I Want You – Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

Tamla-Motown

Produced by Leon Ware
Executive Producers: Marvin Gaye & Berry Gordy

Released 16 March 1976

TRACKS

side oneside two
I Want You (vocal)
(Leon Ware – T.Boy Ross)
I Want You (intro jam)
(Leon Ware – T.Boy Ross)
Come Live With Me Angel
(Leon Ware – Jackie Hilliard)
All The Way Around
(Leon Ware – T.Boy Ross)
After The Dance (instrumental)
(Marvin Gaye- Leon Ware)
Since I Had You
(Marvin Gaye- Leon Ware)
Feel All My Love Inside
(Marvin Gaye- Leon Ware)
Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again
(Marvin Gaye- Leon Ware – T.Boy Ross)
Arranged by Paul Riser
I Wanna Be Where You Are
(Leon Ware- T.Boy Ross)
I Want You (intro jam)
(Leon Ware – T.Boy Ross)
After The Dance (Vocal)
(Marvin Gaye- Leon Ware)
I Want You: Marvin Gaye 1976

MUSICIANS

Not listed but Marvin Gaye is lead vocal and backing vocals, plus piano, and synthesizer. Rate Your Music com adds ‘drums’ which is where he started out with Motown. The credits are also light on the female vocalisations, though it’s known Janis Hunter was in the studio. Two sources cite ‘Gwenda Hambrick’ as “voice” (rather than “vocals”) on Come Live With Me Angel and Feel All My Love Inside.

As listed on the LP:
BASS – Chuck Rainey, Wilton Felder, Ron Brown, Henry Davis
DRUMS – James Gadson
PERCUSSION – Gary Coleman, John ‘Jack’ Arnold
PIANO & FENDER RHODES: Sonny Burke, John Barnes, Jerry Peters
CONGA & BONGO – Bobby Jean Hall, Eddie ‘Bongo’ Brown
GUITARS – Melvin ‘Wah Wah’ Ragim, Ray Parker Jnr, David T. Walker, Dennis Coffey, Jay Graydon

Strings and horns arranged by Coleridge Taylor Parkinson
Rhythm arranged by Leon Ware

CHART:

Billboard US Albums: #4
Billboard R&B Albums: #1

It sold a million copies.

If we wanted to find a reviled Marvin Gaye album, we could go to any of his early earnest attempts to become a “serious” Vegas singer … When I’m Alone I Cry, Hello Broadway, A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole. They’re atypical of what he is known and loved for.

Gaye’s complicated love life and tragic ending would make a sensational biopic, and at least five serious attempts to make one have foundered. He married the boss’s sister, Anna Gordy in 1963 when he was twenty and she was thirty-seven. They separated in 1973. I Want You is all about Janis Hunter, who had two children with Gaye, then Gaye married her in 1977 (and divorced in 1981). The subsequent album, Here My Dear was a bitter pay-off to Motown and to Anna Gordy. He was killed by his own father, a minister with a penchant for wearing women’s clothing.

On the biographical aspects, everything is eclipsed by David Ritz’s Divided Soul in that he had lengthy direct contact with Gaye, his father, his mother, his associates, and ended up as his co-writer. Then Jan Gaye (Janis Hunter) did a tell-all book about their marriage

Fiction & Fact: Fact is just as strange as fiction

The Biopic never happened, but the novel did. Number One With A Bullet by Elaine Jesmer, 1974. It predates I Want You. Yes, yes, yes. I read the disclaimer. It is about soul singer Daniel Jones of Finest Records, and the label boss Bob Vale. Stone has married the label boss’s sister. Nothing to do with Marvin Gaye. On Goodreads, comments are that the book reflects local gossip and rumour to anyone who lived in Detroit at the time (though the book shifts it to Houston).

Marvin Gaye: On that 1974 tour, I was as pure as Ivory Soap. I spent a lot of the time reading a novel that was written about me.
Quoted, David Ritz, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, 1985

David Ritz said that Marvin called the story ‘half true’ and when there was talk of a film, contacted Clarence Paul to co-write a theme song Number One With A Bullet. Clarence Paul told Ritz that the movie deal was nixed after Berry Gordy bought up the rights and buried the project.

Reviled?

