Diana & Marvin

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Diana & Marvin
Studio album by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye
Released October 26, 1973
Recorded 1972–1973
Motown Recording Studios
(Hollywood, California)
Genre Soul
Length 30:01
Label Motown
M5-124V1
Universal Music
Producer Hal Davis
Berry Gordy
Margaret Gordy
Bob Gaudio
Ashford & Simpson
Diana Ross chronology
Touch Me in the Morning
(1973)
Diana & Marvin
(1973)
Last Time I Saw Him
(1973)
Marvin Gaye chronology
Let's Get It On
(1973)
Diana & Marvin
(1973)
I Want You
(1976)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Q 4/5 stars[3]

Diana & Marvin is a duets album by soul musicians Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, released October 26, 1973 on Motown.[4] Recording sessions for the album took place in 1972 and 1973 at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, California.[5] Featuring vocal collaborations by Gaye and Ross, widely recognized at the time as two of the top soul and pop performers, respectively.

Diana & Marvin became a multi-chart success that managed to sell over a million copies worldwide. The album was remastered and re-released on compact disc with four bonus tracks on February 6, 2001.[6][7]

History[edit]

Recordings[edit]

Initial plans to make the Ross/Gaye duet album began as early as 1970. But due to Gaye being in a personal lull following the death of Tammi Terrell, Motown failed to bring the two together and instead focused on Ross' emerging solo career, which didn't take off until the release of her cover of Gaye and Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", which became an international hit. During that time, Gaye had made a promise that he would never again record a duet with a female performer because he felt they were cursed by him recording with them (Mary Wells abruptly left Motown following the end of the Together album and her career failed to recover; Kim Weston also abruptly left the label following the end of their Take Two sessions; and Terrell's complications with a brain tumor made duets between her and Gaye difficult, later resulting in her death).

In mid-1971, Gaye returned to the charts with the What's Going On album, which redefined his career and direction. Due to this, Gordy again approached him on doing a duet album with Ross. Though Gaye had insisted not to record any more duet albums, he later wrote that he felt the move to do a duet album with Ross would increase his popularity and confirmed that he was indeed what the media had labeled him around this time: "the prince of Motown".[8] Gaye then agreed, with Ross joining him in sessions. Engineer Russ Terrana will later recall that the start of sessions met difficulty as Gaye, who had the habit of coming to recording studios late, came unusually early but was inside the studio smoking reefer. Terrana said when Ross, still pregnant with her first child, daughter Rhonda, walked in, she immediately walked out, upset that Gaye was smoking reefer and told Gordy to stop him from smoking because of her pregnancy fearing her baby might die from the smoke.

When Gordy asked Gaye to put the reefer out, Gaye told him, "if I can't smoke, I can't sing." Eventually, however, Gaye did put the reefer out and Ross re-entered the studio with Gaye recording a cover of Wilson Pickett's "Don't Knock My Love". According to the album's later liner notes, Ross hated "Don't Knock My Love" and reportedly asked Gaye "why are we recording this song?" Later recording sessions proved to be difficult as Ross had her baby and laid low following Rhonda's birth. She had also finished work on the movie, Lady Sings the Blues. Gaye, in the meantime, was busy on other projects putting future recording sessions in limbo. Due to this, Motown decided to do what they had done with Gaye and Terrell - record them separately. Ross and Gaye ended up recording in different sessions with Terrana mixing the duo's vocals together. The album would feature the last Ashford & Simpson production for Motown, "Just Say, Just Say", though the duo would later reunite with Ross on her The Boss album. Gaye later said of the experience: "I'm not sure I handled the situation very well. Musically I may have overplayed my hand. I was too cavalier. I should have done everything in the world to make Diana comfortable. After all, she was making movies, recording two or three albums a year, starring in her own TV specials, and about to have a baby. I could have been a little more understanding. But I went the other way. It's hard for me to deal with prima donnas. We were like two spoiled kids going after the same cookie..."[9]

Release[edit]

Album sessions dragged on throughout 1972 and into early 1973. Since the album was not under Gaye's Tamla contract where Gaye had become the first Motown-established artist to have full autonomous creative control, the album was instead issued under the Motown imprint, which Ross recorded with. Motown held the album from being released, as Ross and Gaye had solo albums ready for release. Ross released the solo album, Touch Me in the Morning, which coincidentally included a cover of another Marvin single, "Save the Children", which was included in a socially conscious medley along with the song, "Brown Baby". Gaye released his solo album, Let's Get It On, that August. Both albums brought huge success as both peaked in the top ten with Gaye's album eventually selling more than three million copies, becoming his best-selling Motown album ever surpassing What's Going On.

