Here, My Dear

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Here, My Dear
Studio album by Marvin Gaye
Released December 15, 1978 (1978-12-15)
Recorded March 24, 1977 – July 9, 1978 at Marvin's Room, Los Angeles, California)[1]
Genre Soul, funk, quiet storm, jazz-funk, disco
Length 73:10
Label Tamla
T-364LP2
Producer Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye chronology
I Want You
(1976)
Here, My Dear
(1978)
In Our Lifetime
(1981)
Singles from Here, My Dear
  1. "A Funky Space Reincarnation"
    Released: February 11, 1979
  2. "Anger"
    Released: 1979

Here, My Dear is the fifteenth studio album by music artist Marvin Gaye, released December 15, 1978, on Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records.[2] Recording sessions for the album took place between 1977 and 1978 at Gaye's personal studios, Marvin Gaye Studios in Los Angeles, California. The album was notable for its subject matter being dedicated to the fallout of Gaye's marriage to his first wife, Anna Gordy Gaye.

Initially a commercial and critical failure upon its release, it was later hailed by music critics as one of Gaye's best produced albums in the years following Gaye's death. "It's taken me a while," Anna Gordy admitted in later years, "but I've come to appreciate every form of Marvin's music."[3]

Background[edit]

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. Gaye later argued his spending habit was causing him to fall behind on payments. In September 1976, a warrant was issued for Gaye's arrest after failing to pay alimony. The singer hid from the public for several days.

Several weeks later, Gaye accepted an offer to do a tour of Europe. Between October and December 1976, Gaye performed at the United Kingdom, France, Holland and Germany. Following his return, he recorded "Got to Give It Up", and released it on his album, Live at the London Palladium, with the song becoming an international hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

After months of delays, in March of 1977, the singer'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. The Gayes' divorce was finalized in June.

Recording[edit]

When Gaye set to start production on the record, he said he figured he just do a "quickie record - nothing heavy, nothing even good", stating, "why should I break my neck when Anna was going to wind up with the money anyway?" But as Gaye lived with the notion of doing an album for Gordy, the more it fascinated him, stating he felt he "owed the public my best effort."[4] Gaye stated he did the record "out of deep passion", noting he "sang and sang until I drained myself of everything I'd lived through."[4] The record was completed in three months but the singer held it back for over a year, scared of letting it be released.

Shortly after the deal was made, Gaye entered his recording studio on March 24, 1977 to record the album with only engineer Art Stewart by his side. Gaye, who usually didn't write his lyrics, composed on the spot, mumbling over prerecorded tracks or to his own accompaniment.[4] The mumblings were "embryonic melodies", which eventually evolved into lyrics after three or four takes.[4] Gaye ended up playing all the keyboard parts of the album, saying later, "I didn't plan it that way. It just turned out to be a hands-on project."[4] Recording on the album, including overdubs, ended on June 9, 1978.

Music[edit]

The title track opens the album and Gaye's tone in the song is described in the album's liner notes by David Ritz as "self-serving, self-justifying [and] self-pitying". "I Met a Little Girl" includes doo-wop drenched harmonies with its lyrics and music producing a "thick mixture" of sincerity and sarcasm. Considered the central melodic motif of the album, "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You" abandoned traditional song structure with a discursive mode, without a chorus, with its lyrics expressing "different feelings - tenderness, fear, anger, regret".[4] Described as "straight ahead and beguiling" compared to all the other songs on the album, "Anger" is considered as "part sermon and part self-retribution", describing his movement from catharsis to escape.

