Here, My Dear
|Here, My Dear|
|Studio album by Marvin Gaye|
|Released||December 15, 1978|
("Disco Baby", early version of "Is That Enough")
March 24, 1977 - July 9, 1978
|Genre||Soul, funk, quiet storm, jazz-funk, disco|
|Marvin Gaye chronology|
Here, My Dear is a studio double album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, released December 15, 1978 on Tamla Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at Marvin's Room in Hollywood, California from 1976 to 1978. A deeply personal and controversial album, Here, My Dear is notable for chronicling Gaye's ill-fated first marriage to Anna Gordy.
Here, My Dear was initially a commercial failure, while receiving some critical favor from music writers. However, critical recognition of the album has improved significantly following further examinations by critics and compact disc-reissues. "It's taken me a while," Anna Gordy admitted in later years, "but I've come to appreciate every form of Marvin's music."
Marvin Gaye was going through a personal crisis in the summer of 1976. In November of 1975, Gaye's estranged first wife, Anna Gordy Gaye, sued Gaye for divorce, claiming irreconcilable differences and seeking money in palimony for support of their adopted son, Marvin Gaye III. Having bought several houses, cars and residences and suffering a spending habit, Gaye often argued that he didn't have financial means to send his estranged wife money for their son. In September, a warrant had been issued for Gaye's arrest for failure to provide for his wife. Gaye spent much of that time hiding from people.
Later that month, British music promoter Jeffrey Kruger offered Gaye a contract to tour Europe, Gaye's first such tour in over 10 years. Between October and December of the year, Gaye performed in the United Kingdom, France, Holland and Germany. Returning to the United States in December 1976, Gaye recorded the self-mocking disco song, "Got to Give It Up", which was released in March of 1977 and later became Gaye's final number-one hit in his native country. The song helped push Gaye's live album, Live at the London Palladium, to sell over two million units.
During this time, Gaye and Gordy battled over details in divorce court, which was sometimes halted due to Gaye's refusals to show up for court. Following times he did show up to court, Gaye often sung about his experiences, constantly giving his musicians ideas to record. By the spring of 1977, Gaye's attorney Curtis Shaw wanted to end divorce proceedings and convinced Marvin to give up half of the percentage of album royalties he would earn from his next Motown album to Anna.
Initially uninspired to do the album, telling biographer David Ritz that he initially wanted to produce a "rushed, lazy" project, the emotions Gaye had throughout the divorce trial had Gaye producing far more passionate music than he sought to make.
Even before the divorce proceedings ended in March 1977, Gaye had already begun recording elements of the album as far back as April 1976. Like I Want You and the re-produced elements of the London Palladium album, Gaye recorded much of the album at his own recording studio. The first song recorded for the album was originally titled "Disco Baby". However the song later turned into a jazz-funk inspired mid tempo song, "Is That Enough", which Gaye sung off the top of his head about being forced to pay attorney fees and dismissing Gordy and her famous brother.
While the album subsequently focused on other topics, such as drug abuse, religion and romance, as it had been for previous Marvin recordings, the main focus of the album remained solely on Anna Gordy. Most of the material was considered autobiographic, including the ballad, "I Met a Little Girl", which was produced with heavy doo-wop overtones, with Gaye singing about the highs and lows of their marriage and relationship. "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You", considered the cornerstone of the record, dealt with the couple's ongoing arguments and Gaye's accusations that Gordy had lied to him and had one time put out a restraining order on the singer, with the lyric, "what I can't understand is if you love me, how could you turn me into the police".
The aggressively-produced "You Can Leave, But It's Going To Cost You" focused its story on a time Marvin and Anna were at Gwen Gordy Fuqua's home "trying to make amends" only to end up fighting and, later, according to Gaye, "make love". The cornerstone of their argument was mainly about Gaye's live-in girlfriend at the time, Janis Hunter, mother of Gaye's two younger children, with Anna warning him, "that young girl is gonna cost you". "Anna's Song", a solemn ballad produced in heavy jazz overtones, was more sentimental towards Anna, hinting at the still-strong feelings Gaye had towards Anna.
