Marvin Gaye was arguably Motown’s greatest soul singer-definitely its most troubled. On April 5, the label kicks off a yearlong tribute to Gaye-killed by his preacherman father on April 1, 1984-with the CD release of the long-out- of-print Here, My Dear, a poignant artifact from a life filled with bizarre twists. In a 1977 divorce settlement, Gaye was ordered to pay his ex-wife, Anna Gordy, the $305,000 advance for his next album, plus the first $295,000 of its earnings. Instead of a throwaway quickie, he delivered the masterful Here, My Dear, an astonishingly lush work chronicling his acrimonious split from the sister of Berry Gordy, founder of Motown. ”In contrast to an Ice Cube, Gaye took all his confusion and rage and molded it into viscerally beautiful music,” says Gaye biographer David Ritz. ”Without that outlet, he would have destroyed himself much earlier.”
Motown’s celebration will continue with the rerelease of several of Gaye’s LPs, including a completely remixed ”What’s Going On” in June, a CD of unreleased tracks, and a ”Tribute to…” TV special and album.