The I Want You album is a perfect example for the “Reviled!” series. It attracted poor to “disappointed” reviews on release,. People didn’t like the Leon Ware heavy influence … he co-wrote the lot, and several with Arthur “T Boy” Ross (Diana Ross’s brother), not Marvin Gaye. Some thought Marvin was going down the late-night lascivious LURVE … path favoured by blokes who had to wear robes reaching to the floor as they were too fat to get trousers on. It was also seen as an introduction to disco. Both have truth in them.

Generally as Marvin’s records became less obvious, critics lost patience.

David Ritz, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, 1985

I’m surprised that critics were surprised at Marvin’s overtly erotic songs on I Want You. How does that differ from Let’s Get It On? Having played them back to back recently, I Want You is blander, but really more of much the same thing. The difference is attitude changes: 1973 soul (good), versus 1976 when critics were getting wary of the oncoming onslaught of disco, so (bad … Disco Sucks).

Then Prince and Madonna cited it as a major lyric influence (Think Dirty Mind from Prince, SEX from Madonna) then as a major musical influence too. Todd Rundgren, Sade and Robert Palmer have quoted I Want You. as an influence.

BMG awarded it a “De Luxe Edition” CD which is reserved for highly collectable records. Later reviewers are in the 4 to 5 star range.

It was in a difficult place. What’s Going On? and Let’s Get It On define what a five star album is. If you give Let’s Get It On the full five, what do you do about “The soul Sergeant Pepper”. What’s Going On is still right-on there after fifty years … race trouble in the streets, plus Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). It’s in that elite group … Blonde on Blonde, Sergeant Pepper, Pet Sounds, The Band, Astral Weeks, Graceland. Ritz says that Gaye had writer’s block for two years after Let’s Get It On, and was being urged to be relevant, but actively opposed (what Ritz calls) Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation.

I would guess that What’s Going On beats The Band as my most played album ever, mainly because for years it was so often the last album I played at night, on a record player, then on a Walkman, then on a Discman then an iPod then an iPhone. Marvin Gaye also joins the elite group of the best live performances I’ve ever seen (along with Muddy Waters, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen). No, my favourite studio artists … The Band, The Beatles and Bob Dylan … were not as good on stage as those five. Also, I saw Marvin Gaye (with orchestra and balletic dancers) when I Want You was the current album, and that 1976 UK tour appeared as a double album, Live At The London Palladium in 1977.

Reviewers dissed Trouble Man too, but it was a film soundtrack and short. Robert Christgau said the answer was to just buy the single. No, listen to it all. It’s brilliant. The drumming on the single is worth the price of the album alone.

I Want You is not as strong as What’s Going On / Let’s Get It On. So reviewers expressed that.

The cover illustration

LP picture

The painting The Sugar Shack is in Black Romantic style, and is by Ernie Barnes and was done in 1971. It was re-done for the credits of the TV sitcom, Good Times. Marvin Gaye met Barnes via Barbara Hunter (mother of Janis) and bought eight originals including The Sugar Shack. Barnes was asked to amend the painting with the banners mentioning the album and the tracks. He added AFTER THE DANCE at the foot of the pink banner and the FEATURING MARVIN GAYE banner.

The print of “Sugar Shack” on sale.

Ernie Barnes: Sugar Shack’ is a recall of a childhood experience. It was the first time my innocence met with the sins of dance. The painting transmits rhythm so the experience is re-created in the person viewing it. To show that African-Americans utilize rhythm as a way of resolving physical tension.
SoulMuseum.net

Marvin Gaye hung the painting in his home in Hidden Hills. Marvin started shaving his head after realizing all the men in the picture were bald (like me!). Eddie Murphy subsequently bought the painting. I’d hang it straight on the wall myself.

It’s a shame that Motown were mean with record sleeves. At last they pushed out the boat for Trouble Man with its fashionably expensive semi fold-over sleeve.. And one of the Motown Chartbusters series got a metallic sleeve, but no one is rushing to write the Sleeve Art of Motown. I’d say the best three are all Marvin Gaye … What’s Going On, Trouble Man and I Want You. Marvin had a say in all three. The Motown runner-up is Stevie Wonder, but obviously he didn’t have a say in them.

