Monday, March 19, 2007

The Ghost of Marvin Gaye

I'm glad somebody is making a major biopic of Marvin Gaye (4/2/1939-4/1/1984). Given how influential his music has been, continues to be, and will continue to be, it must be a daunting project. Up until now, there hasn't been a truly comprehensive look at the man and his persona put on film.

Recently I watched Marvin Gaye: Behind the Legend (2000, 2002, 2004) a strange little documentary made by Muppets maestro Martin G. Baker. It focuses on his final years, from the late 1970s until his violent death at the hands of his own father, and so provides part of the story, but not all of it, not by a long shot.

While incomplete and without sufficient contextual framing, Marvin Gaye does include fascinating snippets of interviews with Marvin's peers, ex-wives, children and enemies, plus glimpses of Trouble Man pulling himself together for final tour dates and studio work. The most interesting parts to me are his fleeing to Hawaii to escape the shambles of his personal life, heading for England and being left in the lurch by a promoter and having to figure out a way out for the rest of his entourage, and an unlikely and endearing teaming up with a Belgian producer. Marvin's extended stay in Belgium, it appears, gave him a lease on life for one last major throw.

There's also a hilarious scene where, in February 1983, he comes on stage to finally win his first two Grammy Awards (for "Sexual Healing") and is congratulated by Grace Jones and Rick James.

Today's Rune: Partnership.

Birthday: Philip Roth (b.1933) .

Viva Trouble Man!


Johnny Yen said...

He was a remarkably talented-- and troubled-- guy. I discovered his music through a bunch of old 45's my aunt gave me. I sought out his music-- through the different phases, from motown guy, through his amazing What's Going On album, through his later, still great stuff like Sexual Healing, he was great.

I planned on blogging about him on the annivesary of his death, April 1-- about a strange incident that happened the moment I found out he had died.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'd read in today's Detroit Free Press that David Bing (former Detroit Piston) and Marvin Gaye grew up near each other and dreamt of being pro basketball players.

Danny Tagalog said...

There's a lot of stories about him, and his supposed depression over his speed in certain activities. Probably bollocks...