ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

End Notes: Musical Tributes to Marvin Gaye

Updated on August 24, 2012

Through the Grapevine

Marvin Gaye is one of the great icons of the Motown sound. His life was tragically cut short at the hands of his own father. However, his music and legacy lives on not only through his own recordings but also through the many songs that mention Marvin Gaye and pay homage to his music or his persona as a sex symbol. Some are great songs in their own right, while others leave a lot less to the imagination.

In this hub I will discuss a shortlist of songs both recent and past which mention Marvin Gaye in some respect and if the song really reflects the legacy of Gaye's timeless sound.

The Commodores: Musical Memories

In the mid-80s, many people were unsure of how The Commodores would fare post Lionel Richie. While they didn't have too many gems after his departure, they did manage to create a signature tribute song to slain Motown compatriot Marvin Gaye as well as soul legend Jackie Wilson.

The song, "Nightshift" is a sweet mid-tempo recording of the group's memories of Gaye and Wilson. Released less than a year after their respective deaths, it provides insight into the musical void they both left.

While one would assume it is very sad, it has an optimistic tone to it. They go onto say that the contributions of both Marvin and Jackie live on through their memories and in the perceived afterlife they both lead full of other musicians.

It was so well received it won the group a Grammy in 1985 by best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo/Group. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep the listening public interested in the post-Lionel outfit of The Commodores.

Sweetly sung and full of memories, this song has been covered by other artists and rerecorded by The Commodores in 2010 to pay tribute to Michael Jackson. It definitely carries on the legacy of Marvin for making poignant and insightful records that leave a lasting impression on the listener.

Spandau Ballet: One-Hit Wonderful

If you were around in the 1980s, you more than likely remember "True" from the classic teen flick Sixteen Candles. If you weren't around in the 1980s, you probably remember the song from movies like "Wedding Crashers" and "Crazy, Stupid Love" as well as various television shows.

British outfit Spandau Ballet actually released the song in 1983, a year before Marvin Gaye was even murdered. However, it is no less of a tribute. The lead singer mentions Gaye in the lyric "Listening to Marvin (All Night Long)," in reference to how Gaye influenced the groups sound for their music.

The song is not completely like Marvin's music, but is soulful and remarkable in its delivery and approach. The "ah, ah, ah..." hook sounds effortless and romantic. It reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but unfortunately Spandau Ballet became nothing more than a one-hit in the US.

Drake Gets Sentimental

Drake is no stranger to showing his emotions as an artist. The guy formerly known as Jimmy from Degrassi has been the 21st century edition of LL Cool J in terms of expressing himself. Marvin's Room is no different.

Marvin's Room addresses Drake's adjustment to fame in terms of his relationships and his adjustment to fame. It doesn't explicitly mention Marvin Gaye, but you can hear the influence of Gaye in Drake's sing-song rhythm. I'm not saying Drake's rap-singing is necessarily the same as Gaye's legendary voice, but his inflections mirror some of Gaye's recordings. Namely, his semi-confessional "Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)."

Even though Drake is honest it's almost a little TMI, but of course Marvin Gaye was never one to censor himself either. Though this isn't a traditional tribute, you can hear his honesty and sincerity in a way that's unique and reflective of Marvin Gaye.

Teena Marie's Late Love Letter

Teena Marie has a way of singing that stirs your emotions and your thoughts. The natural romance that shines through her voice is sweet and haunting especially now since she passed late last year.

Her musical tribute to Marvin Gaye was one of the first songs to reflect sorrow and sadness over the Motown icons death. This is especially poignant since Teena Marie was a labelmate.

She references songs as well as interpolates rhythm sections that transforms the song from tragic love story to impassioned celebration. It is definitely a song to listen to if you'd like to understand about Marvin Gaye's impact on music.

Big Sean Uses Little Imagination

If you wondering who Big Sean is, look no further but do listen much further either. The latest protégé of Kanye West, who is also signed to West's label GOOD music is putting out just the opposite. But given his name (he's not really big in size or stature if you ask me), I think he's trying to do this on a regular basis.

The song is called "Marvin & Chardonnay" and you'll go want to listen to the real Marvin and drink a lot of Chardonnay after hearing this. Utilizing a beat that in any other situations might work, it is highly stereotypical of current rap music. And by that I mean objectifying women, referring to status in terms of sexual power, and just general bad ideas and wordplay.

This is not anything I think Marvin Gaye stands for via his music. While he was open about celebrating love and sexuality, it was in a way that was powerful and mysterious. Big Sean is anything but in this song, but if you want an interesting conversation piece.

