Marvin Gaye‘s memorable 1973 album Let’s Get It On was precisely six weeks old as a new release when he followed its flagship, title track single with another seductive slice of his signature soulfulness. His own composition ‘Come Get To This’ opened with the doo-wop harmonies of Marvin’s youth, before blossoming into a fingersnapping, joyful ode to a returning lover. The song made its US debut on both the R&B and pop charts on 3 November 1973.
The song actually dated back to a demo session of exactly three years earlier. On 3 November 1970, Gaye was at Hitsville in Detroit considering material for what became his epic What’s Going On album of the following year. It was first cut under the title ‘Taken For A Ride,’ on the same day that the soul man started ‘Distant Lover.’ Both were shelved for that project, but brought forward for Let’s Get It On. ‘Come Get To This’ reemerged as he crafted the new album, now with sumptuous accompaniment from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and instrumentation by the peerless Funk Brothers.
Marvin’s “next top five monster”
‘Come Get To This’ was a Pick of the Week in Cashbox, who wrote admiringly: “Marvin really got it on with his last super smash and this one is going to keep his career moving up just as fast. The easy flow here and super rhythm section hugging Marvin’s vocals will delight his fans, who in turn will give him his next Top Five monster.”
On the R&B side at least, the magazine was exactly right. The song was always likely to struggle to match ‘Let’s Get It On,’ which topped both pop and soul surveys. But it became another major R&B hit for Gaye, starting at No. 76 and travelling all the way to No. 3. It opened on Billboard‘s Hot 100 at No. 82, coming to a halt at No. 21.
As if Let’s Get It On and its singles weren’t enough, Gaye was enjoying success at the same time with the Diana & Marvin collaboration album with Diana Ross, which produced a big US soul hit in ‘You’re A Special Part Of Me’ and a transatlantic top tenner in ‘You Are Everything.’ Then Marvin went back to his solo album for one more, typically sensuous 45, ‘You Sure Love To Ball,’ which rose to No. 13 R&B.