02 April 2010

I Hate April Fools' Day

I really do. I mean, I will freely admit that I am a goofball and a jokester and have definitely pulled some pranks on some folks but I cannot stand the fact there is a whole day devoted to just screwing someone over for one's own amusement.

And then, there's the Marvin Gaye factor.

I was in elementary school when Marvin was shot to death by his father on 1 April 1984, the day before Marvin's 45th birthday. I remember my parents were devastated and I was sad as well; by that point, I had been listening to Marvin's music for literally all of my life. Watching the story unfold on the evening news seemed like I was being subjected to the cruelest April Fools' joke ever. And yet, it was not a hoax.

Never mind the fact that Marvin was said to be struggling with cocaine addiction, money problems, depression, and the pain of two failed marriages. (The first was to Berry Gordy's sister Anna who was 17 years his senior and the second to Janis Hunter who happened to be 17 years his junior and whom he pursued and had two children with while she was still a teenager. And in another odd coincidence, according to Wikipedia, the birthdays of two women are 2 days apart.). And never mind the fact that, after years of reflection, a number of Marvin's friends now believe that he purposely provoked Marvin Sr. into shooting him as a way of committing suicide (I saw this on the PBS series American Masters). It is still probably the saddest end to a life I have ever seen or heard, especially for an individual who had contributed so much to people's lives through his artistry.

I absolutely hate April Fools' Day.

Marvin's last big hit. Soul Asylum did a cover of it in the 90s that I dug because their version confirmed for me that I was not nuts all those years I believed that Marvin was singing something about masturbation in the fade out.

"I Want You"
This song to me is like pure sex in stereo, baby!

"If I Should Die Tonight"
For me, there are no words to describe the beauty of this song.

This is from Here, My Dear, the album Marvin recorded as the settlement in his divorce from Anna Gordy. I have only listened to the album one time and it took me three sittings to listen to the whole thing because I found the bitterness and pain that permeates the album to be overwhelming.

This is one of my favorites of Marvin's and I think it's a shame that it is hardly ever played anywhere. Meanwhile, I think Chico DeBarge did a great job with this classic.

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