Friday, August 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Gaye demolished barriers for Motown, music

decicco column sig

By
From page B1 | March 28, 2014 |

When we lose artists at a young age, we feel cheated.

We grieve both for the person as well as, in some selfish way, for ourselves. Without a personal connection to the person, we grieve the loss of future work.

In the case of Marvin Gaye, the legendary Motown singer, it was the shocking sadness of his April 1, 1984, end. On the heels of his most commercially successful record, he was shot dead in his parents’ home – and the pistol was in his minister father’s hand.

Next week marks two noteworthy landmarks for Gaye: Tuesday is 30 years since his death, but were he still alive, Gaye would’ve celebrated his 75th birthday Wednesday.

For the uninitiated, the inimitable singer spent the ’60s dishing out more hits than a mixed martial arts fighter, a fruitful era featuring such classics as “How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved by You),” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and his iconic stab at “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

By the ’70s, the “Prince of Motown” leveled up. Yearning to better express himself, Gaye started penning his own albums, crafting “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Get it On” and “I Want You,” complete works that were as pivotal in proving the album format could be as vital to soul and R&B as The Beatles did for rock ’n’ roll.

Gaye’s split with Motown in the late ’70s was a period of creative floundering. He worked through a fog of drugs, depression and other issues toward health while crafting “Sexual Healing,” one of his most successful singles, but the supporting tour steered Gaye back to his demons.

Scholar and radio personality Michael Eric Dyson wrote in his book “Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye,” a quiet storm of religion, race and sexuality was as much Gaye’s undoing as his making.

For example, Gaye bought the pistol his father, the Rev. Marvin Gaye Sr., used to shoot and kill his son. Friends and family reported Gaye was depressed and addicted to cocaine prior to his death. Dyson suggests the scenario was sort of a suicide by cop, with Gaye physically assaulting his father until it provoked the desired response.

Frankie Gaye, Marvin’s brother who was there at his death, wrote in an autobiography that the singer told him he “got what (he) wanted,” supporting Dyson’s notion that Gaye coaxed his father to such violence.

While Gaye’s death casts a long shadow, his body of work endures to a younger generation as well.

Gaye set a precedence some modern musicians may take for granted. “What’s Going On” was part of a rebirth for the Motown label in the early 1970s, allowing its artists such as Gaye and Stevie Wonder more creative freedom, with less of an insistence on meeting the Motown sound, typified by distinct low-end tracks and a melding of gospel influences with a pop sensibility.

It also relinquished on songwriting teams, allowing Gaye to craft a concept album that stood as his response to the Vietnam War, the pain and truth of which his veteran brother Frankie Gaye was able to tell him about.

What Gaye did with “What’s Going On” was help bring an African-American voice to the collective conscious about social and political issues in the ’70s, but artistically, he also carved out a wider space for R&B, soul and the Motown sound to be more. A reliance on singles as the primary mode of release was waning and “What’s Going On” – despite its unforgettable title track – made the case of album-based soul.

It gave the freedom for Wonder, too, to craft such songs as “Higher Ground” and “Living for the City,” songs under the Motown flag that carried a level of socio-political savvy as well as having a great groove.

Opening the palette carries through to today. It isn’t crazy to draw a line from Gaye to contemporaries such as John Legend or Miguel, who hold themselves to a bar that marries contemporary issues to their R&B crooning.

While few conversations about Gaye exist without talking about his sudden, sad death, at least there is more to the conversation about him and his legacy than that.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Brown approves ‘dining with dogs’ law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California plans aid to immigrant minors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Opinion

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9