The opening title track was more of a message to Anna, with Gaye warning, "this is what you wanted, so I've conceded. I hope it makes you happy. There's a lot of truth in it, baby." Later in the song, Gaye, singing in his trademark soft tenor vocal range, accused Anna of "put[ting] no son of mine to keep me in line".
Gaye got more introspective into his own life on the album. On the song, "Anger", he argued that anger "makes you old, makes you sick [and] destroys your soul", with Gaye confessing that he wished to "hope and pray like Jesus [and] reach that wiser age". "Everybody Needs Love", which carried a strong gospel tone, addressed his father and himself as people who "needed love". "Time to Get It Together" spoke about Gaye's ongoing bouts with depression and drug abuse, carrying both an optimistic and pessimistic tone ("tick-tock, my life's a clock, and it's winding down"). "Sparrow" dealt with Gaye's religion though its melody was produced in a jazz direction. "A Funky Space Reincarnation" was inspired by the music and lyrics of Parliament Funkadelic and dealt with life "on outer space". "Falling in Love Again", the last song on the record, focused on Gaye's girlfriend Janis, whom he later married in October of 1977. An Allmusic reviewer later wrote of the music:
...the sound of divorce on record — exposed in all of its tender-nerve glory for the world to consume... Gaye viciously cuts with every lyric deeper into an explanation of why the relationship died the way it did... Musically the album retains the high standards Gaye set in the early '70s, but you can hear the agonizing strain of recent events in his voice, to the point where even several vocal overdubs can't save his delivery.—Allmusic
Save for the April 1976 date, the entire album's contents was worked on between March 24, 1977 and June 9, 1978. Prior to releasing the album, Gaye signed a new multi-million dollar contract with Motown.
Release and reception
|The New York Times||(favorable)|
When Here, My Dear was released in the end of 1978, it was panned by consumers and critics alike, who called the album "bizarre" and "un-commercial". The album's lack of success angered Gaye to the point that he refused to promote it any further. Motown stopped promoting Here, My Dear in early 1979, by which point Gaye had gone into self-imposed exile. Around the same time, Marvin's relationship with second wife, Janis, had also fallen apart and the couple separated sometime in 1979. Upon hearing the album, a visibly upset Anna Gordy considered suing Marvin for invasion of privacy but, according to People magazine, later recanted that decision. In 1994, the album was re-released due to increased attention on Marvin's life to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the singer's untimely death, and reached number-one on Billboard's R&B catalog chart. The original album peaked at number four R&B and number twenty-six pop becoming Gaye's lowest-charting studio album of the 1970s. Initial response to the album was mixed, as most critics described it as weird. However, Gaye's lyrical honesty over the laid back disco grooves of Here, My Dear was praised by many. Robert Christgau, of The Village Voice, wrote of the album:
...this is a fascinating, playable album. Its confessional ranges from naked poetry ("Somebody tell me please/Why do I have to pay attorney fees?" is a modernist trope that ranks with any of Elvis Costello's) to rank jive, because Gaye's self-involvement is so open and unmediated, guileless even at its most insincere, it retains unusual documentary charm. And within the sweet, quiet, seductive, and slightly boring mood Gaye is at such pains to realize, his rhythmic undulations and whisper-to-a-scream timbral shifts can engross the mind, the body, and above all the ear. Definitely a weird one.—Robert Christgau
The album was re-evaluated in the years following its original release, and is today seen as a landmark in Gaye's career. It was voted one of the greatest albums in music history by Mojo Magazine (1995) and Rolling Stone magazine's critics poll (500 Greatest Albums of All-Time) (2003), among others. This reassessment was influenced by the album's subsequent re-release. On February 15, 2008, Hip-O Select reissued Here, My Dear as a two-disc Expanded Edition including a song cut from the original album, "Ain't It Funny How Things Turn Around", which was remixed by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Disc two featured remastered and alternate versions of the songs from the album remixed by contemporary soul producers such as Salaam Remi, Questlove, Prince Paul, DJ Smash and others.
"It doesn't quite get you first time," Jay Kay told Q. "And a lot of the songs are quite similarly paced. It's almost like the same song being subtly changed ten different ways. A lot of it, lyrically, is about the break-up of his relationship. There's a track called 'Anger', which is lyrically really brilliant; and there's a track called 'Time To Get It Together' using, I think, a marimba, and it's just dreamy and lovely. He was a deep man at the time, but I think the charlie was eating him up. It's all about struggling and fighting, and you can feel it."
