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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
CLASSIC FLASHBACK: MARVIN GAYE'S MUSICAL REMEDY FOR SEXUAL FRUSTRATION
WRITTEN BY MARVIN GAYE, ODELL BROWN & DAVID RITZ
PRODUCED BY MARVIN GAYE
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.”
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