Tuesday, September 25, 2012


SEXUAL HEALING WRITTEN BY MARVIN GAYE, ODELL BROWN & DAVID RITZ PRODUCED BY MARVIN GAYE COLUMBIA RECORDS ORIGINALLY RELEASED SEPTEMBER 1982 # 1 R&B/# 3 POP When singer/songwriter played Marvin Gaye his friends and associates the demo of “Sexual Healing” they were excited and told him it was gonna be a hit. They were right; “Sexual Healing” became a hit, and it showed the industry that he still had the good to deliver great music. Gaye had scored his last major hit five years prior with the Disco-flavored “Got To Give It Up” and embarked on his first U.K. tour in several years, but after the tour was over, he found himself at the cross roads of his career. He had gone through two divorces, struggled with drug addiction, owed the IRS millions in back taxes, and making things more dramatic was his battle with Motown Records, who released his 1981 album “In Our Lifetime” without his consent. Pissed off, Gaye decided to leave the label he had called home, and with the urging of his friend promoter Freddy Courset, the Prince of Soul relocated to Belgium where he began to work out physically, mentally and musically, and while he was rehabilitating body, mind and soul, he signed a deal with Columbia Records (who brought his Motown contract for 2 million dollars) and began to work on his new album which contained the lead single “Sexual Healing” which in addition to becoming Marvin’s biggest comeback since “What’s Going On” it became the highest rising Soul song of the 1980’s as well as earning him a American Music Award and two long overdue Grammy Awards. What makes this song the classic are the strong Caribbean and Reggae groove courtesy of the guitar performance by Gordan Banks Gaye’s performance of the keyboards, synsersizers and organs as well as the lyrics, the and call and response during the second performance of the hook with the background vocalist whispering and Gaye singing in a soulful tenor voice, which gives the song it’s spice. Get Up Get Up Get Up Get Up Let’s make love tonight Wake up. Wake Up. Wake up. Wake up. Cause you do it right. Hear my darling. I can’t wait for you to operate When I get this feeling I need sexual healing. “Sexual Healing” is one of Soul music’s hottest and sexiest songs, and Marvin did a great job of cooking up a hot spicey romantic tune, that still has fans dancing on the dance floor and in the bedroom, and while it’s sad that he died shortly after this release, he didn’t leave his fans musically disappointed; almost every night there are still people telling to their partners to get up because they need some sexual healing. This review is dedicated to the late Marvin Gaye. FACTS ABOUT SEXUAL HEALING While in Belgium, writer/author David Ritz was visiting Marvin to help him write his memoirs, which was later become the book “Divded Soul” and one day he saw that Marvin had several porn magazines and he told Marvin that he didn’t need those magazines. He needed “Sexual Healing.” According to Ritz, Marvin had the instrumental playing in the background and told him to write some lyrics. After the song was released, Ritz’s name wasn’t listed on the credits, and after trying to speak to Marvin about giving him the proper credit, he sued him, but before the case could go to trial, Marvin was shot by his father, who he attacked after hearing him verbally abuse his mother. Marvin didn’t leave a will and his first wife Anna had put their son Marvin III in charge of his estate, and after meeting with Ritz, they settled with David getting partial credit on the song as well as a share of the royalties. Years later, Courseatt and Odell Brown, the co-writer had denied Ritz’s claims, saying that Ritz only came up with the title. Marvin Gaye had been listening to lots of Reggae music while he was in Belgium and decided to use Reggae flavor on the song. He originally wanted to use European musicians on the track, but due to financial difficulties and creative differences, Gaye decided to play keyboards, synsersizers and drums himself. He also had his friend and mentor Harvey Fuqua to help him get back on track and to sing background vocals. When “Sexual Healing” was released, it became Marvin’s first certified gold-single(Motown reportedly didn't report earnings to the RIAA until the late 1970's). It also made history by becoming one of the fastest rising Soul singles of the 1980’s to rise up the Soul Music charts. The song also earned Marvin an American Music Award and two long overdue Grammy Awards for Best R&B Male vocalist and Best R&B Instrumental. When he accepted his overdue Grammys, he was calm and excited. “I’ve waited a very long time to win. Twenty some odd years.” “Sexual Healing” has been covered and sampled by many singers and rappers. Bones, Thugs and Harmony and Fat Joe sampled the tune for their single “First of Tha Month” and “Envy.” Pop/Soul singer Michael Bolton and Reggae Artist Max-A-Million each recorded their versions of “Sexual Healing” as well as El DeBarge, who recorded his version of the tune on “Marvin’s Turns 60” a tribute album which featured many artists covering his songs to honor what would have been his 60th birthday. German Pop Singer Sarrah O’Connor and US Soul singer/songwriter Ne-Yo scored an international hit with their version of “Sexual Healing.” Actress/singer Valarie Pettiford