Motown 25 Participation
« Thread started on: Mar 1st, 2015, 07:04am »
In December, I had the pleasure of interviewing Janis Gaye about Marvin's participation in Motown 25. Janis said, ďMarvin didnít really want to be there, but he had a sense of appreciation for Berry. Marvin wasnít in a good place and was hesitant about attending. He didnít think he looked good, he didnít think he had the chops, and he felt pushed into the whole thing. There was some nostalgia, but there was also a lot of anger with what heíd been through at Motown. He maintained his class and self respect by doing what he did bestóbe himself.Ē
I found these quotes from David Ritz about Marvin's opinion of the Motown 25 piece:
"I'm not going to participate in Motown 25. Why should I? I'm on Columbia Records. I'm no longer a Motown artist. I've fallen out with Berry Gordy. And the producers are insisting I sing one of my Motown numbers, not my current hit (Sexual Healing)."
And yet he agreed to perform anyway and killed it as usual:
"I finally agreed, but then I didn't want to read the rap the writers had prepared for me. I thought it rambling and pretentious. So I improvised my way through the introduction and inserted some poetry of my own."
And then there was this:
"No matter how madly dysfunctional my relationship with Motown might've been, I was grateful to have this chance to honor a company and a man (Berry Gordy) who believed in me when no one else did."
The last quote was a revelation to me. Not that that Marvin didn't respect and love Berry Gordy (he did; near the end of the M25 special, you see a shades-sporting MG hugging and kissing Berry) but I think when you look back, Berry had a bigger influence on him musically than, say, Harvey Fuqua did and Marvin at least made peace with BG near the end of his life. Truly a love-hate-love relationship but you can tell the two had respect for each other.
Thanks for interviewing Janis. It's also clear to point out that Janis' words about MG's feelings of MJ's dominant performance that night confirms further that he didn't particularly appreciate how MJ blew the roof off the other R&B artists who had struggled to become crossover artists even though MG did give MJ some credit for being a great performer.