Thursday, April 04, 2013

Saturday soundtrack (shhhhh. It's Thursday): Gaye and Wilson

In 1983 Lionel Richie left The Commodores, and anyone interested in the band thought that without that very talented singer fronting them they were all over.  But in 1984, Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died and their deaths inspired the Commodores to write and record this 1985 Grammy-winning song. 

When I first heard this song as a teenager living in Tampa (I used to listen to WRBQ FM) I didn't care for it much.  But over the years I've become more familiar with the music of the men it memorializes,

Marvin Gaye (1939-1984)

and Jackie Wilson (1934-1984)

When I was in the Army, at my class’s graduation party at the 3283rd USARF School I convinced a group of other soldiers to sing with me Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" to a bunch of female soldiers.  (One of them, a medic with the most beautiful blond hair, took care of me after I passed out in a hallway from drinking 190 proof Everclear.  I wish I could remember her name, but all I remember is her holding an icepack on my head and her hair.) Later, I would write my first college paper about Marvin Gaye's song "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".  I remember I got an A on that paper but I don’t remember what I said in it.  I wish I still had it.

I haven't heard it, but I've been told that the Commodores have added a third verse to Nightshift; in memory of Michael Jackson.

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