Ahhh Marvin Gaye...one of the few artists to win artistic control from Motown's Berry Gordy. R&B was never the same. And yet, a tortured man with great talent is still, at the end, a tortured man. Although I was a very young child when he was killed, the story of his life has made an impression on me. I still remember seeing my dad's Marvin Gaye vinyls around the house.
It doesn't matter where I am, when I hear this live recording of "Distant Lover" I stop in my tracks, frozen until the last chord dies away. Maybe the dramatic side of me responds to the lyrics -- "Heaven knows that I long for you every night and thru the day....when you left you took all of me with you". Perfect torch song lyrics. Maybe it's the fact that Gaye could SING a song, without being an overbearing powerhouse, but just using this light tone, a beautiful tenor/falsetto voice to cut through the lush accompaniment. What I learned as a singer from this - you don't have to yell, or do a bunch of crazy runs to communicate the essence of a song. Sometimes backing off will draw the audience in to listen to you. Make sure you have something to say when that happens.
*Do you have a song that makes you freeze in your tracks?