Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Read: "Trouble Man: the life and death of Marvin Gaye" by Steve Turner

"Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye"

By Steve Turner, Published in 2000.

Not so great but a decent and basic biography about Gaye. Turner uses a lot of sources to track Gaye's life from childhood in Washington, D.C. to member of touring vocal groups to product of the Motown hit machine. Gaye had good success as a Motown product and then hit the big time with "What's Going On" and "Let's Get it On".

Gaye had a great singing voice but disliked getting pegged into any specific musical style; he seemed very concerned with his reputation and wanted others to take his work seriously. Gaye became a heavy drug user and his religious training was at odds with his promiscuity and party lifestyle and was reflected in the different music he recorded over the years. Those two sides melded into the sex-as-religion-dude image that was cultivated in the later '70s and the '80s.

It was not clear how many people Turner spoke to himself and many past interviews he rehashed. Of course, I suppose I could have looked at the endnotes to find out.

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