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‘Here, My Dear’: Marvin Gaye’s Heart-On-Sleeve Soul Opera

The 1978 album was described as the most poisonous alimony settlement of the 20th century, but it was much more than that.

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Here My Dear Marvin Gaye

In terms of his distinguished album output, everyone knows Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On, records that became landmarks in his unique career. But dig a little deeper into his back catalog and you’ll find Here, My Dear. It’s an album has been described as “the most poisonous alimony settlement of the 20th century,” but that’s missing the point.

Listen to Here, My Dear right now.

This is a soul-opera, a raw heart-on-sleeve statement that tells the story of a couple’s love and loss in the starkest of terms – the couple being Marvin Gaye and his then-wife Anna, the sister of Motown’s founder Berry Gordy. The album came about after Gaye’s affair and separation from Anna, and their lawyers striking a deal for the impoverished Gaye to give the proceeds of his next album to his estranged wife.

Recorded in 1977 and released on December 15, 1978, following Gaye’s bitter row with Motown, Here, My Dear was met with an often lukewarm response, to his considerable distaste. That was all the more disappointing given the emotional commitment Gaye had made to an often painfully poignant depiction of a love story that begins with happiness and ends in sad recrimination.

Considered the ultimate break-up album. Here, My Dear saw Gaye bear his soul, with no consideration to current trends or taste, but with artistic abandon. The album, which entered the US chart on January 6, 1979, produced only one, modest R&B chart single in the Top 30 entry “A Funky Space Reincarnation.” The LP itself reached only No. 26 on the pop listing and No.4 R&B. A 2007 expanded reissue helped its wider appreciation, and with the passing of time, Here, My Dear went on to be viewed as an emotional, heart-wrenching opus that stands among Gaye’s finest pieces of work.

Here, My Dear can be bought here.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Peter

    June 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I couldn’t understand the negativity when this brilliant album hit the stores. For me a MASTER PIECE and which I play from time to time to remind me of love and how we take it for granted yet do not understand the failings and obstacles it presents to us all.

  2. Shana

    June 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I LOVE this cd! I listen to it all the yime! A true Mastet Piece. The songs on are beyond awesome! Great music then and now! He sings with such passion and agony. Oh my!!!!

  3. rosa johnson

    June 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I understood and felt it when it 1st came out. I was going thru the breakup of my marriage also. I identified with every song and I still love this album.cry, cry, cry, I have done some crying. oh yeah.

  4. Teresa Ball

    June 21, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Just love Marvin Gaye and this is wonderful

  5. Keith Menezes

    January 10, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Marvin never made a bad album, although this came across as a depressing piece at the time for me. Just like a fine wine it got better with each listen. Not his best work though. What’s Going On will never be beaten

  6. Robert J

    September 1, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    A great, great album. It was completely out of sync with current
    trends of the period, but time has revealed HMD to be a masterpiece.

    It is closer to Sinatra’s forlorn “In The Wee Small Hours”, than
    Chic’s mood of optimism. Marvin was a huge fan of Frank, so it
    would have come as no surprise to those who had followed him over
    the decades. Unfortunately, Frank wasn’t as hip as he is now and
    the public stayed in droves from this downbeat album.

    Like all great art, it is now revealed in its’ true glory over
    time.

  7. Scott

    February 16, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    I worked at Tower Records at the time of this vinyl album release nearly 44 years ago; and a fellow employee that was big on R&B music told me in a demeaning tone: “It stinks!”

    The impression I got, at that time of its 1978 release, from seeing the album’s cover and Marvin’s expression with holding out his hand; I wondered if a censored alternate version of the art cover would show Marvin giving the middle-finger salute? As the album cover art just exuded hostility, as in “F*CK YOU!” to whomever. And mind you, I was completely clueless on the background of this album; there was no ‘web of info to be had back in 1978; and I read nothing of what little print media there was about Marvin. I had no idea his life was unraveling at the time. It wasn’t until many years later learning about his life in the mid-to-late 1970s. Pardon for sounding boastful, but I wasn’t off-the-mark with my initial impression of Marvin’s anger he must have harbored in 1978 based upon the album’s artwork.

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