Today, I decided to take a step away from researching the artists we have talked about in class and take a look at my iTunes library. When I opened it, I sorted the genre to only show me soul songs and then out of the bunch that were collected I chose the one I knew best to analyze and try to break down using the aspects in class we have learned and identify different instruments and performance patterns. This song, the one I was most familiar with was a song produced by none other than Marvin Gaye in 1973, titled “Let’s Get it On”.
This song begins with a high noted guitar riff that is one of the most identifiable even to this day. Then a heavy percussion by way of drum set is introduced just a few seconds after. Gaye then comes in and in his voice you can almost hear his passion for music, when listening, one can hear his passion and ‘soul’ to say the least. In his voice I hear familiar qualities from other artists we have discussed in class. he kind of goes to a high note and lets it get raspy for emphasis like we saw Little Richard do in Rock & Roll, and sings his heart out like we recently saw with James Brown, leaving his heart, soul, and everything he has out on the stage for his fans.
I think the thing that struck me most about this song was its explicit lyrics that are very heavily loaded with sexual innuendos. We discussed that during this time it was very common that these types of songs would not become popular because of people like Dick Clark that were pushing for clean music to be put in the media and fed to the teenagers of this time. But it doesn’t really seem like Gaye was all that worried about it. He doesn’t beat around the bush with this song, he comes right out and says what he feels and wants to do.
This song went on to earn a #1 spot on the Billboard Pop Singles chart for two straight weeks, and staying at the top of the Billboard Soul Charts for eight straight weeks, before winning the title of Billboard’s 4th best song of the year in 1973. The record sold over two million copies in the first six weeks it was out, and has since then achieved platinum status. I found 2 million to be an extremely high statistic because of the face that there was really only one outlet for buying music at this time, records. “Let’s Get It On” went on to become one of Gaye’s most recognizable songs and keeps his name and his success alive even in today’s generation.