In the week of what would have been Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday on 2 April, Motown/UMe will release his never-issued Motown album of 1972, You’re The Man, on 29 March. It will be available in 2LP gatefold vinyl and digital editions.
The set contains all of the soul figurehead’s solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972, with most tracks making their first appearance on vinyl. A new mix of the romantic ballad ‘My Last Chance’ by acclaimed writer-producer SaLaAM ReMi, known for his work with Nas, the Fugees and Amy Winehouse, is now available for streaming, and for immediate download with pre-orders of the album. ReMi has also remixed ‘Symphony’ and ‘I’d Give My Life For You’ for the album..
The transitional year of 1972 was one in which Gaye was enjoying universal acclaim for his masterpiece of the year before, What’s Going On. The three singles from it, the title track, ‘Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)’ and ‘Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),’ were all US R&B No. 1s and top ten pop successes. He followed them with another soul top tenner, the politically-inspired ‘You’re The Man,’ but after the song’s failure to cross over to the pop market in a big way, Gaye retreated.
During the year, in Detroit and Los Angeles, he recorded enough music for an album, producing himself and working with writers such as Willie Hutch, Hal Davis and the teams of Pam Sawyer & Gloria Jones and Freddie Perren & Fonce Mizell.
None of this material, apart from the single, was released at the time; it’s now gathered together on You’re The Man, which also includes the rare, long LP version of Gaye’s cancelled 1972 Christmas single and an unreleased mix from the vaults of its instrumental B-side. Songs from the album have appeared on various CD releases over the years, but 15 of the 17 tracks are making their vinyl debut.
The 2LP vinyl edition of the album includes new liner notes by Marvin Gaye biographer David Ritz, who explores Gaye’s internal conflict of the time as a source of both creative vigour and emotional burden. In an interview first seen in Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, the artist said that, in the wake of What’s Going On, “now I could do what I wanted. For most people that would be a blessing. But for me the thought was heavy.
“They said I’d reached the top, and that scared me because Mother used to say, ‘First ripe, first rotten.’ When you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go but down. No, I needed to keep going up — raising my consciousness — or I’d fall back on my behind. When would the war stop? That’s what I wanted to know — the war inside my soul.”
Despite his inner conflicts, 1972 was also the year in which Gaye continued work on the Diana & Marvin album of duets with Diana Ross, and accepted an offer to write what became the Trouble Man film score.
You’re The Man is released on 29 March. Scroll down for the full tracklisting, and pre-order it here.