Thursday Throwback – Marvin Gaye

When it comes to getting a party started, you can’t go wrong with an old school tune.  Consider the frenzy that breaks out when the beat kicks in after Michael Jackson’s opening “whoo” on “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough;” or the hand clapping and head bobbing that ensues on the funky guitar infused groove of Chic’s “Good Times.”  The list goes on and on, and one would be remiss not to include the 1977 classic from Marvin Gaye, “Got To Give It Up.”  Once the opening groove hits the speakers, the dance floor gets crowded.  You can’t go wrong when you combine a killer rhythm track with Gaye’s vocals; that’s the formula for a dance floor classic.  From its inception, the song was made to be a party soundtrack.  So much so that while recording the tune, Gaye and Motown producer and engineer Art Stewart brought people into the studio to provide a background party flavor to the song.  Among the crowd were various musicians, Marvin Gaye’s friends, a few family members and even Soul Train’s own, the late Don Cornelius.  Fun fact:  Listen to the song closely and you’ll hear Gaye give Cornelius a shout out on the record when he exclaims “Hey Don, hey Don, man I didn’t know you were here, homes!” (that’s around two minutes and forty seconds into the song for you hardcore fact checkers).  In the end, the song was not only a favorite at parties and on the dance floor, but on the charts welcomed it as well.  A month after its release it was the number one song on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart and soon thereafter hit the top of the pop and dance charts.  Gaye even had them jamming in merry old England, making it to the number seven spot on the U.K. Singles chart.

–Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.

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