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Rock Hall Anniversary: Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear

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It contained what was perhaps one of the most bizarre back stories in music history. In December 1978, Marvin released a double album titled Here, My Dear, in where the story of the album consisted of the fact it was recorded to help satisfy a divorce proceeding, where Gaye would pay royalties of the album to ex-wife Anna Gordy (sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy).

Recording for the album had begun in 1976, around the same time Gaye was currently enjoying success with albums I Want You and Live at the London Palladium. It was also around the same time that Gordy had filed for divorce, and after a little over a year battling in divorce court, a settlement of paying royalities of Here, My Dear to Gordy was eventually reached in 1977.

Gaye then set out to record a series of personal tracks on the album, that of course focused on his relationship with Gordy. Those songs included “When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You”, “You Can Leave, But it’s Going to Cost You” and the title track. The album also had other elements including a song on depression and drug abuse (“Time to Get it Together”), and a song inspired by Parliament-Funkadelic titled “A Funky Space Reincarnation”.

Here, My Dear received mixed reviews at the time of release, and would not be as successful as earlier albums including What’s Going On and I Want You. The album peaked in the R&B top five, and in the pop top thirty. It wouldn’t be until after Gaye’s death that the album would be more appreciated, as it was regarded as one of Gaye best works in various publications including Mojo Magazine and Rolling Stone. It was later reissued in 2008 as an expanded double album, one that featured remastered and alternate takes on the tracks from contemporary soul producers including Questlove and Prince Paul.

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