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An Evening With Marvin Gaye’s You’re The Man

Celebrating Marvin Gaye’s 80th Birthday Featuring a Panel Discussion with Jan Gaye, David Ritz, Nolan Shaheed, and Harry Weinger

On what would have been Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday, the GRAMMY Museum will celebrate his long-lasting legacy with a panel discussion about You’re The Man, Gaye’s planned but never-issued 1972 Tamla/Motown album. The album, a shelved follow-up to What’s Going On, will be released by Motown/UMe in 2LP vinyl and digital editions on March 29th (CD release to follow on April 26). Selected tracks from the album will be played and discussed by a panel including Gaye’s second wife, Jan Gaye; Gaye’s biographer and co-writer of “Sexual Healing” David Ritz; Gaye's musical director and trumpeter from 1976 through 1979 Nolan Shaheed (formerly known as Nolan Smith); and UMe A&R VP Harry Weinger, who produced the album’s new release and will moderate the discussion.

 

ABOUT YOU’RE THE MAN

Preorder You're The Man here.

In 1972, Marvin Gaye was on top: or so it seemed. In 1971, “What’s Going On,” “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler”),” the three singles from his universally acclaimed album What’s Going On, had each hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart (since renamed Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) and Top 10 Pop. His new single, “You’re The Man” – a percolating, sarcastic riff on political non-action issued as the U.S. presidential campaign was kicking off – reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart. Gaye saw Motown schedule a You’re The Man album, but when the lead single didn’t cross over Pop, stalling at No. 50, he retreated. Ambivalent about recording, stubborn about moving to Los Angeles with Berry Gordy and Motown, Marvin by his actions proclaimed no more new Marvin Gaye music. Or so it seemed.

 

In this singular and transitional year for the late music legend, Gaye recorded more than an album’s worth of music in Detroit and L.A. He produced himself, creating a suite of aching ballads; he worked with songwriters-becoming-producers Willie Hutch, then known mainly for the Jackson 5 smash “I’ll Be There,” but soon to be lauded for his film scores to The Mack and Foxy Brown; and Pam Sawyer and Gloria Jones, whose “Piece of Clay” for Marvin became a smash decades later in the 1995 film Phenomenon. He cut two sought-after tracks with Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell, half of the hit-making machine behind the Jackson 5; he got together with Hal Davis, who was preparing a Marvin Gaye-Diana Ross album, to cut another topical gem, “The World Is Rated X.” And Marvin funnelled his anger over the Vietnam War, and his brother’s experiences there, into a sequel of sorts to “What’s Going On,” the poetic holiday ballad, “I Want To Come Home For Christmas.” He even re-cut “You’re The Man” as an eerie funk jam, perhaps for the LP as a bookend to the single. None of these tracks or any other on the LP, except the single, were issued at the time.