Any progressive label (Island, Harvest, Vertigo) would have gone for a gatefold sleeve and had the painting full height on the front with a half-wrap around the back, leaving room for text next to it. The Trouble Man ‘sleeve and a half’ would have worked. Or they might have packaged it as a poster, like The Band’s Moondog Matinee painting (Capitol). Motown preferred that wide brown top bar and a single sleeve, though at least it means you see all the image at once. However as someone who has a dozen or more framed albums on the walls, this one, though the painting is as good as an album sleeve gets, loses out on overall design. I’d have done it better!

Still, Motown did try in Los Angeles with the billboard:

The Leon Ware effect

This connection was Berry Gordy’s idea after he’d heard Leon Ware’s songs, he thought them better suited to Marvin Gaye’s voice and presented them.

Leon Ware: Some of the songs had already been recorded on my own solo album but when Marvin heard them, he wanted them and I was more than pleased to turn them over to him completely.. I had recorded ‘I Want You’ and ‘All The Way Around’ and they were the first ones we did.’
Quoted in Sharon Davis, Motown: The History 1988

Leon Ware: Marvin was on a religious sabbatical. He had sworn off ever doing another commercial record again. Berry Gordy changed his mind. It started with my co-writer of [the early Michael Jackson hit} I Wanna Be Where You Are which was Diana Ross’ brother “T-Boy”—we were doing a demo of some songs to get him an album deal. And in the process I had a song called “I Want You” that I wrote completely myself and put on the demo. Berry came into the studio as we were doing the demo for “T-Boy” and heard this song, got very excited, and took it to Marvin, who fell in love with it.
Pitchfork interview by Jason KIng, 16 March 2016

Leon Ware: Musical Massage, Japanese CD

Yes, it was adapted from Leon Ware’s work in progress. As Leon Ware’s Musical Massage record showed the tracks were under way. The bonus tracks on the later CD releases are actually alternate versions and demos. As on the Marvin Gaye album, the drummer is James Gadson, the bass player Chuck Rainey, the same conga and percussion players, and guitars from David T. Walker and Ray Parker Jnr. Keyboards by Sonny Burke, John Barnes, Jerry Peters. The difference is Marvin used a wider variety of guitarists and bass guitarists and played some keyboards himself.

The recordings

They recording sessions were split between Motown’s West Coast studios, and Marvin Gaye’s own “Playboy Mansion” studio. They took thirteen months, partly because of Marvin’s eccentric work pattern (some vocal parts were recorded lying flat on a sofa) but also because the intensity of creating those complex multiple layers of vocals on his own.

Leon Ware: Marvin usually let that big kid inside him have his way. For example in the middle of the session he might just stop and say, “Let’s go play basketball.” Well, that’d be it for the day. We’d go play basketball. I’d never met anyone who could say “Fuck it” as quickly as Marvin.
Quoted, David Ritz, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, 1985

When they started T-Boy Ross really believed he was co-producer, and decided to give Marvin technical advice on interpreting the lyrics. He was excluded from further sessions.

David Ritz: The sentimental quasi-symphonic school of soul has generally met critical disfavour. While Gaye was an experimental artist – he expanded the pop song, successfully toyed with new keyboards and percussive combinations, and was an unconventional lyricist – he also loved fully-orchestrated wildly romantic music. Leon Ware’s lush production …inspired him to sing with remarkable intensity. By now he had mastered multi-track vocalizing, the art of playing with his voices, a skill perfectly suited for an album rooted in masturbatory imagery. The use of moaning women in the background sounded childish, but sexual noise was an integral part of the little-boy fantasy which lay at the heart of what seems to me a work of rare beauty.
David Ritz, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, 1985

Lyrics

I’m a great listener to lyrics, but here they waft past among all the layers of vocal without sticking as a connected whole. You get lines leaping out here and there among the grunts and moans … get down baby … gotta love me sugar Let’s get naked … I never gave head before … David Ritz’s book is fond of connecting them to a sexual psycho-analysis of the singer. I’d rather not.

