Marvin Gaye ‎– The Best Of Marvin Gaye - Volume 2 - The 70's

Motown ‎– 012 153 732-2
CD, Compilation, Remastered

Tracklist Hide Credits

1 Marvin Gaye What's Going On
Arranged By – David Van DePitteProducer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Al Cleveland, Marvin Gaye, Renaldo Benson
2 Marvin Gaye Trouble Man
Arranged By – Dale OehlerProducer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Marvin Gaye
3 Marvin Gaye Let's Get It On
Arranged By – René Hall*Producer – Ed Townsend, Marvin GayeWritten-By – Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye
4 Marvin Gaye Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Arranged By – David Van DePitteProducer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Marvin Gaye
5 Marvin Gaye Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
Arranged By – David Van DePitteProducer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – James Nyx, Marvin Gaye
6 Marvin Gaye Distant Lover (Live)
Arranged By, Conductor – Leslie DraytonProducer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Gwen Gordy Fuqua, Marvin Gaye, Sandra Greene
7 Marvin Gaye with Diana Ross You're A Special Part Of Me
Producer – Berry GordyWritten-By – Andrew Porter, Greg Wright, Harold Johnson
8 Marvin Gaye Come Get To This
Arranged By – David Van DePitte, Gene PageProducer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Marvin Gaye
9 Marvin Gaye I Want You
Arranged By – Coleridge Taylor Perkinson*Producer – T-Boy Ross*, Leon WareWritten-By – T-Boy Ross*, Leon Ware
10 Marvin Gaye My Last Chance
Producer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Anna Gordy*, Elgie Stover, Marvin Gaye
11 Marvin Gaye Got To Give It Up, Part 1
Producer – Marvin GayeWritten-By – Marvin Gaye

Companies, etc.



All songs previously released on Tamla Records, except #10, released on Motown Records.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 6 01215 37322 6
  • Barcode (String): 601215373226

Other Versions (3 of 3) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
012 153 732-4 Marvin Gaye The Best Of Marvin Gaye - Volume 2 - The 70's(Cass, Comp, Dol) Motown 012 153 732-4 Canada 2000 Sell This Version
B0007762-02 Marvin Gaye The Best Of Marvin Gaye - Volume 2 - The 70's(CD, Comp, RM) Motown B0007762-02 US 2000 Sell This Version
012 153 732-2 Marvin Gaye The Best Of Marvin Gaye - Volume 2 - The 70's(CD, Comp, RM) Motown 012 153 732-2 Canada 2000 Sell This Version



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May 7, 2016

The late, great Marvin Gaye was an utter musical genius, his talents remaining unparalleled.He had progressed from the predictable sounds of Motown in the 60s to far more profound, socially conscious material in the 70s and was going from strength to strength. This collection mainly concentrates on his 70s material, though does include a posthumous hit which was mixed in 1990. Although 20th Century Masters compilations are always short, this still makes for an excellent sampler of his career highlight from the 70s. So, here's what's on offer here:


Quite simply, the greatest EVER recording in soul music history! It's unfathomable to think that Berry Gordy initially declared this the worst thing he'd ever heard! What's Going On was even cited by Nelson Mandella as being something of a spiritual clutch during his years in prison. Ben Edmonds', though, erroneously hailed it as "Motown's first true social commentary", totally dismissing Motown's album releases by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, and the likes of Diana Ross & The Supremes' Love Child and The Temptations' Cloud Nine as being "more talk than action".

Written by Renaldo "Obie" Benson of the Four Tops and Al Cleveland, it had originally been ear-marked for Motown group The Originals. Marvin took an additional songwriting credit too, as after Tammi Terrell's tragic death in 1970, he had taken a keen and active interest in political and spiritual matters. I was surprised to learn that Marvin had refused to record the song at first, only given in after Obie Benson's persistent pestering. During the recording session, everyone smoked a lot of weed, with a stoned James Jamerson playing the bass part whilst lying on his back. Marvin even allowed two of his football associates Mel Farr and Len Barney to participate on backing vocals.