sang the song in the hit film “Jumping The Broom.” IMPACT Marvin Gaye’s music has and still continues to influence many singers, and they list “Sexual Healing” as one of their favorites. Because it wasn't dirty. It was very sexy. It was very sultry, but anybody could listen to it. Even children could listen to it That was the testament of the times the way music was made back them. Think of the title 'Sexual Healing' I don't think that you want your daughter, God daughter, niece or nephew to be sitting near the radio without you monitoring the box. It's sultry and the respect that music was made with. It's hard to explain what Soul is but the music in the past is so special and I'm (so) trying to recreate that every time I create an album Soul singer/songwriter Noel Gourdin, incorporates the song in his single “Sex In The City” “What I think about that song is that’s so clever because anything sexual is supposed to be celebrated for people under certain ages, but I feel that the song was cleverly written so even a child could sing about it and it wasn’t out of line. It was still PG-13, but it wasn’t pornographic. Pop/Soul Singer/songwriter Ja’Pan Nation

Friday, September 21, 2012


NEHEMIAH AKBAR FIRST CLASS BOY While I was on my Facebook friend Rob Spigel's page, I noticed that he had a song on his page by a singer named Nehemiah Akbar titled "First Class Boy." "Interesting title" I said as I wonder what type of song this is. I followed the link, played the song and I nearly went through the ceiling and back. That's how I get when I fall in love with a song I hear for the first time, and Nehemiah's follow up to "Make My Move" is a hot, sexy, innovative song about a guy being wined, dined, and loved by a millionaire man, which is something that every gay guys strives for. Written by Akbar and produced by Don Jarvis, the song has a hot combo of Pop, Soul, Dance courtesy of the beats, horn riffs, keyboards, strings, and percussion that adds African and Middle Eastern flavor, which will have the kids dancing along with his vocals, but it's Nehemiah's songwriting skills and lyrics that has me loving this song. I love how he acknowledges the Black Gays who use the term SGL short for Same Gender Loving, and avoids using the term DL or down load, which shows Black Gays in a positive light. I met this handsome brotha He wasn't undercover But another SGL like me And so sexy He looked at me and promised I would never have to be alone (And then) He flies me here. He blast me there. I cant go anywhere Cuz he's a millionaire. Now I'm a first class boy. This has to be one of the hottest single of the fall, and I predict that every gay kid is going to be blasting this song in their I-Pods and hopefully the kids in the ballroom will have common sense and play this at their balls. For years women have always recorded songs about being with a millionaire, who showers them with love and the glamorous life, and since gays have been known for helping them out with fashion, cooking, decorating, and being a shoulder to lean on, gays have the right to be romanced wined and dined just as much as they are, and Nehemiah Akbar's single gives us hope and encouragement to strive hard to achieve and to get be a first class boy. "First Class Boy" is now available on I-Tunes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


DIANA ROSS MUSCLES WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY MICHAEL JACKSON 1982 RCA RECORDS In his memoirs Smokey: Inside My Life, Smokey Robinson claimed that that Diana Ross’ real hit with RCA was “Muscles.” Not necessary. The former Supreme did score four Top Ten Pop hits during her tenure at RCA as well as one platinum and two gold albums, which gained great reviews, including her 1982 classic “Muscles” which became a major hit earning Ross an American Music Award. The single which was written and produced by former label mate Michael Jackson, became a hit, and was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as a modern piece Pop Record. What makes this song the classic that it is are the cinematic dramatic intro, finger snaps, sound affects, Diana’s sexy and soulful vocal, Jackson’s trademark use of strings, bass and melodies, the call and response between him and Ross, and the seductive, sexy lyrics that describes the type of man every woman wants. A man with muscles. She says she wants a man to make her understand That’s all right for her but that’s not enough for me She says she wants to guy to keep her satisfied But that’s all right for her, but it ain’t enough for me I don’t care if he’s young or old Just make him beautiful. I just want someone I can hold on to I want muscles! Ohh!! All over his body. This song sounds just as great as it did when it was first release, and it still stands the test of time, and while there are many women and Gay men who now prefer guys who are thick, full figured and with bellies and guts, there are and always will be many who wants a strong man with muscles all over their bodies. This review is dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson. FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES. Michael Jackson had been in love with Diana Ross from the moment she met him in 1968. He had admire her and always wanted to repay her for her love and support, and him composing “Muscles” was