What Critics Said

Gaye seems determined to take over as soul’s master philosopher in the bedroom, a position that requires little but an affectation of constant, rather jaded horniness. The pose has already been established in Let’s Get It On, on which Gaye was hot, tender, aggressive, soothing and casually raunchy—the modern lover with all his contradictions. I Want You continues in the same vein but with only the faintest traces of the robust passion that shot through and sustained the earlier album … one expects something with a little more substance and spirit. But there’s no fire here, only a well-concealed pilot light.
Vince Aletti, Rolling Stone April 1976

The Rolling Stone Record Guide gave it three stars in both editions, but failed to mention it in the text. The revised Rolling Stone Album Guide downgrades it two and a half stars, and adds after Let’s Get It on:

I Want You is a considerably less urgent follow-up. ** 1/2
The Rolling Stone Album Guide

This isn’t as disgraceful as would first appear – as disco-identified mood mewzick for light necking it offers nifty engineering, pleasant harmonies and the occasional snatch of melody. But as a Marvin Gaye record, it’s a Leon Ware record. Ware is the producer who co-wrote every one of these … tunes? segments? … cuts? (which is more than Marvin can claim. But was it Ware who instructed Marvin to eliminate all depth and power from his voice? I mean, if you’re into insisting on sex it’s in bad taste to whine about it. C+.
Robert Christgau: Christgau’s Guide to Albums of the 70s.

Christgau must still have been smarting from grading What’s Going On as “B” upgraded to B+ in the book. How wrong can you get?

Although getting down, getting mellow, and getting it on are paramount considerations in the privacy of my own home, I don’t particularly want to be party to someone else’s night life. Not on record anyway … Like peeking through the windows of the Gaye residence in the wee wee hours. Perhaps that’s your kick, but personally I find it a mite frustrating the songs are all expressions of the same mood. Sensual, satisfied, and spaced out,
Cliff White, New Musical Express 8 May 1976

Disappointing only partially commendable
Dennis Hunt, LA Times 9 April 1976

Slush for disco dancers … in the huge overblown manner of Barry White.
Down Beat, 1976

Revisionists …

Its subject matter is as close to explicit as pop records got in 1976 … The feel of the album was one of late-night parties in basements and small clubs, and the intimacy of the music evokes the image of people getting closer as every hour of a steamy night wears on … the most astonishing things about I Want You are its intimacy, silky elegance, and seamless textures … I Want You and its companion, Ware’s Musical Massage, are the pre-eminent early disco concept albums. They are adult albums about intimacy, sensuality, and commitment, and decades later they still reverberate with class, sincerity, grace, intense focus, and astonishingly good taste. I Want You is as necessary as anything Gaye ever recorded, and is as compelling in the 21st century as when it was first issued.
Thom Jurek, All Music com

Like no other record before or since, I Want You captures the distilled feeling and aesthetics of black sensuality, sex, and simmering erotic desire—right down to the seductive bump ‘n’ grind cover art by the late great Ernie Barnes. With its ambient soundscapes, yearning melodies, experimental tempos, elegant chord changes, and haunting lyrics, the album is, for my money, the sexiest rhythm and blues record ever made. Sure, pheromone-inducing records like Sade’s Diamond Life, Maxwell’s Embrya, and D’Angelo’s Voodoo are worthy contenders to that throne—but all those albums were directly influenced by I Want You’s languid flow. Anchored by melancholic tracks like “After the Dance” and “Come Live with Me Angel,” I Want You is a gorgeous and delicate ballet of adult romantic desire, featuring a Latin-influenced early-disco-meets-slow-jam sound that remains a staple of Quiet Storm radio playlists everywhere.
Jason KIng, Pitchfork.com 16 March 2016

Just as I was finishing this, UNCUT mentioned it in a review of a 2 LP What’s Going On reissue:

I Want You Gaye goes disco, teaming up with Motown songwriter Leon Ware for a record of easy intimacy which has grown in influence and is now seen as a landmark in the quiet storm sub-genre of R&B. Ware supplied most of the songs, his cosmic synth points to the future. Gaye brings the boudoir manners, prompting orgasmic moans. 8/10
UNCUT TAKE 296 January 2022 issue (on sale November 2021)

Wrong. In fact the ‘cosmic synth’ is played by Marvin Gaye. Leon Ware’s demos feature Fender Rhodes piano. I’d also argue that Leon Ware brought ideas for the songs, rather than supplied them intact.

Side one

UK copy on Tamla Motown
US copy on Tamla

I Want You

(Ware-Ross)

CHART:
Billboard Soul Chart: #1
Billboard Hot 100 chart: #15

The UK single had the vocal version on the A-side and the instrumental on the B-side. It was also issued as a 12″ 45 rpm single.

