marvin-how-sweet#19 – Marvin Gaye – “You’re a Wonderful One” – (1965)

This is a highly underrated Marvin Gaye classic. Written by the wonderful trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland, it ran up to #15 on the Hot 100 in 1964 (and was released on Gaye’s ’65 album How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You). Guess who is one backing vocals. Yeah, that’s the Supremes.

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14231337_10155239453374966_3845707010656425530_o#3 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – (1967)

This might be the best “Motown” song (even though technically it was released on Tamla label, which is what Motown was called first). Marvin Gaye had a lot of duet hits in the 1960s and did an entire album with Tammi Terrell. It’s been covered a lot (and Diana Ross took it to #1) but this is and always will be the best version. Fun fact: this song was written by Ashford & Simpson who would have their own success about a dozen years later.

220px-MarvinGayeWhat'sGoingOnalbumcover#1 – Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On” – (1971)

Listen to this and tell me Marvin Gaye wasn’t an incredible singer and songwriter (he co-wrote this one). The song was written about police brutality originally, but given the timely nature of its release it was the perfect song to sum up a lot of people’s feelings on Vietnam. Disappointingly, it only made it to #2 on the Hot 100, but it doesn’t matter because it remains of the greatest songs ever recorded.

 

220px-Let's_Get_It_On#11 – Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On” – (1973)

Those first few notes of this song tell you exactly what it is – and what it is is smoooth. This Hot 100 #1 is one of the sexiest songs ever and is soul defined. A lot of songs can lay claim to being Marvin Gaye’s signature song but I think this one might have the strongest argument.

mglive#4 – Marvin Gaye – “Got To Give It Up (Pt. 1)” – (1977)

Marvin Gaye was an incredible artist and one we lost far too soon. Because if you can pen a song like this, you probably have a lot more to give. But he was killed less than 10 years after this live album’s release. There are elements of disco, funk, and soul here and it topped the Hot 100 in the summer of ’77. More recently, this song is known as the one Robin Thicke sampled without permission in the still-catchy “Blurred Lines.”

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “You’re All I Need to Get By” – (1968)

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell were duet masters. First of all, Marvin Gaye is one of the best singers we’ve ever had, even if his time was cut way too short. Tammi Terrell’s career was cut even shorter, dying from a brain tumor in 1970 at age 24. Before she went, she and Marvin put out some great tunes together, including this Billboard top ten hit. This song was actually written by Ashford & Simpson, but made famous by these two here.

Marvin Gaye – “Sexual Healing” – (1982)

Marvin Gaye released more awesome songs during the 1960s than just about anyone I can think of (the Supremes, maybe?). In 1982 he released Midnight Love – his first non-Motown album. And it contained “Sexual Healing” which was a top 5 hit in the U.S. and a #1 elsewhere. It was his first hit in 5 years and remains one of his most popular songs. It would also be his final hit as he was murdered by his own father in 1984, a day before his 45th birthday. Marvin Gaye had one of the smoothest voices in recording history and it’s kind of fitting that his final hit and legacy stem from one of the smoothest songs in recording history.