Marvin Gaye‘s career was nothing short of legendary, cementing himself as one of Motown’s most successful male artists with countless unforgettable hooks, and all after years of early commercial failures and working as a session musician. On the 30th anniversary of his death, we reflect on his legacy, humanity and overwhelming vulnerability with a rare unearthed interview from Dice Magazine circa 1971. In the interview he describes the divine inspiration that went into his masterpiece Whats Going On, his early childhood, his fascination with nature and why he believed Europeans understood him better than Americans. Its a thoughtful account with one of the greatest hearts and minds the music industry has ever had the honor to observe. Below you can catch a few of the most compelling excerpts from the interview, but be sure to keep it locked as we continue to celebrate Marvin’s legacy tomorrow; what would have been the Motown great’s 75th birthday. Head over to The GuardianUK for the full scoop.
On his childhood fascination with nature:
“I can remember as a child I always kept myself to myself and I always dug nature. I used to fool around with worms, beetles and birds, and I used to admire them while the other kids were playing sports. It was like some strange force made me more aware of nature. Those kids playing sports were also showing love – love for sport. And if we could integrate all types of love into one sphere we’d have it made.”
On being the vessel for Whats Going On:
“I musn’t get into ego tripping, because I didn’t have much to do with it. But I’m only human and when you get a lot of pats on the back for something it makes you go on trips. I was only the instrument in the album – all the inspiration came from God himself. It’s one that should be listened to. The material is social commentary but there’s nothing extreme on it. I did it not only to help humanity but to help me as well, and I think it has. It’s given me a certain amount of peace.”
On his connection with Europeans and his next move:
“I’d certainly consider a European tour. I’d love to come back some day and say hi to the people, see the country and groove there. It’s been a long time and I’m beginning to feel like an old man. I feel that people in Europe are different from Americans – I think your soul is a little deeper. What a helluva thing I’m saying! There you seem to understand my blackness, my forcefulness and my earthiness. I feel you understand and I get the vibration that you care a little more.”