UK 45 TMF 1026, This was the first single released from the album. It was nominated for a Grammy (Best R&B Male Vocal) but lost out to Stevie Wonder with I Wish.

The 12″ single was in Motown’s Disco series, so yes, the dreaded D-word was firmly attached to the record.

Ray Parker Jnr is believed to be responsible for the guitar on this track, and the vocal layers hark back to Marvin’s early doo-wop days with The Moonglows. The theme is very simple, he wants her (Janis Hunter, seventeen years younger than him) to want him as much as he wants her.

This features on 1977’s Live At The London Palladium., following on from Distant Lover from Let’s Get It On. It’s the most likely track to appear on Marvin’s many compilation albums.

The song has been covered by jazz sax player Gato Barbieri on Caliente and by Robert Palmer, and then by Madonna with Massive Attack for the tribute album Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye..

Come Live With Me

(Leon Ware & Jackie Hilliard)

Leon Ware has described playing Marvin Gaye three duets he had cut with Minnie Ripperton, and Marvin listening repeatedly, then agreeing to the whole project on condition that Leon gave him copies of the tracks. One would be Instant Love on Musical Massage, the other would be the Leon Ware & Minnie Ripperton version of Come Live With Me, which had the original title of Comfort (Come Live With Me). It’s a bonus track on the 2003 remaster of Musical Massage. It’s sensationally good, with Ware sounding much like Marvin, but then you have Minnie Ripperton. Marvin had been so known for duets with female singers that it’s surprising he didn’t reprise the duet idea for the recording. However, Marvin’s smoother voice works better. The strings add a dimension.

Lyrically there’s not much to it, except I’ve got a nice house, come and share it, ‘in comfort.’

Marvin Gaye gets no co-credit, but the lyrics differ considerably. I’m NOT taking the Leon Ware Japanese lyric sheet translation. It is very hard to distinguish, but ‘Rest in here’ sounds more plausible than the Japanese CD’s ‘Represent to …’

Leon WareMarvin Gaye
Here’s where your window ends
my angel … Love,
a guarantee with friends,
friends forever
Good company, pleasure
Just you and me
(Rest in here) with me
If you’re my only prayer
Music’s for you to hear
Come on here, please stay
this is where all your fantasies end
Let me explore all your treasures
I’ll turn you on to all those freakish pleasures
Good experienced company
knows all the ways
It’s what you need baby
Just you and me locked up for days
After we eat breakfast in bed
Turn on the music for our head
Come Live With Me Angel

That much difference looks worth a writing credit. Leon Ware’s other co-writer was Jackie Hilliard who also worked with Michael Jackson, Isaac Hayes and The Main Ingredient.

After The Dance (instrumental)

(Gaye-Ware)

Nominated for 1977 Grammy as best R&B instrumental. The vocal version was the single, not this one. Jan Gaye (Janis Hunter) borrowed the title for her 2017 book on Marin Gaye, co-written with David Ritz. Let’s Get It On was about Janis also.

From the blurb for the book:

Their romance navigated the hippie high life of the seventies and took the couple from one adventure to another. But the distractions and burdens of fame, the chaos of dysfunctional families, and the irresistible temptation of drugs complicated the love they shared. Marvin and Jan hurt each other, and their relationship descended into a dark place, but the attraction was too magnetic and the love was too strong to let go.  A searing memoir of love, drugs, sex, and old-school R&B that is unsparing in its honesty and insight, After the Dance is the moving, passionate story of one of music history’s most fabled relationships. Jan Gaye reveals what it’s like to be in love with an artistic genius, a man whose words and music have touched the world and made him a legend.

The instrumental is noted for the synthesizer solo, played by Marvin Gaye. For more, see the vocal vesion.

Feel All My Love Inside

(Gaye-Ware)

The B-side of the second UK single (TMG 1055)

Feel All My Love Inside: Tamla-Motown UK 45 B-side 1976 TMG1055

Does anyone need (or want) an explanation of the lyric?

I’ll be stroking you in and out, up and down, all around
I love to hear you make those sounds
I’m gonna be loving you in and out, up and down, all around
‘Cause I love to hear you make those sounds

Then it contains a proposal:

Because I want you baby for my wife …

I Wanna Be Where You Are

(Ware-Ross)

Just over a minute (1m 18s). Originally sung by Michael Jackson on Got To Be There in 1972, before Michael started to worry that his voice had not started maturing, That version was a big hit: #2 Billboard R&B, #7 Cashbox, #16 Billboard Hot 100.