Yet through all the relaxed communality, came one of the greatest recordings of all time, and Marvin delivers a stirring, soulful vocal performance. He was understandbly stung by the negative reception it received from Berry Gordy, who predicted it would be a monumental flop! However, it struck a chord in America, still reeling from the turbulence and shock of the civil unrest in the 1960s.

The recording features the prominent and exhilarating use of an alto-sax that gently weaves in and out of the verses and chorus, while Marvin's emotive voice enhances the beautifully flowing arrangement. Deservedly, it sped up to the top of the R&B listing and fell just one place short of the no.1 spot on the pop chart where it was prevented by The Temptations Just My Imagination. Timeless, and sadly just as relevant now as it was back in 1971.


An exhilarating, yet sorely overlooked masterpiece, Gaye would even declare this as one of the most honest recordings he ever made. He would play drums and piano on the recording and provided all vocals himself, much of which he sings in his falsetto range, steadily turning into a gospel-style growl during the bridge. Haunting in mood, the keyboard and piano-led arrangement drifts gently up and down, this followed on from his sublime What's Going On project and was the theme song to the film of the same name, an Ivan Dixon blaxploitation flick. While it rushed into the American top ten, it yet again fared badly in the UK, completely missing a foothold on the top forty.


Around the time of this recording, Marvin Gaye had become rather complacent, sensing he had achieved everything professionally and was content with enjoying recreational time with old friends. Any idea of recording more work would be done as and when he felt like it, as far as he was concerned. Although he had recorded an album of duets with Diana Ross in 1972 (released in 1973), Berry Gordy had relentlessly tried to get more product from him. These matters would not take a decisive turn until Marvin hooked up with an old acquaintance, Ed Townsend. Townsend just so happened to have several songs in the making, one of which was provisionally entitled Let's Get On, which he demo-ed at Gaye's apartment in Culver City.

Townsend's conception was a call to 'get on with life', but Marvin decided to develop the song into something more sensual and erotic. The song's content was further fuelled by the arrival of Townsend's friend Barbara Hunter, and in particular her beautiful seventeen-year-old daughter Janis, with whom Gaye became immediately obsessed. Despite the fact that he was a married man and Janis was still in high school, they became lovers and eventually married.

Drifting upwards and falling throughout the recording, Let's Get It On held the basic musical mood and style of his acclaimed masterpiece What's Going On. With a gently bouncing bassline, the track is infused with a mellow intimacy, all of which is captured in the seductive title phrase. Yet, even the though the overall tone is relaxed, Gaye expresses urgency in his vocal performance which is exemplified by his agonised growls during the verses. At times these growls verge on the orgasmic, his intense passion and urges pouring out.

Released in the summer of 1973, Let's Get It On was met with unanimous public and critical approval, reportedly being a certified gold-seller on the day it was released. Hitting the top of both the pop and soul charts, it (bizarrely) was met with a considerably cooler reception in the UK, peaking at #31.


A track solely written and produced by Marvin himself, this was one of many singles culled from his evergreen masterpiece What's Going On in 1971. The text could be described as being Gaye's most outreaching, musing humanity's destructive tendencies, the pollution of natural environment, nuclear radiation and global over-population. The track kicks off straight into verse one, while a powerfully circulating four-chord spirals around five times in a minute and a half. An urgent message song in its plea, Gaye is featured here in double-tracked vocals, while the closing passage sees the incredible Funk Brothers - Motown's legendary in-house band - take centre stage, with a particularly prominent wailing sax solo being incredibly effective. Another number one R&B hit, it also reached the pop top five in America yet got nowhere near the UK top forty.


Another of Gaye's essential classics, Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) is utterly captivating. Gaye's unique, distinct voice surfs along the sweeping musical landscapes and just listen to the delightful sounds of Motown's heroes The Funk Brother's (Motown's in-house musicians) masterful, well-crafted, dynamic playing in what has to be one of their most startling and memorable sessions.

Inner City Blues began as a variation of an old Drifters' number, after being initially developed by Elgie Stover (uncredited). Using the basic rhythms as a canvas, Gaye and Motown's lift operator James Nyx began throwing phrases around aimed at social and political issues. With a working title of The Tail End, the title Inner City Blues replaced it after Nyx stumbled on the phrase in the Detroit press.

