Monday, April 28, 2008


I recently wrote about the Marvin Gaye biopic that is in the works. But there's also a new DVD set, that collects the documentary What's Going On: The Life & Death Of Marvin Gaye and the concert Greatest Hits Live in '76. I love this kind of thing. I never had the opportunity to see Marvin perform - not even on screen. Now I'll get to see what a Marvin performance looked like (of course, it's never the same as being there).

Marvin is one of those figures, like James Brown, Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding... the list can go on and on. They're names that you know growing up, but you only know a song or two. Before the CD (and box set) era, it was hard to get a grip on what the best albums were (as the Internet wasn't a factor at the time, and magazines weren't so list-addicted). "Classic rock" radio stations ignored them due to their color or age or both in favor of giants like Styx or REO Speedwagon or Foreigner.

Anyway, I got into these artists during college, or after college, and I am grateful that I did. Listening to the artists that influenced your favorite artists can give you a new appreciation of the continuity of music. I'm listening to Marvin Gaye right now - he's one of my favorite singers. If you're not familiar with him, you should check him out also. Outside of Marley, Stevie and Dylan, few artists were able to tackle matters of the world and matters of the heart the way he could.

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