Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

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"Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide"
Single by Marvin Gaye
from the album The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye
B-side "Never Let You Go (Sha-Lu Bop)"
Released May 25, 1961
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville USA, Detroit, Michigan, 1961
Genre Rhythm and blues
Length 3:01
Label Tamla
T 54041
Writer(s) Berry Gordy
Producer(s) Berry Gordy
Marvin Gaye singles chronology
"Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide"

"Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide" is the debuting single for singer Marvin Gaye, released as Tamla 54041, in May 1961.[1] It was also the first release off Gaye's debut album, The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye, in which most of the material was the singer's failed attempt at making an "adult" record compared to Motown's younger R&B sound.[2]



In 1960, Marvin Gay, Jr. moved to Detroit with his mentor Harvey Fuqua, who had first booked him as a co-lead singer of "Harvey & the Moonglows", a splinter version of the popular fifties doo-wop group, the Moonglows. Fuqua and Gay met up with several members of the Gordy family, and before long both of them were dating the female Gordy members Gwen and Anna respectively. Around that fall, Marvin was introduced to Motown Records CEO Berry Gordy after Gaye walked in during a party at the local Hitsville studios and played around on the piano. Gordy later signed Gay first as a session drummer for Anna Records and eventually signed him into Motown's Tamla label as an artist. After several arguments over the direction of the album - the headstrong Marvin wanted to record a "Frank Sinatra-styled pop album" while Gordy wanted him to record R&B, the two came to a compromise, while most of Soulful Moods featured covers of jazz songs and Broadway tunes, three of the final songs on the album were produced in an rhythm and blues mode.

Song style[edit]

This song was inspired by a Ray Charles ballad and featured background vocals by The Andantes. During the song Marvin mixes a smooth tenor with a few falsetto whoops.


Gordy released it with the b-side being the Anna Gordy and Harvey Fuqua-penned "Never Let You Go (Sha-Lu Bop)" in May 1961, a month after Marvin's 22nd birthday. Before its release, however, Marvin sought to begin his solo career with a new name. Inspired by Sam Cooke, Marvin added an "e" to his last name therefore becoming forever known as Marvin Gaye. Despite regional success in Detroit, the song failed to enter either the pop or R&B chart on the national Billboard magazine. Mary Wells later covered the song for her own debut Motown release, Bye Bye Baby I Don't Want to Take a Chance.



  1. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol 1: 1959-61 [CD liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records.
  2. ^ Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide at Discogs

External links[edit]