Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
Tamla Motown (Vinyl)
By Paul Rigby
Let’s get it on is this month’s Classic Album Sunday featured album and will be played at 5pm, Sunday 8th January. We’d like as many people as possible to join in, have their own listening sessions and let us know their thoughts.
Some call it a masterpiece of erotic expression, one critic called it “a song about the spirituality of the sex act — a proverbial sermon in the sheets” and a 2002 poll voted it a favourite “soundtrack for sex”. Those words referred to the title track of the 1973 album, Let’s Get It On, that is infused with carnal knowledge. From the highly erotic, You Sure Love To Ball to the heated Just To Keep You Satisfied, this is music to form the backdrop to seduction.
Let’s Get It On was the first successful album which dealt entirely with the pleasures of sex and sensuality but the album, at one point, didn’t look as though it was going to happen. Despite the high sales of Gaye’s 1971 smash album, What’s Going On? Gaye failed to see many, if any, monetary rewards for the LP. This caused him to retreat into a creative funk, “I was sitting around, incensed and mad and angry,” said Gaye. “When I get that way, I just won’t do anything. Motown did that to me.”
It was while meeting with ex-performer and songwriter, Ed Townshend, that sparked Gaye back into life.
“Ed and I had been good friends for years,” said Gaye. “When Ed came and told me an idea for a song called Let’s Get It On, I knew immediately and instinctively that the phrase alone was a smash. Then he sat and played the melody for me and I knew that the melody was beautiful and I did the lyric and it worked.”
Gaye then persuaded Motown supremo Berry Gordy to allow Townsend — rather than a staff member — to co-produce the album.
This LP formed the basis for a multitude of copy-cat albums, similarly bent on lustful thoughts and innuendo but none are able to reach the throbbing blend of sensual asceticism that this album provides. Gaye was a naturally, sexually charged performer. With Let’s Get It On, he not only unleashed his own natural powers but, for his many fans, formed a catalyst to many an erotic tryst.
Stand-out track: Come Get To This
This is a rolling, up-tempo track that lives in the upper midrange frequencies of your hi-fi system. Hence, what you can do without, is a set of speakers that ‘squawk’, making listening a difficult experience. You also want a system that has a spacious and ordered soundstage because there’s a lot going on within the mix. A freeform arrangement, this unassuming track will test your hi-fi to the max.
Let’s Get It On – A Recorded History
1973 LP Tamla Motown STMA 8013
1984 Cass Tamla Motown WK 72085
1984 LP Tamla Motown WL 72085
1984 CD Motown 530 055-2
1998 CD Motown 530 885-2
2002 CD Motown 064 021-2