Despite his outrageous early demise, Marvin Gaye, who has become one of the most celebrated R&B artists, garnering the moniker “Prince of Motown,” never looked, or sounded better than during his European tour in 1976. With existing notable hits such as “Let’s Get It On,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler),” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and his mega-successful “What’s Going On,” Gaye had plenty of material for clamoring audiences at the time. The showcase for these songs culminated in a sold-out concert on October 10, 1976, at the Edenhalle Concert Hall in Amsterdam while touring to promote the release of his fourteenth studio album, I Want You. Video from this show, which is absolutely worth a watch, has been previously released on DVD as Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live 1976 (2007). However, a high-quality audio recording has never separately been made available — until now.
Mercury Studios will release on vinyl the professionally engineered audio from this concert (the CD set includes one additional song, “Since I Had You”). Other hits from the show include “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “It Takes Two.” Gaye also sings many of his ‘60s hits because his fans continued to request them. Gaye’s four-octave vocal range and his ability to slide into a growl are on show as he teases the responsive audiences with playful pauses – even asking them to fill in some of the vocals.
And while his performance is subtle, striking, and nuanced it’s even more impressive as it came at a time in his life when this thirty-seven-year-old suffered from a lack of confidence, and his personal life was somewhat in a fray. He was in transition between his marriage to the older Anna Gordy and his relationship with the younger Jan Hunter. This tour and the album had to be successful, as he was burdened with financial concerns. All of this makes the performance even more remarkable.
He is backed throughout the performance by a large group of musicians, The Alan Peters Orchestra, directed by Leslie Drayton. Drayton, a trumpeter and founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire, backs Gaye with a full arsenal of horns and strings, in addition to your basic guitar, bass, and drums. Gaye teams with Florence Marvin for his duets, in place of his original music partner Tammi Terrell, who passed away in 1970 at 24. Terrell worked with Marvin Gaye on such classics as “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and “You’re All I Need to Get By.
The vinyl LP and CD will be released by Mercury Studios on January 27, 2023.
Public domain image of Marvin Gaye