"Is That Enough?" was recorded shortly after Gaye returned from a day in divorce court, humming the song's melody and some lyrics. Much like some other songs, it's told in a storyteller's point of view.[4] "Everybody Needs Love" is described as an "attempt to empathy". "Time to Get It Together" includes a confessional that was influenced by Stevie Wonder's song, "As".[4] "Anna's Song" is described as "the very heart" of the album. "A Funky Space Reincarnation" alluded to Star Wars as well as the music of George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic.[4] "You Can Leave, But It's Going to Cost You" is produced under an assertive tone describing an argument between Marvin and his wife over his girlfriend, Janis. The final track, "Falling in Love Again", is dedicated to Janis, in which Gaye concluded on a "regenerative note".[4]

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.[2]

—Allmusic

Artwork[edit]

The front cover featured a painting of Gaye dressed in a toga in a neo-Roman setting, created by artist Michael Byran, who stated Gaye described how he wanted to be depicted on the cover.[4] The back cover features a temple with the word "matrimony" collapsing around a mock-Rodin sculpture of a romantic couple.[4] The fold-out illustration inside the original double album shows a man's hand reaching across to the hand of a woman's, about to give her a record. The hands are extended on a Monopoly board. On the man's side are tape recorders and a grand piano; on the woman's are a house, car and ring.[4] The scales of justice sit above the game while, from arched windows, curious observers watch. David Ritz described the juxtaposition of images reflected Gaye's turbulent state of mind at the time.[4]

Release and reception[edit]

Soul music doesn't get any deep, darker,
or more personal than this.

David Ritz, liner note essay, 2008[5]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Blender 4/5 stars[7]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[8]
Robert Christgau B+[9]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[10]
The New York Times (favorable)[11]
PopMatters (9/10)[12]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[13]
Uncut 5/5 stars[14]
Vibe (favorable)[15]

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.[16]

—Robert Christgau

Retrospect[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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,Mocean Worker, and others.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 462 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time;[17] in 2012, it was ranked at number 456 on a revised list.[18]

"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."[19]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Marvin Gaye except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Here, My Dear"  – 2:48
  2. "I Met a Little Girl"  – 5:03
  3. "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You"  – 6:17
  4. "Anger" (Delta Ashby, Gaye, Ed Townsend) – 4:04
Side two
  1. "Is That Enough"  – 7:47
  2. "Everybody Needs Love" (Ed Townsend, Gaye) – 5:48
  3. "Time to Get It Together"  – 3:55
Side three
  1. "Sparrow" (Ed Townsend, Gaye) – 6:12
  2. "Anna's Song"  – 5:56
  3. "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You (Instrumental)"  – 6:03
Side four
  1. "A Funky Space Reincarnation"  – 8:18
  2. "You Can Leave, but It's Going to Cost You"  – 5:32
  3. "Falling in Love Again"  – 4:39
  4. "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You (Reprise)"  – 0:47

2007 expanded edition[edit]

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)
  1. "Ain't It Funny (How Things Turn Around)" alternate mix – 4:04

Chart history[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
1979 Pop Albums 26
Black Albums 4

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart Position
1979 "A Funky Space Reincarnation" Black Singles 23

Personnel[edit]

  • 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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Harry Weinger (2008), p. 24
  2. ^ a b allmusic - Here, My Dear overview
  3. ^ Mojo, August 1995
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Here My Dear liner notes (1994)
  5. ^ David Ritz (2008), p. 4.
  6. ^ Theakston, Rob. Review: Here, My Dear. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert. Review: Here, My Dear. Blender. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg. "Review: Here, My Dear". Chicago Tribune: 4. July 22, 1994. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Here, My Dear". The Village Voice: April 30, 1979. Archived from the original on 2010-05-05.
  10. ^ Simpson, Dave. Review: Here, My Dear. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
  11. ^ Palmer, Robert. "Review: Here, My Dear". The New York Times: D20. March 25, 1979. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  12. ^ Joseph, Mike. Review: Here, My Dear. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
  13. ^ Columnist. Review: Here, My Dear. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2010-05-05.
  14. ^ Columnist. "Review: Here, My Dear". Uncut: 102. 2008.
  15. ^ Columnist. "Review: Here, My Dear". Vibe: 105. May 1994.
  16. ^ Robert Christgau: CG: Marvin Gaye
  17. ^ RS 500 Albums - 462) Here, My Dear
  18. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Marvin Gaye, 'Here, My Dear'". Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ Q, December 1999

References[edit]

  • Here, My Dear album liner notes by David Ritz & Harry Weinger. UMG Recordings, Inc. 2008.