Marvin Gaye would have been 78 years old this past April 2, had he not been shot and killed on April 1, 1984, by his father at 44 years of age during a heated dispute at Gaye’s home.
And though he’s been gone for 33 years, his musical legacy has never really left, in fact it has continued to thrive decade after decade in old-school radio formats, clubs, remakes, samples and motion picture soundtracks.
Many fans young and old are familiar with several of his classics, including the nearly 50-year-old “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (his biggest pop crossover hit), “Sexual Healing” (his biggest soul hit), “What’s Going On?” (his most socially conscious – and most daring – hit), and “Let’s Get It On” (his most directly carnal hit).
But there’s one Marvin Gaye song in particular that we’ve grooved to for the past 40 years that has been a mainstay at parties, on dance floors and on retro radio shows since it first debuted in Spring 1977. It’s “Got To Give It Up,” which is not Marvin’s biggest anything, but certainly one of his most enduring tracks.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Marvin’s funkiest jam topping the Billboard charts (April, May and June 1977), I thought it’d be fun to dig up some interesting facts about “Got To Give It Up,” some well-known, some you’d be surprised about.
Rarely does djrobblog pay homage to one song (I’ve given entire albums dap in my G.O.A.T. Album Anniversary series), but “Got To Give It Up” is that rare exception that truly deserves this celebration.
With that said, here are 40 Fun Facts – one for each year of its existence – about Marvin Gaye’s classic “Got To Give It Up.”
A classic is born!
"Got To Give It Up" was recorded in late 1976 and early 1977, then released on Motown's Tamla Record Label on March 15, 1977. Its label catalog number is Tamla 54280.
Once you’ve finished scrolling through the list, tell us in the comment section what surprised you the most about Marvin’s classic.
Oh, and let us know if there’s a favorite of yours that you believe is deserving of G.O.A.T. anniversary recognition!
I hope you enjoyed, and as always, thanks for all the love and support of djrobblog. And don’t forget to visit the home page to register for free notifications of new articles as they’re posted.
4 thoughts on ““Got to Give It Up” – 40 Facts on the 40th Anniversary of One of the Most Iconic R&B and Pop Songs Ever!”
Forgot to mention that it arose from Gordy’s reluctance to release Live at the Palladium because Live in Oakland had recently been released! While Marvin was Pouting Art Stewart went in and Strung it Together. Thereby breaking another Gordy/Gaye stalemate(What’s Going On was the first).
Great contribution! Thanks!!!
Fantastic compilation of information on the great “Got to Give it Up.” This song has always been a big one in my appreciation of music, I heard it off the vi yo album during the early ’80s when my Dad would still spin it during his music listening sessions. At that exact time, I didn’t hear it on the radio as,hch as I heard “Sexual Healing.” As the years progressed I’ve seen it come to be considered THE soulful dance record of its era. What always got me was the laid back bassline, Gaye’s electric piano accents, the great sax solo, and John T McGhee of LTD’s super funky guitar solo on the long version! In fact, it was the super uniqueness of “Got to Give it Up” that ultimately gave the Gaye family the verdict in the “Blurred Lines” case. This song has a pattern that has ever fully been repeated in its era, there is no other “disco” song that sounds like a long funky jam session in the manner of this one. I believe Marvin laid the bass down on his electric piano instead of using a bass player, Jack Ashford plays the percussion parts on a juice bottle, instead of a horn section, Marvin uses one soulful tenor man playing bluesy licks, there are no strings and the groove doesn’t change. It’s almost underproduced, in total contrast to the slick disco productions of the era, the record sounds like the ultimate house party and it brought that vibe to the radios and nightclubs. You put this on next to “Everybody Dance” by Chic and u have two totally different funky approaches! Also big props for mentioning that “Shake Your Body” down connection, that always caught my attention! Man, incredible work you’re doing, I didn’t think 40 things could be said of one song but you handled it masterfully!
Thanks, Enrique! And thanks for sharing that knowledge on “Got To Give It Up” and what it meant to you. I didn’t think I could come up with 40 things either. Some of them were a stretch, but it worked. I’m sure there’s more out there I could’ve included. Thanks again for the loyal support, man!