Hear an Exclusive Track from Marvin Gaye's Newly Unearthed 1972 Album You're the Man
As far as the R&B world was concerned, Marvin Gaye was the man in 1972. The Motown powerhouse was riding high after his trailblazing album
topped the charts the year before, yielding hits like “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler”),” and the title track.
That spring and summer he holed up at studios in Los Angeles and Detroit to work on his follow-up. He teamed with compositional heavyweights like Willie Hutch, Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell, Hal Davis, Pam Sawyer and Gloria Jones and the results yielded a formidable cache of songs, many among the most romantic he’d ever record.
An album, dubbed You’re the Man, was scheduled for release that year, but when the title song stalled on the Billboard Pop charts, Gaye’s enthusiasm for the project began to wane. The headstrong singer was also resentful of Motown switching their base of operations from their longtime home of Detroit to Los Angeles, and relations with label chief Barry Gordy began to grow tense — particularly as Gaye’s marriage to Gordy’s elder sister Anna began to deteriorate.
The album was shelved, and for 47 years it remained in the vault — until now.
In honor of what would have been Gaye’s 80th birthday on April 2, You're the Man is finally getting its long-awaited release on CD, streaming services and double-LP. While some of the tracks have been included on CD compilations over the years, this marks the first time that 15 of the songs have been made available on vinyl.
Three of the tracks from the album have been remixed by SaLaAM ReMi, the legendary producer who has worked with artists including Nas, the Fugees, and Amy Winehouse. PEOPLE is proud to premiere one of them, “Symphony” above.
Another of ReMi’s remixes, “My Last Chance,” is available now for streaming in advance of the album’s release.
The physical copies of the album feature liner notes by biographer David Ritz, who interviewed Gaye extensively before his death in 1984. He draws from these revealing conversations to paint a vivid portrait of Gaye during the 1972 sessions as the artist struggled to escape the shadow cast by the staggering success of What’s Going On.
“Now I could do what I wanted,” Gaye told Ritz in an interview that first appeared in his book Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye. “For most people that would be a blessing. But for me the thought was heavy. They said I’d reached the top, and that scared me because Mother used to say, ‘First ripe, first rotten.’ When you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go but down. No, I needed to keep going up – raising my consciousness – or I’d fall back on my behind. When would the war stop? That’s what I wanted to know – the war inside my soul.”