Motown decided to issue the long-awaited Diana & Marvin album in 1973. Assured that the album would be a success, Motown billed it with Diana Ross' name in front of Gaye's. Gaye recalled he smirked and chuckled at the decision. Despite a huge promotional push, the album was only a modest success in the U.S. reaching number 26 on the Billboard 200 and number 7 on the R&B albums chart, selling over 500,000 copies in America. In the United Kingdom, where Gaye and Ross had substantial fan bases, reaching number 6 on the UK albums chart and was certified Gold for sales in excess of 100,000 copies. In the U.S., Motown issued three singles - "You're a Special Part of Me", which became a medium-sized hit for the duo, reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the R&B chart; "My Mistake (Was to Love You)", which also became a medium-sized hit reaching number 19 on the Hot 100 and number 15 on the R&B chart, and the cover of "Don't Knock My Love", released in mid-1974, reaching as high as number 46 on the Hot 100 and number 25 on the R&B chart, also giving the duo a #1 hit in Brazil. In the UK, two singles were released and they were both covers of Stylistics songs.[10] The first, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)", reached number 25 there (the original Stylistics single failed to chart there), while the second, "You Are Everything", became a smash reaching number 5. Ross and Gaye would later record two more songs together in 1978: the Berry Gordy Sr. tribute song, "Pops, We Love You (A Tribute to Father)" and "I'll Keep My Light in My Window", both songs they recorded in the studio together.

Legacy and covers[edit]

The duo's cover of "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" has been sampled and interpolated by several hip-hop artists over the years including 50 Cent, Smilez and Southstar (who had their one and only hit with "Tell Me", which sampled the song), while Ja Rule and Ashanti's "Mesmerize" interpolated the song's melody. Michael McDonald and Toni Braxton re-recorded the duet cover for McDonald's album, Motown II.

The album's classic cover featuring Ross and Gaye's Afros facing different sides would also be imitated by several artists following its release. In 2001, the album was re-released with four additional songs including three leftovers from the 1972 sessions including "Alone", "The Things I Will Not Miss" and "I've Come to Love You So Much" while the duo's 1978 duet, "I'll Keep My Light in My Window" was also placed on the reissue.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "You Are Everything" (Thom Bell, Linda Creed) – 3:10
  2. "Love Twins" (Mel Bolton, Marilyn McLeod) – 3:28
  3. "Don't Knock My Love" (Wilson Pickett, Brad Shapiro) – 2:20
  4. "You're a Special Part of Me" (Harold Johnson, Andrew Porter, Gregg Wright) – 3:35
  5. "Pledging My Love" (Don Robey, Ferdinand Washington) – 3:34

Side two[edit]

  1. "Just Say, Just Say" (Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) – 4:10
  2. "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" (Thom Bell, Linda Creed) – 2:53
  3. "I'm Falling in Love With You" (Margaret Gordy) – 2:42
  4. "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" (Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer) – 2:55
  5. "Include Me In Your Life" (Mel Bolton, Marilyn McLeod) – 3:04

Bonus tracks[edit]

Bonus cuts featured on the 2001 reissue.

  1. "Alone" – 3:49
  2. "The Things I Will Not Miss" – 3:10
  3. "I've Come to Love You So Much" – 4:10
  4. "I'll Keep My Light in My Window" – 4:28

Chart history[edit]

Album[edit]

Title Information[11]
Diana & Marvin
  • US Pop Albums (1973) #26
  • US Black Albums (1974) #7
  • UK (Album Chart) #6
  • Australia (Album Chart) #2
  • JAPAN (Oricon Album Chart) #1

Singles[edit]

Title Information[11]
"You're a Special Part of Me"
"Don't Knock My Love"
  • US Pop Singles #46
  • US Black Singles #25
"My Mistake (Was to Love You)"
  • US Pop Singles #19
  • US Black Singles #15
"You Are Everything

Personnel[edit]

  • Arranged By - David Blumberg (tracks: A1 to A3, A5, B4, B5), Gene Page (tracks: B2), James Carmichael (tracks: A4), Paul Riser (tracks: B1)
  • Engineer (Recording, Mixing) - Russ Terrana
  • Engineer (Recording) - Art Stewart, Cal Harris
  • Producer - Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson (tracks: B1), Berry Gordy (tracks: A4), Hal Davis (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B4, B5), Margaret Gordy (tracks: B3)
  • Producer (Assistant & Coordinator) - Suzee Wendy Ikeda
  • Producer (Executive) - Berry Gordy
  • Producer, Arranged By - Bob Gaudio (tracks: A5), Mark Davis (tracks: B3)
  • Vocals – Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]