his way of saying thank you. Michael had just finished recording with former Beatle Paul Mc Cartney, and while he was on his way home, the song had popped into his head, but he didn’t have access to a tape recorder and pen. As soon as he got him, he put the song on tape. Michael had originally wanted to co-produce the song with Diana, based on her production skills on her first post-Motown album “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” but Diana let her Aries guard down, and trusted Michael to produce the song himself. The song became a huge hit for the stars, and showed Michael’s ability as a songwriter and producer, and it showed that Diana was able to survive past Motown though she returned to the famous Detroit label 7 years later where she executive produced all her albums as well as co-wrote several songs. “Muscles” earned Diana an Amercian Music Award, and a nomination for a Grammy Award. “Muscles” was the most talked about R&B/Pop songs of 1982. Many junior and high school students were cutting school to listen to the latest songs at the time, and they were describing the song’s lyrics of a woman saying that what type of man she wanted. A man with muscles to hold on to.. “Muscles” became one of Diana’s signature live songs. During her 1983 concert in Central Park, Many muscular guys began to display their muscles for the camera, while many ripped their shirts. Diana even helped by demanding some guys to take off their shirts while inviting a few to come onstage with her. “Muscles” became cult-classic in the LGBT community. Many gay men, drag queens, and transgender performers lip-synchs to the song, while many exotic dancers uses this song as their theme music during performances. Rapper Lil’ Kim and singer Kelly Price had sampled this song for their single “Diamonds” which was scheduled to appear on Kim’s sophomore release “The Notorious KIM” but when Kim, who cites Diana as one of her influences asked for permission to use the sample, The Boss denied her request, saying that Michael has written that song specifically for her. “Diamonds” was briefly heard as Lil’ Kim made an entrance on an award show, and the song has been uploaded on You Tube.

Monday, September 17, 2012


THE DEATH OF JOHNNY ACE BY STEVE BERGSMAN Author Steve Bergsman's latest novel The Death of Johnny Ace kept me interested, impressed, picturing myself at being a part of the story and wondering what was going to happen in the upcoming sentence and paragraph. The book had a style of mystery and first and second person narrative, which will and should keep the readers interested. Especially music history buffs like myself. The novel starts off with the narrator giving a description of a Christmas Eve night at a concert hall in Houston where many are there to see to Rhythm and Blues singer Johnny Ace perform, and while the fans are anxiously waiting to see the singer who was dubbed a Soulful version of Johnny Mathis, making it a Christmas they would never forget. It was, and sadly, for the one reasons too. As they wait for Ace to arrive, they fans see a large number of police enter the hall, leaving many to wonder was there anything crazy happening? Including a teenage boy from New York, who was there with his two cousins and friend, who had came to the conclusion that Ace was the one who the cops and ambulance were bringing out before an official announcement was made, and while the cousins were rightfully shaken, the boy held his composure. "For some Strange reason, he tapped his chest, and then reached into the pocket of his jacket, and pulled out the blue ticket to the concert" Bergsman wrote. "He looked at it carefully and then placed it back into safety. It was time to get everyone home." The boy would later become Professor William Harkness,a successful writer, author and retired college professor, who had a great passion, love and knowledge of music history, and a strong interest in deceased singers, including many who died under mysterious circumstances. The rest of story details Ace's arrival at the Palace Theater, making his way to the bar and catching attention from the females customers, who loved men dressed in military attire, and Ace, loved the attention from the women, and the whites, who were polite to men who wore military attire. Like many Southerners in the early 1900's Ace, had joined the military to provide for his family, and receive the financial benefits, but he had also joined to travel the world and to have access to carry a pistol, a obsession he had since he was a teenager living in Tenenesse, and it made him believe that he could get him power and respect. He also began to perform life after he left the military, and began to pursue a singing career, and what makes the story interesting is how Bergsman gives descriptions of the other musicians and how he switches from first to second person narration, making it seem like it's a documentary instead of a book. One of the most interesting and poignant part of the book is how Ace refused to accept a raw deal, and he refused to be treated like a working slave by standing up to Don Robey an executive at Peacock Records who used scare tactics to get his point across and to handle business, and while many gave in, Ace didn't. He even knew how to outsmart him by making dangerous bets, which led many to believe that it was the game of Russian Roulette that caused his death. "The Death of Johnny Ace" is an interesting novel to read, and for those who are into music history this is a good book to read, but I wish that the story would have had also focused on how Ace's music made an impact on the world and why are music lovers interested in his music and why many Whites are more interested in his story than Blacks. A great read for music historians.