When I was first really nailed by the radio, in 1962, Marvin Gaye’s Hitch Hike and Can I Get a Witness were the hits of the great Motown singer.
Old Marvin kept producing, but by the mid-70’s, when I finished college, I got my first “real” job as a social worker working for the Oakland Housing Authority.
My work day was in the midst of the African American community in Oakland, a culture that is both rich in custom and heritage, yet sadly overlooked and dismissed.
Well, Marvin was at his peak over the decade I worked in West Oakland, producing such great songs as Mercy Mercy Me, Got to Give it Up, and for sure Let’s Get it On.
These songs were great, and they come up once in a while, but I stuck a Motown greatest hits collection on my Playlist, sort of randomly–that is without looking at any of the titles, since I could guess, and liked most–and the other day Let’s Get it On came on and reminded me not just how great Gaye was, but how fantastic the Funk Brothers and Motown musicians and arrangers and producers were.
Let’s Get it On sort of typifies this for me, with a great song and melody, fantastic production (listen to the Wah Wah guitar fills through the verse till the drums come and and the horns phatten the sound duplicating the guitar line).
And, everything just builds, sort of like the song, sort of like the subject of the song.
Great stuff from a great, albeit troubled artist. Why are these things so often linked? Sigh. BTW, there were a lot of takes of the song out, but somehow this vid, from Soul Train, seemed the right way to go.