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SM247
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xx Pete Townshend on Marvin Gaye
« Thread started on: Dec 22nd, 2012, 09:29am »

I am here reading Pete Townshend, member of rock band The Who, recent autobiography and came across a nice little passage about when he first met Marvin Gaye. Enjoy


"Bill Szymczyk was producing Face Dances, The Who’s first album with Warner Brothers. He chose to work in Odyssey studios in London because he needed an American MCI board for recording. We did a test session there in March and it proved to be a good studio for the project. It was there that I met Marvin Gaye, who took over Studio 2 for a few weeks. I think ‘Baby Don’t You Do It’, one of his first hits, is one of the greatest recordings ever made, certainly one of the finest from Tamla. Marvin didn’t write the song, but his voice is what makes the lyric so affecting and moving. Baby don’t you do it, don’t break my heart.

Marvin was in terrible shape – worse than me. He was my hero, and I found it hard to see him this way. In conflict with his old friends at Tamla, he was being courted by the London high-society establishment, and had become involved with Lady Edith Foxwell, so-called ‘queen of London café society’. I knew her because she had shares in the Embassy Club, one of my favorite haunts. Marvin was still very good looking, and the London coterie seemed to be showing him off in a way that ultimately seemed to help them more than it did him. I struggled to process the music he was making: he played all the keyboard parts himself over drum-machine rhythms. When I was in the room I didn’t understand what I was hearing, but it was a work in progress, and I, of all people, understood how huge changes can come about. He was producer and engineer on his own record; he had help, but he did most things all by himself.

One night, while I sat with Marvin as he negotiated to buy a rock of raw cocaine as big as a tennis ball, I decided to tell him what his music meant to me.‘The lyric comes from the head,’ I said, ‘the music from the heart'. I paused for effect. ‘But the voice, Marvin,’ I said, delivering a punchline, ‘that’s from God.’ ‘Thanks, Pete,’ he said, gracious as ever. He turned back to his keyboard synthesizer and resumed his improvisational noodling. Marvin may not have been a great keyboard player, but if he noodled around long enough he found what he wanted. In Our Lifetime was excellent when it was finally released.”

-Excerpt From: Townshend, Pete. “Who I Am: A Memoir.”
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xx Re: Pete Townshend on Marvin Gaye
« Reply #1 on: Dec 23rd, 2012, 11:54am »

on Dec 22nd, 2012, 09:29am, SM247 wrote:
I am here reading Pete Townshend, member of rock band The Who, recent autobiography and came across a nice little passage about when he first met Marvin Gaye. Enjoy


"Bill Szymczyk was producing Face Dances, The Who’s first album with Warner Brothers. He chose to work in Odyssey studios in London because he needed an American MCI board for recording. We did a test session there in March and it proved to be a good studio for the project. It was there that I met Marvin Gaye, who took over Studio 2 for a few weeks. I think ‘Baby Don’t You Do It’, one of his first hits, is one of the greatest recordings ever made, certainly one of the finest from Tamla. Marvin didn’t write the song, but his voice is what makes the lyric so affecting and moving. Baby don’t you do it, don’t break my heart.

Marvin was in terrible shape – worse than me. He was my hero, and I found it hard to see him this way. In conflict with his old friends at Tamla, he was being courted by the London high-society establishment, and had become involved with Lady Edith Foxwell, so-called ‘queen of London café society’. I knew her because she had shares in the Embassy Club, one of my favorite haunts. Marvin was still very good looking, and the London coterie seemed to be showing him off in a way that ultimately seemed to help them more than it did him. I struggled to process the music he was making: he played all the keyboard parts himself over drum-machine rhythms. When I was in the room I didn’t understand what I was hearing, but it was a work in progress, and I, of all people, understood how huge changes can come about. He was producer and engineer on his own record; he had help, but he did most things all by himself.

One night, while I sat with Marvin as he negotiated to buy a rock of raw cocaine as big as a tennis ball, I decided to tell him what his music meant to me.‘The lyric comes from the head,’ I said, ‘the music from the heart'. I paused for effect. ‘But the voice, Marvin,’ I said, delivering a punchline, ‘that’s from God.’ ‘Thanks, Pete,’ he said, gracious as ever. He turned back to his keyboard synthesizer and resumed his improvisational noodling. Marvin may not have been a great keyboard player, but if he noodled around long enough he found what he wanted. In Our Lifetime was excellent when it was finally released.”

-Excerpt From: Townshend, Pete. “Who I Am: A Memoir.”


Great quote from Pete about Marvin's work in the studio... The Who covered a lot of Marvin during their Mod years so Marvin was a huge influence on them and I'm glad Pete got to tell Marvin how his music affected him before Marvin bit the dust.
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"If I can't be honest with myself, I can't be honest about anything." -- Marvin Gaye (1939-1984)

The ultimate MG blog: http://mrmarvinpentzgayejr.tumblr.com/
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xx Re: Pete Townshend on Marvin Gaye
« Reply #2 on: Dec 23rd, 2012, 4:59pm »

So true. It was also the time when Pete himself was heavily addicted to cocaine, so it was probably more for him to be able to relate to some of the feelings that Marvin was going through. I liked how he said thst Marvin was in a worse shape than him. Lol and Pete was Overdosing and everything else around this time. More importantly, through it all both Marvin and Pete was probably doing some of their hardest and most dedicated work in the studios at this time.
« Last Edit: Dec 23rd, 2012, 5:02pm by SM247 » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Pete Townshend on Marvin Gaye
« Reply #3 on: Dec 23rd, 2012, 10:00pm »

on Dec 23rd, 2012, 4:59pm, SM247 wrote:
So true. It was also the time when Pete himself was heavily addicted to cocaine, so it was probably more for him to be able to relate to some of the feelings that Marvin was going through. I liked how he said thst Marvin was in a worse shape than him. Lol and Pete was Overdosing and everything else around this time. More importantly, through it all both Marvin and Pete was probably doing some of their hardest and most dedicated work in the studios at this time.


LOL I guess he saw Marvin's bags under his eyes and thought "wow, he must be worse than I am". Both of them were definitely at their creative high during this time though.
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"If I can't be honest with myself, I can't be honest about anything." -- Marvin Gaye (1939-1984)

The ultimate MG blog: http://mrmarvinpentzgayejr.tumblr.com/
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