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MPGfan
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xx This blew my mind Marvin Gaye = Richard Pryor
« Thread started on: Sep 1st, 2013, 1:56pm »

So I was listening to the music snob podcast via Timmy's (I think) tumblr account and one of the guys made a connection that I never really thought of before but now that i've heard it, it makes complete sense. Marvin Gaye is to music what Richard Pryor is to comedy and there's a symbiotic relationship between the two as well.

The huge success of WHAT'S GOING ON and the raw honesty of Marvin's music opened the door for Richard Pryor in the '70s to be more honest and raw in his standup routine. Both of these men had issues in their lives that they were able to deal with through their art. Pryor was more of an outright angry person whereas Marvin was able to diffuse his anger through beauty. In short, Marvin used cognitive dissonance to express his inner demons.

Both of these guys were game changers as Marvin may not have been the inventor but he definitely defined the use of multi tracking and he paved the way black artists to express themselves intellectually, spiritually and sexually without any backlash. LET'S GET IT ON is the white whale of every male R&B artist today as they seek to reach that sexiness though they often fail because they only hit on the surface rather than talking about the greater themes of love and sex which are SEPARATE not the same.

Richard Pryor made swearing and talking about drugs, racism, black life in a frank manner acceptable AND funny. He often did it in an angry but still likeable way that he became THE guru of the modern black stand up comedian. I daresay if he never had his health problems he'd still be performing and kicking ass today. Hell, he even mellowed out and grew as a person by disowning the use of the N word in his act which was brave of him to do. Unfortunately that angry yet accessible persona was too hard to translate to film and is a reason why most of his movies pale in comparison to his live act with the exception of his flicks with Gene Wilder.

These two men weren't the "cleanest" icons. They had extreme faults which made them wildly popular with the mainstream and perhaps more importantly with the "people". The society they came out of were able to fully embrace and endorse them as much as the buttoned up, suit and tie set did as well.

So from now on I reject the "Marvin Gaye is our John Lennon" sentiment (though there's truth to it) instead I think of Marvin Gaye as the Richard Pryor of popular urban music.
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xx Re: This blew my mind Marvin Gaye = Richard Pryor
« Reply #1 on: Sep 1st, 2013, 6:14pm »

Yeah I posted it on my Marvin blog.

I thought that analogy was really interesting. Though I have to reiterate, I agree with the dude who said had it not been for Marvin, Richard Pryor wouldn't have done what he did.

Paul Mooney and Cecil Brown both agreed that Richard listened constantly to What's Going On, it helped to shape his comedy as he put politics and social issues in his comedy. So I have to say Richard Pryor was the Marvin Gaye to comedy. Marvin Gaye was his own person, really. Can't really compare him to John Lennon because Lennon's politics weren't always how he felt. In fact, near the end of his life, though he was still pro-peace and love, he separated himself from the liberal philosophy he had adopted, whereas Marvin was never liberal/conservative. He was more "libertarian" in my opinion (so was Richard).

In fact, lots of folks didn't start doing the social thing like a trend until after Marvin. Curtis Mayfield did it in some degree but he was overlooked. James Brown did it but he admitted his was more calculated. Sam Cooke was killed before he took advantage of "A Change Is Gonna Come". Bob Dylan was never too serious about civil rights either in spite of his early 1960s material.

But Marvin Gaye, throughout the course of a three-year period, was more serious about discussing issues than his other contemporaries, which is why What's Going On didn't have love songs like Curtis' albums, John's albums, James' albums, Bob's albums, etc. He covered a lot of topics in nine songs and less than 40 minutes than many artists can claim. Shoot, not even U2 or Bruce Springsteen sung with as much conviction.

There's a reason many still play almost all the songs from What's Going On than they would anyone else. Of all the music Richard listened to, it was What's Going On (and possibly Let's Get It On) that influenced his thought process. But it's great to point that out.

Marvin Gaye don't really get the props he deserved and that says a lot because you'd think he was... just my two cents. smiley
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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: This blew my mind Marvin Gaye = Richard Pryor
« Reply #2 on: Sep 1st, 2013, 9:50pm »

Yeah I'm more on the Marvin made Richard thing myself but didn't express it right. Marvin was his own thing but I find it interesting how one of the guys was saying how modern RnB/Hip Hop artists today chase after the white whale of LET'S GET IT ON rather than being more serious and showing a social conscience the way Marvin did when he made WHAT'S GOING ON.

I gotta say i'm glad you posted that on your blog there as I really enjoyed listening to the conversation.
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xx Re: This blew my mind Marvin Gaye = Richard Pryor
« Reply #3 on: Sep 1st, 2013, 10:20pm »

on Sep 1st, 2013, 9:50pm, MPGfan wrote:
Yeah I'm more on the Marvin made Richard thing myself but didn't express it right. Marvin was his own thing but I find it interesting how one of the guys was saying how modern RnB/Hip Hop artists today chase after the white whale of LET'S GET IT ON rather than being more serious and showing a social conscience the way Marvin did when he made WHAT'S GOING ON.

I gotta say i'm glad you posted that on your blog there as I really enjoyed listening to the conversation.


No prob. I agree with the dude who said that as well. People are scared to get real. Makes you realize how even in 2013 how cutting edge Marvin really was and is (without him realizing it then).
« Last Edit: Sep 1st, 2013, 10:21pm by timmy84 » User IP Logged

"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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