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  1. #1

    45 years ago, Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" was released

    Marvin Gaye was still in a pretty good place, personally and professionally, in early 1976 as he was prepping the release of his 14th album, I Want You.
    His last couple of albums – 1971's What's Going On and 1973's Let's Get It On – were critical and commercial hits, with the latter LP's title track going all the way to No. 1. In between those two records, he wrote and produced the soundtrack for Trouble Man. A truly solo achievement, Trouble Man served as some sort of consolation after What's Going On's sequel, You're the Man, was shelved because of its political leanings.


    Gaye also embarked on a successful tour and recorded the last of his popular duet albums, this one with Diana Ross, around this time. Within two years, it would all come tumbling down, as a messy divorce, drug abuse, another canceled record and dwindling sales piled up. But in 1976, all was still relatively good.
    Back in 1970, when he was assembling the songs and ideas that would result in What's Going On, Gaye was leading a new artist-driven campaign at Motown, which slowly and tentatively began to loosen its grip on some in its stable of stars. Gaye – who'd been around from nearly the start of the company, singing on his own hits as well as penning songs for others – wasn't given total control of his music until Trouble Man, but for the most part he was trusted with his vision.

    Thing is, Gaye didn't always trust that vision himself. In some ways, that led to You're the Man remaining unreleased at the time [[it finally got an official release in 2019). And when he was putting together music for his next album in 1975, he sought help from producer Leon Ware, a Motown staffer who'd recently scored solo hits for Michael Jackson and the Smokey Robinson-less Miracles. He ended up playing a big part in shaping what eventually became I Want You.

    Read More: 45 Years Ago: Marvin Gaye Stirs Up a Storm on 'I Want You' | https://ultimateclassicrock.com/marv...edium=referral



  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Marvin Gaye was still in a pretty good place, personally and professionally, in early 1976 as he was prepping the release of his 14th album, I Want You.
    His last couple of albums – 1971's What's Going On and 1973's Let's Get It On – were critical and commercial hits, with the latter LP's title track going all the way to No. 1. In between those two records, he wrote and produced the soundtrack for Trouble Man. A truly solo achievement, Trouble Man served as some sort of consolation after What's Going On's sequel, You're the Man, was shelved because of its political leanings.


    Gaye also embarked on a successful tour and recorded the last of his popular duet albums, this one with Diana Ross, around this time. Within two years, it would all come tumbling down, as a messy divorce, drug abuse, another canceled record and dwindling sales piled up. But in 1976, all was still relatively good.
    Back in 1970, when he was assembling the songs and ideas that would result in What's Going On, Gaye was leading a new artist-driven campaign at Motown, which slowly and tentatively began to loosen its grip on some in its stable of stars. Gaye – who'd been around from nearly the start of the company, singing on his own hits as well as penning songs for others – wasn't given total control of his music until Trouble Man, but for the most part he was trusted with his vision.

    Thing is, Gaye didn't always trust that vision himself. In some ways, that led to You're the Man remaining unreleased at the time [[it finally got an official release in 2019). And when he was putting together music for his next album in 1975, he sought help from producer Leon Ware, a Motown staffer who'd recently scored solo hits for Michael Jackson and the Smokey Robinson-less Miracles. He ended up playing a big part in shaping what eventually became I Want You.

    Read More: 45 Years Ago: Marvin Gaye Stirs Up a Storm on 'I Want You' | https://ultimateclassicrock.com/marv...edium=referral


    This article wasn't written by someone in the know.

    I do wonder what would have happened to Leon Ware's career if his unreleased album hadn't been hijacked by Berry Gordy as the basis for the next Marvin Gaye album.

    Obviously, Musical Massage gives some hint at Leon's ongoing musical vision but unfortunately by then, Leon Ware's sound had become Marvin Gaye's sound, and the album sounded like a Marvin Gaye clone, whereas the opposite was actually the case.

