Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Apr 13th 2007 5:00PM by James Sullivan
Gaye's wife was Anna Gordy, sister of Berry Gordy, the kingpin at Motown Records, where young Marvin was given a job as a session drummer and singer in 1961. By the end of the decade Gaye was a superstar at the label, fresh off a string of hit duets with Tammi Terrell and on the verge of creating the socially conscious masterpiece 'What's Going On.' But the 1970s grew increasingly weirder for the singer, who sank into addictions and financial problems as his marriage to Anna crumbled. As part of a 1976 divorce agreement, Gaye was required to assign royalties from his next project to his estranged wife.
Gaye's initial plans to submit a half-hearted effort were scrapped as the singer immersed himself in some painfully cathartic songwriting. The resulting album, pointedly titled 'Here, My Dear,' frankly and acidly chronicled the marriage, from its blissful beginnings ('I Met a Little Girl') to the bitterness of breakup ('You Can Leave, But It's Going to Cost You') and admissions of extramarital affairs (Gaye eventually married Janis Hunter, daughter of the comic jazzman Slim Gaillard). So emotionally raw that Anna threatened to sue, the album was a commercial flop, and it took the singer three years to produce a follow-up.Though it was lambasted by critics upon its release in 1978, 'Here, My Dear' has slowly gained in stature through the years, and is now considered a heart-wrenching personal statement from a tortured artist. The album even earned a spot on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list in 2003.
In time, Gaye was able to recover from his anguish and return to making exuberant music. In 1982, he made a huge comeback with the No. 3 single 'Sexual Healing,' but the satisfaction was short-lived: In April 1984, the "Trouble Man" was shot to death by his father during an argument. But that's a Twisted Tale that needs to be told in its own space.