Lifted from What's Going On as a single a year after it had been recorded, the single raced to the top of the R&B chart and gained Gaye another pop top ten smash hit. Yet, as with all of Gaye's singles from around this period, it failed to hit the UK top forty chart.


Initially used as the B-side of his single Come Get To This from the Let's Get It On album, it was later issued as a live recording single in 1974. Here, he builds the song from a mellow version of his Trouble Man instrumental Theme From Trouble Man. After a brief introduction, Marvin begins to sing the song in his provocative vocal style, leading all the female members in attendance (recorded at the Oakland Coliseum) to begin screaming in sheer delight. It's brimming with steamy sensuality and unsurprisingly Distant Lover would prove to be a show-stopper in many of his concerts throughout the duration of the decade.


Motown's two biggest male and female singers hooked up for an album of duets in 1973 which became a huge international success. The project didn't go at all smoothly though. Marvin was on a personal downward spiral, having been caught up in the whirlwind of drugs. He had a regular cocaine habit, drank heavily and smoked dope, which led to him suffering acute paranoid delusions and severe depression. Diana Ross was completely straight and because Marvin smoked dope during the recording sessions they clashed, leading to them recording much of the album apart. Publicly, though, they spoke very highly about one another.

Their Diana And Marvin album heralded a string of singles in both America and the UK. The first of these was the dazzling You're A Special Part Of Me, where the singers sound so compatible and put in solid, assertive performances, their ad-libs working well at the end of the song. It was obvious that all concerned went to great lengths to recapture the magic of Marvin's famous duets with Tammi. Written by Gregory wright, Harold Johnson and Andrew Parker, with production by Berry Gordy, and an enchanting arrangement by James Carmichael, the single was released in September 1973, climbing to #12 on the US pop 100 and #4 R&B. Curiously, this failed to catch on in the UK, where it was totally ignored, not even making a mere blip on the charts.


Lifted as a single from Let's Get It On in January 1974, this Marvin Gaye-penned song had been originally earmarked for The Originals. This actually sounds like a classic from Motown's heyday in the 60s. Bearing a slick, groovy arrangement with a sax weaving in out of the mx, the sumptuous backdrop of harmonies along with Gaye's (as always) superb lead make this another divine classic to his credit.


Written by Leon Ware and Arthur 'T-Boy' Ross (brother of Diana Ross), I Want You saw Gaye finding sanctuary in the studio, as at that time he'd work as and when he felt like it, spending most of his days snorting cocaine and smoking weed. He was going through a messy divorce at this time which no doubt added to his many personal demons. But, as was always the case, Gaye turned his pain into musical art.
Gaye's take of I Want You began as a jam on 21 February 1975, and was re-visited on no less than eight occasions over March, May and June, before being over-dubbed on four further dates late in the year. You really can't detect this in the resulting recording as it sounds remarkably fresh as though it had been nailed in just one take. The fusion of guitars, vocals, and throbbing percussion all mesh well together, while Coleridge Taylor Parkinson's arrangement captures Gaye at his most sensual, his voice tinged with an erotic edge. While the track jumped into the US top twenty chart, it was yet another to hit the top of the R&B listing. Bizarrely, considering how renowned I Want You is, it failed to chart in the UK. It has since been covered numerous times by artists ranging from Madonna, Robert Palmer, Diana Ross, among many others.


Beautifully orchestrated, My Last Chance was originally recorded as a demo around the time of What's Going On. Initially an instrumental, Gaye would add lyrics and vocals two years later and The Miracles would record the song for their 1973 album Renaissance, under the title I Love You Secretly.
Following the1990 box-set The Marvin Gaye Collection, Motown remixed the track, enhancing it with a contemporary R&B-style quiet storm sound. Issued to R&B stations, this scored Gaye his first Billboard hit as a posthumous artist.


Well I'm sure you remember all the hype about Robin Thicke and Pharrell blatantly ripping off this track's arrangement for the Blurred Lines single. There really is no contest: this wins hands-down. Funky, groovy, recorded in a mock-party atmosphere with lots of crowd noises dubbed in. Instantly infectious, this makes for a brilliant finale to this compilation.

Ian Phillips