whether overtly hedonistic (try “You Sure Love To Ball”) or through innuendo (“Distant Lover”), sexually-charged lyrics sway above slow ballads and funky rhythms. For that, Let’s Get It On is often cited as a forerunner of the lush, drawn-out “quiet storm” genre of R&B/soul music that appeared in the mid-70s. And the album was Marvin Gaye’s most commercially successful, reaching #1 and #2, respectively, on the Billboard soul and pop charts. Let’s Get It On is available on Amazon and iTunes, and Marvin Gaye is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.

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