    Was Leon Ware robbed of great success, or would his own version of "I Want You" have sold only in small quantities because he didn't have Marvin's voice and Marvin's additional creative input?

    In short, did Berry Gordy actually get it right for all concerned, or just for Motown and Marvin Gaye?

  3. #3
    IMO unless Leon Ware was able to develop his material into what we got with I Want You as recorded by Marvin, then I seriously doubt that these tracks would have seen the light of day. Even then, for me its Marvin vocals [[with, on some tracks Leon's music) which make this album great.

  4. #4
    this is just a sensational album. i actually prefer it to Let's Get It On. and the Expanded Edition is just excellent

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    this is just a sensational album. i actually prefer it to Let's Get It On. and the Expanded Edition is just excellent
    LGIO is in part made up from one long track split up so as to open and close side 1, plus some old tracks that Marvin had been playing around with for a couple of years or more. In this respect, it isn’t ‘of a piece’ whereas IWY definitely is.

    I must admit that I don’t often listen to LGIO, but IWY gets lots of plays in Sotosound Mansions. It just grabs me more.

  6. #6
    Interesting to see other posters who have the same exquisite, refined taste as myself . In a more serious vein, I liked LGIO but LOVED IWY during its chart run. Personally I think it's impossible to pin down why we like one lp over another, but I'll try. I think I find the overall 'sound' of the IWY lp to be more jazzy and sophisticated so maybe that's why it holds more current agency for me. Or, maybe just because IWY is less played? Who knows. LGIO and IWY are both brilliant lps and I consider myself lucky to have been around when they were issued. I do think the Leon Ware and T Boy Ross contributions to IWY are inestimable [[shout out to Ross - great work, you left us too soon), but of course the lp is another representation of Gaye brilliance.

  7. #7
    I listened to Musical Massage years ago and I didn't get the same feeling of chills going down my spine that I got from I Want You.

    Something about Marvin's voice and the music in IWY makes the hair of the back of your neck stand up. Leon as a singer just doesn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, Leon is a fine vocalist and musician but in this instance, he was like Cyrano de Bergerac to Marvin's Christian. And yet unlike Christian, Marvin makes you further believe in the songs he's singing that Leon is not even there.

    Least that's how I feel about I Want You. A great work for Marvin that sometimes gets overlooked because it's not as socially woke as What's Going On or as sensual and dramatic as Let's Get It On or as thematic as Trouble Man or full of drama and tea-dishing [[and personal reflection) as Here, My Dear.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sotosound View Post
    I do wonder what would have happened to Leon Ware's career if his unreleased album hadn't been hijacked by Berry Gordy as the basis for the next Marvin Gaye album.

    Obviously, Musical Massage gives some hint at Leon's ongoing musical vision but unfortunately by then, Leon Ware's sound had become Marvin Gaye's sound, and the album sounded like a Marvin Gaye clone, whereas the opposite was actually the case.

    Was Leon Ware robbed of great success, or would his own version of "I Want You" have sold only in small quantities because he didn't have Marvin's voice and Marvin's additional creative input?

    In short, did Berry Gordy actually get it right for all concerned, or just for Motown and Marvin Gaye?
    Nothing against Leon Ware but, in 1976, Motown needed Marvin Gaye to have another hit LP. Consider that The Jackson 5 had left the company the year before, Stevie Wonder was taking longer between albums & Motown was facing competition from the major record empires like Warner's, Columbia, RCA and others. And Marvin himself hadn't recorded a solo follow up studio LP to 1973's Let's Get It On. So, B.G. got it right mainly for Marvin when he introduced him to the work of Leon Ware which led to I Want You [[one of my favorite albums by him and the last studio LP for Motown where he was fully at the top of his game).
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 03-18-2021 at 04:24 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Nothing against Leon Ware but, in 1976, Motown needed Marvin Gaye to have another hit LP. Consider that The Jackson 5 had left the company the year before, Stevie Wonder was taking longer between albums & Motown was facing competition from the major record empires like Warner's, Columbia, RCA and others. And Marvin himself hadn't recorded a solo follow up studio LP to 1973's Let's Get It On. So, B.G. got it right mainly for Marvin when he introduced him to the work of Leon Ware which led to I Want You [[one of my favorite albums by him and the last studio LP for Motown where he was fully at the top of his game).
    Marvin had a serious writer's block in 1975. Leon was just the right man for him in a way that Willie Hutch wasn't.