All songs written by Marvin Gaye except where noted.
- Side one
- "Here, My Dear" – 2:48
- "I Met a Little Girl" – 5:03
- "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You" – 6:17
- "Anger" (Delta Ashby, Gaye, Ed Townsend) – 4:04
- Side two
- "Is That Enough" – 7:47
- "Everybody Needs Love" (Ed Townsend, Gaye) – 5:48
- "Time to Get It Together" – 3:55
- Side three
- "Sparrow" (Ed Townsend, Gaye) – 6:12
- "Anna's Song" – 5:56
- "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You (Instrumental)" – 6:03
- Side four
- "A Funky Space Reincarnation" – 8:18
- "You Can Leave, but It's Going to Cost You" – 5:32
- "Falling in Love Again" – 4:39
- "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You (Reprise)" – 0:47
2007 expanded edition
Bonus material for the 2007 Hip-O Select Expanded Edition, with first disc of the original album with bonus tracks and second disc of recordings from the sessions for Here, My Dear.
- Disc one (bonus track)
- "Ain't It Funny (How Things Turn Around)" alternate mix - 4:04
- Mix produced by Bootsy Collins
|1979||"A Funky Space Reincarnation"||Black Singles||23|
- Marvin Gaye - vocals, piano, Rhodes, Roland bass, synth and horns; tape box percussion
- Charles Owens - tenor saxophone
- Wali Ali - guitar
- Gordon Banks - guitar
- Spencer Bean - guitar ("Time to Get It Together")
- Cal Green - guitar ("Sparrow")
- Frank Blair - bass
- Eric Ward - bass ("Sparrow")
- Elmira Collins - percussion
- Ernie Fields, Jr. - alto saxophone
- Fernando Harkless - tenor saxophone ("When Did You Stop Loving Me...", "Time to Get It Together")
- Gary Jones - congas
- Nolan Andrew Smith - trumpet
- Bugsy Wilcox - drums
- Melvin Webb - drums, congas, cowbell ("When Did You Stop Loving Me...", "Time to Get It Together")
- Eddie "Bongo" Brown - congas, bongos ("A Funky Space")
- Jack Ashford - percussion ("Ain't It Funny")
- Odell Brown - RMI
- Daniel LeMelle - saxophone ("A Funky Space" 12 inch instrumental overdubs)
- Mike McGloiry - guitar ("A Funky Space" 12 inch instrumental overdubs)
- David Ritz - liner notes
- Michael Bryant - illustrations
- David Stewart - handclaps (on "A Funky Space")
- Richard "Do Dirty" Bethune - handclaps (on "A Funky Space")
- Art Stewart - engineer, mixer, handclaps (on "A Funky Space")
- Fred Ross - engineer
- Tony Houston - engineer
- Bill Ravencraft - engineer
- Harry Weinger (2008), p. 24
- allmusic - Here, My Dear overview
- Mojo, August 1995
- David Ritz (2008), p. 4.
- Theakston, Rob. Review: Here, My Dear. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- Christgau, Robert. Review: Here, My Dear. Blender. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- Kot, Greg. "Review: Here, My Dear". Chicago Tribune: 4. July 22, 1994. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
- Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Here, My Dear". The Village Voice: April 30, 1979. Archived from the original on 2010-05-05.
- Simpson, Dave. Review: Here, My Dear. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- Palmer, Robert. "Review: Here, My Dear". The New York Times: D20. March 25, 1979. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
- Joseph, Mike. Review: Here, My Dear. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- Columnist. Review: Here, My Dear. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
- Columnist. "Review: Here, My Dear". Uncut: 102. 2008.
- Columnist. "Review: Here, My Dear". Vibe: 105. May 1994.
- Robert Christgau: CG: Marvin Gaye
- RS 500 Albums - 462) Here, My Dear
- "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Marvin Gaye, 'Here, My Dear'". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- Q, December 1999
- Here, My Dear album liner notes by David Ritz & Harry Weinger. UMG Recordings, Inc. 2008.