It was once said to me that in a poll to find the song linked to most accidental conceptions was Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”, therefore it is little surprise that with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the clever people at Universal/Island have realised that it is an appropriate time to release a double CD collection of Marvin Gaye’s greatest love songs. However, with a collection as strong and versatile as Gaye’s there is little to complain about. Of course, the King of Motown was also the King of Soul and Love Marvin is an irrepressible selection of his greatest hits.
Naturally the collection opens with “Let’s Get It On” and “Sexual Healing”, but what it is important not to forget was that as these ‘let’s make love tonight’ classics, Gaye could also be a true romantic. His rendition of “How Sweet It Is (To be Loved By You)” is both tender and soulful. The conviction in his delivery undeniable, with his soft tones enough to melt even the hardest heart. Equally, when Gaye sings cheesy classic “My Girl”, he adds a level of class to the proceedings.
Most important though for the Valentine’s market are the classic duets. Featured heavily are the early recordings from his days with Tammi Terrell. Strange is the inclusion of the oddly-titled “The Onion Song”. While sizzling with Terrell, Diana Ross and Mary Wells, it is with Kim Weston that everything really fizzes. There combating vocals combine sublimely on the divine “It Takes Two”.
Love Marvin doesn’t really turn out any surprises, though the inclusion of some songs is questionable given the time of release (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is pure genius but a love album containing a song about his love cheating? Really?). Marvin Gaye is undoubtedly a talent to be celebrated and the King of Love is perfectly suited to Valentine’s Day. I am normally sceptical about album with taglines “The Greatest Love Songs Of”, but Love Marvin just about gets away with even that.
To win a copy of Love Marvin simply tell us with whom Marvin Gaye duetted on “Stop Look Listen (To Your Heart)”. Email answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 12th.