After changing the face of soul music with his socially conscious album What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye further influences the genre with the album Let’s Get It On.
Released in August 1973, the album helped established Gaye as a sex symbol, as the songs each featured love and sexual themes. But more importantly, as influential as it would be in the world of R&B music (and music in general), it further sparked a change and transition from Motown’s trademark system “the Motown Sound”.
Like What’s Going On, Gaye would be at the helm of Let’s Get It On. However, on the album’s first half, he wrote and produced four tracks with Ed Townshend including the title track and “If I Should Die Tonight”. The other half was produced entirely by Gaye, and included “Distant Lover”, “You Sure Love to Ball”, and “Just to Keep You Satisfied” (the latter co-written by Gaye then-wife Anna Gordy Gaye). Upon its release, the album became a hit right off the bat. It topped the R&B charts, and hit number two on the pop albums charts. The title track became Gaye’s second number one single (after 1968’s I Heard it Through the Grapevine), and also becoming hit singles were “Come Get to This” and “You Sure Love to Ball”.
Forty years after it’s release, Let’s Get it On would receive numerous accolades, including rankings as one of the top 200 albums of all time by numerous publications including Rolling Stone, as well as an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In addition to help popularizing the funk sound throughout the 1970s, it would also be cited as an influence for countless artists including Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, and Janet Jackson.