The version on Musical Massage shows Leon Ware already smoothing and cooling it from the Michael Jackson version, but he does sing the words.

I would not have recognized Marvin Gaye’s version as the same song, the lyric is abandoned except for quoting the title words. It’s a cool soul song now. Then it turns into a narrative, saying ‘Goodnight’ to Janis and naming his kids as it fades out. To me crediting it to Leon Ware & T.Boy Ross, who wrote Michael Jackson’s song is on the extremely generous side of generous on Marvin Gaye’s part.

Side two

UK copy, Tamla Motown
US copy on Tamla

I Want You (Intro Jam)

(Ware-Ross)

This short connecting piece appears twice on side two. This is the 20 second version

All The Way Around

(Ware-Ross)

So this is a Leon Ware-T.Boy Ross song? The version on Musical Massage bonus tracks is called You Are The Way You Are, and is just a demo version with Leon and electric piano. None of the words are the same.

Just as with Come Live With Me I have to assume it was Marvin Gaye who entirely re-wrote the lyrics. Why didn’t he take a credit? It was worth half the publishing.

Ritz has much to say on Marvin’s Madonna / Whore complex, resulting in a penchant for insisting on sending Janis off with other men and couples. Self flagellation? In a garbled 1982 interview Marvin started talking about the Book of Revelations. Ronald Reagan did that too. Scary. well, the Reverend Gay, his dad, was adamant that Saturday was the Sabbath and he liked to wear women’s underclothes under his robes.

What I see baby is so hard to find
Although you’ve been all over town baby
Having your affairs I still have to accept you back
Angel though you’re promiscuous, I don’t mind a bit
Because you’re still the greatest lay, even when you’re miles away

Thats the lyric as I hear it. Looking on line some think it’s ‘still the greatest lady.‘ But it’s not.

This features on 1977’s Live At The London Palladium. as the first album side of a double LP set, which started with an overture. so this is the first song and the one he comes onstage to start singing.

Since I Had You

(Gaye-Ware)

The original version is on Musical Massage bonus tracks as Long Time No See. The lyrics are totally different, about a divorce years after a ‘big white wedding.’

Marvin starts a narration:

This is the story of two lovers who should have been
They did their thing and went their separate ways again
Then by chance, they met at the neighbourhood dance
And got that old feeling all over again
He said, “How much have you missed me since I had you?”

David Ritz indicates that it was inspired directly by the Edward Barnes painting. Does it quote the banners in the painting, or were the banners added there to reflect this song? Big Daddy Rucker is on the original painting, but the words AFTER THE DANCE on the pink banner are not.

Big Daddy Rucker is sho ’nuff gettin’ down
Ahhh, this is a mellow dance
Oh, baby its been such a long time
Remember when I used to do this to you?
Come on, let this be the last dance

Gwenda Hambrick is credited with the sexual moans online.

This also features on 1977’s Live At The London Palladium. After these two, he slid straight into Come Get To This and Let’s Get It On, so starting the show with an erotic set of four songs. This, the second, gets a long spoken intro with bass guitar and flute before launching into the song proper.

Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again

(Gaye-Ware-Ross)

It introduces a new arranger, Paul Riser.

Well, in this one he’s going to give her some head then ‘knock her right up.,’ and he includes her name, ‘Oh, Janis!’

Marvin floats over the top of exquisite layer upon layer of backing vocal. By this point he had perfected the art of overdubbing his voices in a variety of styles and moods. there’s a breathy uncredited saxophone part in the far background (I suppose it could be synth).

Gary Harris: With the opening, with the congas and the strings; it’s like the sun is rising. It’s a very cinematic approach to the whole thing. It shows a thing Quincy Jones called “ear candy.” The voicings and the arrangements convey not only mood but time, place and image. He’s talking about “dreamed of you this morning.” It’s crazy. The other thing about Marvin and the song is he always, no matter what he was doing, how many risks he would take, he was a radical traditionalist and always held onto his doo-wop upbringing. Those background harmonies … no matter how increasingly percussive he got, how funky, the background vocals were always steeped in that tradition
Interview with Michael Eric Dyson, 2005, quoted on Wikipedia

I Want You (Intro, Jam)

(Ware- Ross)

This is the 1m 41s version.

