Let’s Get It On
Mrs. QC took to the keyboard for this guest post. Readers, please make her feel welcome.
– Quiet Clown
The late singer Marvin Gaye performed an impressive range of songs. These varied from romantic, to soulful, to commentary on the times, to more “inspirational” (see title of post). Or sometimes, a bit of all of the above.
A recent “American Masters” documentary on PBS featured Marvin, but 60 minutes could barely capture the essence of the talented and troubled man or his music. It did, however briefly, convey some of the effervescent chemistry onstage between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, singing several hit duets, such as “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing,” “Your Precious Love,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
In the early ’70s, Marvin’s hits included social commentary on poverty and racial unrest, such as “What’s Going On,” “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” and “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology).” (This style was a radical change for Barry Gordy’s Motown label, but turned out to be a huge success, despite Gordy’s fears.) Marvin, who was married to the much-older Anna Gordy, met a much-younger (16) girl, Janis Hunter, fell in love, and as the story went, switched his mood from “What’s Going On” to “Let’s Get It On.”
“Let’s …” is real, heartfelt desire. It was the make-out song of an era. This song was huge in the early ’70s and continues to be popular. I remember it playing nightly — and loudly — every night for months in an Oberlin dorm room in the mid-seventies. By the end of the semester, Debbie, the room’s occupant, was noticeably pregnant. (Marvin can have that effect.)
In more recent years, this great song was showcased in a Lunchables commercial, featuring a very young schoolboy with a crush on a girl … which seemed degrading to the song, and to the young actors.
In the closing scene of the movie High Fidelity, Jack Black belted out “Let’s Get It On” — the song was very fitting to the plot, and Jack’s rendition was fabulous. Marvin is a hard act to follow, but Jack Black pulled it off.
And about ten years later came Let’s Get It On, Part Deux, as QC once termed it. (Whisper quietly now, “Wake up, wake up, wake up … “) Another get-in-the mood tune from this master, “Sexual Healing” was Gaye’s last big hit before he left us all too soon. Play the songs back-to-back. Enjoy them with someone you love. Remember, ain’t nothing like the real thing.