Vulnerable (Marvin Gaye album)
|Studio album by Marvin Gaye|
|Released||April 22, 1997|
|Recorded||1967-79 at Marvin Gaye's Studios (Hollywood, California)|
|Producer||Marvin Gaye, Bobby Scott, Amy Herot|
|Marvin Gaye chronology|
Vulnerable is a posthumous album recorded by American singer Marvin Gaye in the late 1970s and originally set to be released under the tentative title of The Ballads. Shelved in 1979, the album was finally released by Motown in 1997.
By 1967, Marvin Gaye was Motown's best-selling male artist. Since starting his solo career and inspired by pop/jazz vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Billy Eckstine, Marvin tried several times to record jazz albums. His debut, 1961's The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye featured Marvin doing covers of Broadway standards and covers of jazz singles by Sinatra and Nat King Cole, failed to attract listeners. Two similar albums, 1964's When I'm Alone I Cry and Hello Broadway also failed to attract much attention. A 1965 tribute album to Nat King Cole was also released to little praise.
Despite Motown's initial disappointment in Marvin's jazz ambitions, the singer still felt confident enough that he could record a convincing jazz record. Collaborating with Bobby Scott and his orchestra in 1968, Marvin set on recording a ballads album. The sessions, however, weren't successful and halfway through the recordings, Marvin decided to put his jazz ambitions on hold as he focused on duet work with the likes of Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell and continuing his successful career as a soul artist.
Marvin started to embellish some jazz in his work after the release of his landmark 1971 album, What's Going On and, from then on, to use jazz musicians to help him in his albums. By the late 1970s, he had created his own recording studio, Marvin's Room, and recorded a string of ambitious projects. After a tumultuous period in his personal life, Marvin decided to revive his collaborations with Scott and release an album he called The Ballads.
Recording sessions for the album started in 1977 at Marvin's recording studio. Among the songs recorded were "Why Did I Choose You", a song he had sung once live on television a decade previously, "She Needs Me", "Funny Not Much", "This Will Make You Laugh" and "The Shadow of Your Smile". Album sessions were completed in 1979 but Marvin, upset that his concept album, Here, My Dear, tanked on the charts mainly due to the album's subject matter, decided to shelve the project, despite later telling author David Ritz that he felt the album was "the best stuff I ever did".
Marvin set to working on a disco album he had entitled Love Man, although that album was reinvented in 1980 as In Our Lifetime, focusing on Gaye's personal struggles with love and his faith in God. After that album's rush release, Marvin left Motown Records. By the time of the completion of Ballads, Marvin's studio was shut down due to foreclosure brought on by the singer's troubled financial state. He later filed for voluntary bankruptcy and left the United States at the dawn of the 1980s.
Romantically Yours and the release of Vulnerable
In 1985, Columbia, which had signed Marvin to a contract in early 1982 after he left Motown and where he recorded his last major hit "Sexual Healing" and the album Midnight Love, released the third and last Marvin Gaye album featured on the contract he had signed. Columbia's parent label, CBS worked together with Motown to issue 'lost' recordings. Releasing Romantically Yours, the album featured the 1968 version of "Why Did I Choose You" and two alternate 1977 recorded versions of "I Won't Cry Anymore" and "The Shadow of Your Smile" among others.
In April 1997, Motown finally issued the long-awaited 1970s sessions from The Ballads, renaming the project as Vulnerable. This featured a front cover of Gaye in a picture culled from the photo sessions of What's Going On and had the background animated to black with just his face showing. Three alternate versions of "Why Did I Choose You", "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" and "I Won't Cry Anymore" were featured on the album in which Marvin introduced vocal ad-libs, especially on "I Wish I Didn't Love You So". Gaye improvised his own lyrics for the alternate version of "I Won't Cry Anymore".
- "Why Did I Choose You?" (Michael Leonard, Herbert Martin) - 2:38
- "She Needs Me" (Jody Emerson, Earl Montgomery) - 3:26
- "Funny (Not Much)" (Scott Edward, Larry Holofcener) - 2:44
- "This Will Make You Laugh" (Irene Higgenbotham) - 2:53
- "The Shadow of Your Smile" (Johnny Mandel, Paul Francis Webster) - 3:08
- "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" (Frank Loesser) - 2:35
- "I Won't Cry Anymore" (Al Frisch, Fred Wise) - 3:00
- "Why Did I Choose You?" (Alternate vocal) (Michael Leonard, Herbert Martin) - 2:37
- "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" (Alternate vocal) (Frank Loesser) - 2:36
- "I Won't Cry Anymore" (Alternate vocal) (Al Frisch, Fred Wise) - 2:53
- Ramon Aninag - Project Assistant
- Candace Bond - Executive Producer
- Koji Egawa - Assistant Engineer
- Carol Friedman - Art Direction, Photography, Still Pictures
- Marvin Gaye - Vocals, Producer, Vocal Producer
- David Harley - Art Direction
- John Hendrickson - Engineer
- Amy Herot - Producer
- Gavin Lurssen - Mastering
- David Moss - Tape Archivist, Librarian
- David Ritz - Liner Notes, Essay
- Bob Schaper - Editing, Editing Engineer
- Bill Schnee - Mixing
- Bobby Scott - Arranger, Producer, Orchestral Arrangements, Orchestra Production
- Dana Smart - Production Coordination, Project Coordinator
- Art Stewart - Producer
- Georgia Ward - Tape Archivist