Monthly Archives: March 2009

I Heard it Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye (The Prince of Motown)

On the 25th Anniversary of his untimely death.  I want to pay tribute to the great voice of Marvin Gaye.

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer-songwriter and instrumentalist with a three-octave vocal range.   Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla subsidiary of Motown Records.   After a year as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties.

Due to solo hits including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)“, “Ain’t That Peculiar“, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, he was crowned “The Prince of Motown” and “The Prince of Soul”.

Notable for fighting the hit-making but restrictive Motown process in which performers and songwriters and producers were kept separate, Gaye proved with albums like his 1971 What’s Going On and his 1973 Let’s Get It On. It was impressive that he was able to produce music without relying on the system, inspiring fellow Motown artists such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to do the same.

His mid-1970s work including the Let’s Get It On and I Want You albums helped influence the quiet storm, urban adult contemporary and slow jam genres. After a self-imposed European exile in the late seventies, Gaye returned on the 1982 Grammy-winning hit, “Sexual Healing” and the Midnight Love album before his death at the hands of his father on April 1, 1984. He was posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 2008, the American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Gaye #6 on its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time, and ranked #18 on 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

On April 1, 1984, one day before his 45th birthday, Gaye’s father fatally shot him after an argument that started after his parents squabbled over misplaced business documents. Gaye attempted to intervene, and was killed by his father using a gun he had given him four months before.   Marvin Sr. was sentenced to six years of probation after pleading guilty to manslaughter.   Charges of first-degree murder were dropped after doctors discovered Marvin Sr. had a brain tumor. Spending his final years in a retirement home, he died of pneumonia in 1998.   In 1987, Gaye was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   He was also inducted to Hollywood’s Rock Walk in 1989 and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.

Marvin will be featured by this site in the future, but as a tribute to those of us “who have ears to hear” this is one sweet voice and one great song.

Never Enough – Holiday Parade

My obsession with this band goes on.

Growing up is never easy; each day we face various trials and tribulations that impact our lives in one way or another. But there are those moments where everything in life just seems perfect, and all one wants to do is soak in the joy of being alive. That is the feeling the members of Holiday Parade are trying to capture in their music.

Simple innocence is something that has almost been lost in music today. It seems as though the music industry now days is far too concerned with putting out records simply to sell millions. Finding a truly meaningful song on the radio is nearly impossible. Andy Albert, the band’s song-writer, is set on changing that: “When I write songs I rely heavily on personal experiences and the things that mean the most to me in life. If you really think about it, everyone goes through similar, if not the same, experiences: first kisses, falling in love, friends and enemies, loss etc. We are all intertwined in this aspect…. so I write about all of them.”

After playing in various local bands for the last 5 years, Holiday Parade was formed out of Andy’s overwhelming ambition to get somewhere with his love for music. “I’ve played in and out of plenty of bands with people who were not at all committed to the cause (making great songs) for nearly 5 years. Over the last 6 months (early 2004) I wrote songs following the belief that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. And I firmly believe that if you truly want something out of life, you have to do all in your power to achieve it.”

The name Holiday Parade blossomed from the simple idea of celebration: instead of crying about how difficult life can be we must rejoice in the fact that we are alive and do everything we can to love life.

Through playing numerous shows with bands such as MTV favorites Cartel, Drive Thru’s young star Dave Melillo, and Virgin Records’ The Summer Obsession (to name a few), in addition to constantly writing and recording songs, Holiday Parade hope that one day they will have the opportunity to share their positive outlook on life with the world, giving everyone a chance to, even if only for a split second, love being alive.

Here is another video that I think will make you a fan…..more importantly…it is definitely for “those who have ears to hear”.

Just My Imagination – The Temptations


The number one song on March 30, 1971 was “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations.

For more than forty years, the Temptations have prospered, propelling popular music with a series of smash hits and sold-out performances throughout the world.

The history of the Temptations is the history of contemporary American pop.   An essential component of the original Motown machine, that amazing engine invented by Berry Gordy, the Temps began their musical life in Detroit in the early sixties.   It wasn’t until 1964, however, that the Smokey Robinson written-and-produced “The Way You Do the Things You Do” turned the guys into stars.

An avalanche of hits followed, many of which – “My Girl,” for instance-attained immortality. “It’s Growing,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “Get Ready,” “Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep,” “I Wish It Would Rain”-the hits kept coming.

The classic lineup was Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin.   Beyond the fabulous singing, the Temps became known for smooth stepping and flawless presentations.   The Temptation Walk became a staple of American style, Flair, flash and class.   Millions of fans saw their Temptations as cultural heroes.

When the sixties and seventies turned political, the Temps got serious.   They changed their tone, dress and music. Producer Norman Whitfield led the way.   His Temptations hits, many featuring Dennis Edwards who had replaced David Ruffin, burned with intensity. “Runaway Child,” “Cloud Nine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack” still smolder.

This song, Just My Imagination, is just another one of the worthy songs listed here for…”those who have ears to hear”…

Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles

On March 29, 1964 the number one song in the nation was “Can’t Buy me Love” by the Beatles.

The Beatles established four records on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Can’t Buy Me Love” at number one:

  1. Until Billboard began using SoundScan for their charts, it had the biggest jump to number one: (number twenty-seven to number one; no other single ever did this).
  2. It gave The Beatles three consecutive number-one songs (“I Want to Hold Your Hand” was replaced at number one by “She Loves You” which was in turn replaced by “Can’t Buy Me Love”).
  3. When “Can’t Buy Me Love” went to number one (4 April 1964), the entire top five of the Hot 100 was by The Beatles, the next positions being filled by “Twist and Shout“, “She Loves You“, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me,” respectively. No other act has held the top five spots simultaneously.
  4. During its second week at number one (11 April 1964), The Beatles had fourteen songs on the Hot 100 at the same time.

Rolling Stone ranked “Can’t Buy Me Love” at #289 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Sit back and enjoy it…maybe for the first time ever or at least in a long time.

It is worthy of this collection…”For those who have ears to hear”