What Say You?

I'd like to know what everyone thinks about these songs and how they reflect the musical impact of Marvin Gaye. Also, as a funny aside, what you really think of Big Sean's video because between the silly squeaking noises and the girl he's with it looks like he might be eaten alive in the process of seduction.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I continue to impatiently await the movie of Marvin Gaye's life.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi tillsontitan,

      That song is so horrible I'd rather forget I heard it. But thankfully most people who pay tribute to Marvin Gaye do an admirable job of capturing his legacy. Thanks for coming by and commenting!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Pull up, Pull up....oh dear. Guess I'm getting old ;) This was a lovely way of paying tribute to a truly great singer who is still missed.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Sunshine,

      The funny thing is that Marvin's son and Lenny have been friends since grade school. He said he planned to talk to him about this. I heard his main gripe had to do with the movie focusing on the tumultuous events leading up to his death- mainly the late 1970s and early 1980s. I hope it doesn't tear their friendship apart but I still want to it to happen!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Lenny Kravitz to portray Marvin Gaye...I am so looking forward to this movie! I hear that Marvin's son is not happy about it. Uh oh!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi prettynutjob30,

      I'm glad he touched so many while he was here. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you so much Mary! I agree his voice was like velvet.

    • prettynutjob30 profile image

      Mary 

      5 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      Marvin Gaye had such an amazing voice, such a tragedy how his life was ended. Great hub voted up, awesome and more.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      I fell in love once dancing to Marvin. What a voice he had;like velvet.

      Great tribute. I voted this Hub UP, etc. and shared.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks rcrumple! Didn't know that about Spandau Ballet. I agree it's hard to match the greatness of Marvin and others :).

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 

      5 years ago from Kentucky

      Alecia - Actually, Spandau Ballet had three hits, True, Gold and Communication Breakdown. Not all hit Top Ten, but were high in the charts.

      I know many have given Marvin tributes, but none will ever touch his greatness. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" is only one song that many have tried to show respect in doing, but again, no one can ever touch him. There are some that are untouchable... Marvin, Stevie, Diana, Gladys, Aretha... kinda like Marvin and Tammi Terrell once sang, "Ain't Nothin' Like The Real Thing." Great Hub!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Yeah it sure does :)!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I first commented 11 months ago! Wow, time sure does fly when you're having fun! :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks rasta1!

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Nightshift is legendary, Listening to Commodores all the way.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Larry! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Larry Okeke profile image

      Larry Okeke 

      6 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

      every morning, i wake up with the alarm on my phone singing "Sexual healing"... and boy oh boy! what a wonderful way to wake up! Marvin Gaye was a master in his line of profession and am so happy i stumbled across a hub like this, aimed at die hard fans like myself. voted up and interesting (I wish there was "over-interesting" here).. and a hub this wonderful? am now following you too

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you Cyndi10, I agree Marvin Gaye's music is timeless :).

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Marvin Gaye was awesome. I continue to listen to his music. It will forever be a part of my memories. Great tribute you have pt together here. Voted up!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Cogerson for stopping by! I love Spandau Ballet, I just wish they were bigger in the states.

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Very nicely done....this is great tribute to Marvin Gaye as well...I found many things interesting in the hub...i think the artists that paid tribute to Marvin did an excellent job as well. Glad to see Spandau Ballet did a tribute as well...it good to see they were not just a one hit wonder...thanks for posting this hub.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I couldn't agree more!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Jesse Martin that's who is supposed to play Marvin, I couldn't remember! Thank you! I really hope they make the movie because I wanna see it! I know one of the issues was a budget. Let's Get It On hollywood! :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Sunshine! Yeah, Big Sean should call himself Big Joke because that has to be one of the worst pickup/ romance lines ever. I thought this would be interesting because Marvin Gaye is either regarded as an icon of romance or just someone who sold sex. But I agree, if you listen to his songs you hear his sensuality and sincerity in every note.

      I kept hearing about Jesse Martin (Greene from Law and Order doing it) playing Marvin Gaye but it seems to be this myth that's never coming to pass. I really hope he does get a story because I know it will be awesome!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Big Sean...pffft that song didn't impress me. I love me some Marvin Gaye! What a voice on that man. I was devasted when he was killed, I thought it was an April Fools Joke since he died on April 1st but it wasn't :(

      I enjoyed your hub, thanks for keeping Marvin's memory alive. I'm still hoping they FINALLY make his life story into a movie. Maybe when they get done remaking every hit movie they will. Voted UP!!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)