Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear
Dissing: His wife & Motown
In the history of the music industry there have been some spectacular middle finger's raised to exes, ex-bandmates, public figures, and labels alike. Rarely do any of these so completely wish to spite their targets as Marvin Gaye's sprawling double album Here, My Dear, a brilliant assault.
As Gaye's popularity crested inn 1976, two years before the release of Here, My Dear, his wife Anna Gordy Gaye (whose name might ring familiar: she is the sister of Berry Gordy, Motown founder and Gaye's boss at the time) served him with papers for a divorce. Though he was experiencing tremendous popular success, Gay had squandered most of his earnings on a lavish lifestyle (which included his steadily worsening cocaine habit), making alimony and child support payments an impossibility. Gaye's attorney provided a solution: split royalties from Marvin's next album with his wife.
Gaye jumped into the studio intent on making a dull album that would tank commercially. Somewhere along the way, he decided to transform it into a dazzlingly acerbic meditation on his ex, the process of divorce, and a number of mature and occasionally puzzling topics (such as on the demonstrably titled "A Funky Space Reincarnation").
As Gaye had hoped, the album landed in stores and critics' minds with an absolute thud, accomplishing the dual goal of limiting his alimony payments and sending deeply personal shots at his ex-wife.
In the time since its release, Here, My Dear has seen tremendous reevaluation from critics who came to praise its inventive, raw songwriting, complex composition, and overall ambition.