Old School Music of the Day

You’re All I Need to Get By: 1968
What’s Going On: 1970–72

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell weren’t lovers, contrary to popular belief. “We were in love when we sang,” Marvin Gaye has been quoted saying. They recorded hit songs such as “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, “It Takes Two”, and “You’re All I Need to Get By”, which was released in 1968, a year after Tammi’s collapse on stage from a brain tumor in October, 1967. Talented husband and wife team, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, wrote and produced all of the Gaye/Terrell songs.

The following quote is from online resource, Wikipedia:

“Tammi Terrell died of a brain tumor on March 16, 1970. Gaye was so emotional at her funeral that he talked to her lying in state as if she were going to respond. He went into seclusion and did not perform in concert for nearly two years. Gaye entered the studio on June 1, 1970 and recorded “What’s Going On”, “God Is Love”, and “Sad Tomorrows” – an early version of “Flying High (In The Friendly Sky)”. Gaye wanted to release “What’s Going On”, but Berry Gordy refused, calling the single “the worst record I ever heard”. Gaye threatened to leave Motown unless the record was released. Gordy eventually relented and the song was released with little publicity in January 1971. Despite no backing from Motown, the single became a hit, peaking at number-one on the Billboard R&B charts for five weeks. It is also rated the fourth best song of all time by Rolling Stone. After the single’s success, Gordy requested an entire album of similar tracks.

The What’s Going On album became one of the highlights of Gaye’s career and is his best-known work. Both in terms of its funk and jazz-influenced sound and personal lyrical content, it was a departure from his earlier Motown work. Two more of its singles, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”, became Top 10 pop hits and #1 R&B hits. The album became one of the most memorable soul albums and, based upon its themes, the concept album became the frontier for soul music. It has been called “the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices”.”

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