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I got up, got dressed, voted, and proceeded to make my way to my Tuesday classes at Brooklyn college. Little did I know that I wouldn't be attending school that day. After I got off the 3 train at 42 Street-Times Square, I noticed that there were many people in the station, and being that Times Square is always crowded, I didn't think anything was wrong, but little did I suspect, something was, and it was totally unexpected. As I waited for the Q train, I noticed that it entered the station at a very slow pace. Slower than usual. After the doors opened, I got on and managed to get a seat, and if my memory is correct, I either pulled out a magazine or my tape recorder I used as a walkman. Anyhow, the conductor announced that there train would encounter 5 minute delays due to signal problems and traffic ahead. Then about 2 minutes later, he made an announcement that I will never forget; "passengers due to an explosion at the World Trade Center, all Q train service will be out of service." Many including myself were shocked and scared. "An explosion at the World Trade Center?!" I said to myself. "I got to get home ASAP!!" I flew off the train and up the stairs to catch the train uptown and while I was making my way towards the 7th Avenue line, I saw many passengers on the pay phone making calls to their loved one and jobs to try to figure out what was going on, and to inform them that they wouldn't be coming in. As I got to the Uptown 7th Avenue line, I saw an uptown 2 train pulling in half empty, and from my years of experience of riding the subway, I had a strong feeling that there wasn't gonna be any uptown # 3 trains running, so I jumped on the 2 and took it to 59 Street with plans of catching the D train uptown, but when I got off, I learned that all subway service was suspended. After hearing that, I rushed out the train station with plans on catching the bus uptown, but when I got outside, there was several passengers waiting for the bus as well, and it seemed we weren't the only ones who was confused and eager to get back home; the bus drivers were as well. In fact two buses drove by us, despite being flagged down by police to let us get on. Still unsure of what was going on, I decided to walk home. Normally I enjoy walking and I've walked long distances before, but this time was different. I felt numb, exhausted and had this feeling of fear, confusion and shock. By the time I got to 113 Street a bus had arrived and despite the crowd, I managed to get on. "Thank God" I said as I got on and found an space to stand. I was glad that I was able to rest my feet before I got to my destination, but it was a short trip. Turns out that the driver had to make a trip back down town to pick up more passengers due to the halt in subway service. I like many of the other passengers were upset, but we were more upset at the female bus driver, who acted very rude towards a senior citizen, who was exhausted. When the senior citizen tried to sit, the driver screamed at her saying 'YOU HAVE TO GET OFF! I GOT TO GO BACK DOWN TOWN AND PICK UP MORE PASSENGERS!! THIS BUS IS OUT OF SERVICE!!" Many had scoled the driver for her rudeness and unprofessional attitude by saying "You didn't have to scream at her. She's a senior citizen and you should have been more respectful!" (Had someone called the driver a Bitch or Hoe, she would have probably gotten mad). After walking a few more blocks, another bus came and being that I was tired, I was determined to get on. I did and was glad that to get on because I was all-walked out. Right when he got to the block where my grandmother lived, he announced that he was going to the Bronx, and whoever lived in Manhattan could get off, many, myself included, got off, and I was relived to be in my old neighborhood. When I got upstairs my mother had all the televisions on and that's when I learned that there wasn't just an explosion; The World Trade Center was attacked, and words couldn't express how I felt as I watched the footage of the planes crashing into the towers. After speaking to my mother, I ran to the phone and began to call some of my friends to see if they were ok. Two of them were home, while two of them I had problems reaching. (I later learned that one was stranded and had to walk back to Brooklyn, while my other friend had to walk through Queens to return to Brooklyn). I happened to call one of my other friends, who happened to be working the election polls that day, and he informed me that another friend who had witness the second tower crash had fled to his house to relax and compose herself. I was so grateful that my friends had returned home and that they wasn't harmed, but I was sad, and hurt that this had happened, and wondered why and how could anybody could be so damn cruel and evil to do something so damn evil and disgusting?