After The Dance (Vocal)

(Gaye-Ware)

After The Dance: Marvin Gaye, Tamla-Motown UK 45 1976

A side of the second single. TMG 1055
Billboard Club Songs chart: #10

The demo version on Musical Massage is called Don’t You Wanna Come. It’s good that Marvin rewrote it: Here is the love here in your hand by Leon Ware doesn’t sound terribly romantic.

The synthesizer solo (and piano) on this track are Marvin Gaye as on the instrumental version. It’s a second song which takes its theme from the cover painting, though adjusted here to a girl seen on the R&B TV show, Soul Train. That’s probably Janis Hunter too.

Marvin Gaye on ‘Soul Train’ singing ‘Let’s Get It On’

For me, it’s the best track on the album.

De Luxe Edition CD 2003

DISC ONE ADDS:

I Want You (Vocal) Promo only version
I Want You (instumental)
Strange Love (Feel All My Love Inside) (instrumental)

DISC TWO ADDS:

I Want You (vocal & rhythm)
Come Live With Me Angel (Alternate Version)
After The Dance (instrumental)
Feel All My Love Inside (Alternate Version)
I Wanna Be Where You Are (Alternate Version)
I Want You (Guitar jam)
All The Way Around (Alternate Version)
Since I Had You (Alternate Version)
Soon I’ll Be Loving You Again (Alternate Version)
I Want You (Jam) (Undubbed)
After The Dance (vocal) (Alternate Version)
I Wanna Be Where You Are (After The Dance)
You Are The Way You Are (instrumental)
Is Anybody Thinking About Their Living?
I Want You (De Luxe Edition) 2 CD set 2003

It sells for whopping prices online, proving that some CDs are chasing vinyl in collectability. I wasn’t into paying £50 plus for a secondhand CD copy.

Sound quality

The album really repays playing on a good hi-fi. The difference is stronger than usual. I did a head-to-head with the original UK vinyl LP versus the current CD. I’m not in any camp on CD v vinyl, and I believe it varies, but through the same system my preference was overwhelming in favour of vinyl. The bass on the LP just has a bounce and resonance that the CD just seems to replace with deeper but less defined bass.

Overall

I was increasingly intrigued by how Marvin Gaye seems to have rewritten lyrics wholesale without taking a writing credit.

My reaction was unusual. As ever I played it in the background doing the mundane work on this piece. I sat and listened intently to the vinyl. I compared it to the CD. I played the CD through twice loud on a car journey. Do you know what? I started to get bored by it. So I tried Let’s Get It On again instead. Those early critics were quite right, I Want You is jaded and even second-rate compared to the passion of Let’s Get It On. Reading about Gaye’s sex life and fantasies doesn’t help. I liked it less at the end of the process than I did at the beginning. Less? But this is MARVIN GAYE. Less still means a lot.

THE REVILED ALBUMS ARE (so far) …

Beatles For Sale – The Beatles
Their Satanic Majesties Request … The Rolling Stones
Speedway (and Elvis film music) – Elvis Presley
Electric Mud– Muddy Waters
3614 Jackson Highway – Cher (plus the bonus tracks)
Self Portrait – Bob Dylan
Byrdmaniax – The Byrds
Cahoots – The Band
Carl and The Passions- So Tough! – The Beach Boys
The London Chuck Berry Sessions – Chuck Berry
Wild Life – Wings
Sometime in New York City – John and Yoko / Elephant’s Memory
Recall The Beginning: A Journey From Eden … The Steve Miller Band
Hard Nose The Highway … Van Morrison
Chicago III … Chicago
Berlin– Lou Reed
Pinups – David Bowie
There’s One In Every Crowd – Eric Clapton
I Want You – Marvin Gaye
Love At The Greek – Neil Diamond
Death of A Ladies’ Man – Leonard Cohen
Born Again – Randy Newman
Mingus – Joni Mitchell
One Trick Pony – Paul Simon
Everybody’s Rockin’ – Neil Young
American Dream – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Jefferson Airplane – Jefferson Airplane (1989)
Human Touch – Bruce Springsteen

And here’s a rule-breaker. I’d decided one album each, but Van Morrison got so much vituperation from critics (unjustly) in 2021, that I had to add it:

Latest Record Project Volume1… Van Morrison

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