  10. #10
    "I Want You" is my favorite Marvin Gaye album. I discovered Gaye's music when I was in college in the 80s and Motown started releasing CDs. IWY knocked me out. It had the long player sensual vibe of a Sade album. His voice was hypnotic even though I now know that IWY doesn't represent his best vocal work.

    I respect Leon Ware's excellent contribution to IWY. Ware was a gifted writer and producer who made magic here, for himself and with other artists. However, it is Gaye's commitment and vocal performance that elevates IWY to classic status.

  11. #11
    To further make the point. This John Morales mix of "I Want You" showcases Gaye's distinctive and highly influential vocal swagger on this album. Always imitated, never duplicated...


  12. #12
    I've been listening to the Expanded Edition of this album and I've listened to it a few times before but for some reason the alternate track All The Around has become an earworm. I looked up the lyrics to the song and it made a world of difference. I think on the alternate version Marvin's vocals and the background vocals are a little bit more pronounced, as are the lyrics and makes it more of a groove.

    Last edited by SatansBlues; 03-22-2021 at 04:08 PM.

  13. #13
    All The Way Around

    Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh [[ah)
    Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
    I, i, i, ooh

    Oh, do you wanna do it? Let's it get it on
    But how you gonna act this time around
    Before I take it off, down to the skin
    Let's get an understanding

    Girl, you didn't understand my philosophy
    You did not understand
    You just ran away from me

    Oh, I missed you baby [[all the way, around, girl)
    Ooh I missed you, baby, I miss you [[all the way, around, girl)
    You're the best I ever had
    You're so bad, baby [[all the way, around, girl)
    But I must like you like that
    Although you won't let me control this or that
    I still find you're where it's at

    Ah, now I see, you're coming straight to the point
    [[You know you want what you see pretty girl)
    You say the more you get, baby
    Ah, the more you want me
    Yeah, darling, you're not wasting my time
    What I see baby, is so hard to find
    [[Baby, you been around, baby, you been around)
    Although you've been all over town, baby
    [[Baby, you been around)
    Having your affairs, I still got to accept you back
    [[Baby, you been around, baby, you been around)
    Angel though you're promiscuous
    [[Baby, you been around) I don't mind a bit
    [[Baby, you been around) 'cause you're still the greatest
    Lay even when you're miles away [[baby, you been around)

    Girl, if you run away again [[all the way, around and back, girl)
    Surely my heart would never mend
    Don't tell me the love we made [[all the way, around and back, girl)
    Was just for old times sake [[all the way, around and back, girl)
    Staying up, waiting, waiting on you now [[all the way, around and back, girl)
    Was just so hard to take
    She said that pain might never mend [[all the way, around and back, girl)
    So let's be sometime lovers [[come back to me)
    Oh, baby, that's when my poor heart broke up

    So if you got a lover and you want her for your wife
    You got to love her good and love her life, mmm-hmm [[love you)
    Well, if you've got a girl and you want her for your wife
    You got to love her good and love her life [[i love you)
    If you've got a pretty girl and you want her for your wife
    Love her good and love her life, oh love, oh-oh [[ooh)
    If you've got a woman and you want her for your wife
    You got to love her good and love her life, baby [[i love you)
    Yes sir, so if you got a lover and you want her for your wife
    You got to treat her good and love her all her life
    Yeah, ooh-ooh

    [[Arthur Ross, Leon Ware)

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