Our Top 10 Marvin Gaye Songs list takes a look at one of the greatest singers in the history of popular culture. Marvin Gaye’s musical career began when he became a member of the vocal group The Marquees in the late 1950s. After The Marquees, he moved onto join a group called Harvey and the New Moonglow. After performing one evening at Berry Gordy’s house, the legendary founder of Motown records signed Marvin Gaye to a recording contract. In 1961, Marvin Gaye released his first solo album for Motown Records entitled The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye. With the release of his first solo album, Marvin Gaye would become one of the biggest stars on the Motown Records label. He would alsco become on of the most famous R&B singers of all time.
Marvin Gaye released seventeen studio albums as a solo artist. He also released six duo albums with various female vocalists including Mary Wells, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross. While most of his early solo and duo albums were recorded under the direction of Motown’s legendary production team, it was when he separated himself from the team and recorded the album What’s Going On that really elevated his status as a brilliant artist as opposed to just an amazing singer.
Marvin Gaye had released songs in four straight decades starting with the 1950s through the 1980s. He had multiple number one singles in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. His career showed no signs of stopping until it was his father Marvin Gay Sr. who gunned him down in their home taking the life of his son Marvin Gay Jr.
Our top 10 Marvin Gaye songs list attempts to highlight some of Marvin Gaye’s biggest hits that occurred throughout his legendary musical career.
# 10 – Got To Give It Up
We open up our Top 10 Marvin Gaye Songs list with one of three Marvin Gaye songs that hit number one on the Billboard Top 100. While Marvin Gaye celebrated three number ones on the Billboard Hot 100 he also enjoyed thirteen number one’s on the Billboard R&B Charts. The song “Got To Give It Up,” was released in 1977. Motown had been trying to get Marvin Gaye to release a disco record because that’s what everyone else was doing. At first, Marvin Gaye was reluctant to do so, but wound up recording “Got To Give It Up,” as almost a parody of disco. Whatever his intentions were, the song proved to be one of the biggest hits of his career.
Marvin Gaye’s estate wound up making even more money on the song when they sued Robin Thicke for copyright infringement based on Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines.” The Marvin Gaye estate won the lawsuit and were awarded in the end over five million dollars in royalties and a songwriting credit on Robin Thicke’s song.
# 9 – Sexual Healing
Continuing with our top 10 Marvin Gaye songs list we turn to another one of Marvin Gaye’s biggest hits entitled “Sexual Healing.” This was a very different sounding Marvin Gaye when compared to the singer who had so many hits for Motown Records. This was the first big hit Marvin Gaye had for his new label Columbia Records. This was the sound of early 80s soul. It wasn’t really disco or dance, but somewhere in between. And it hit number one on the Billboard R&B charts and number three on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 8 -You’re All I Need To Get By
“You’re All I Need To Get By,” is the first of two tracks on this Marvin Gaye songs list to also feature Marvin Gaye’s wonderful singing partner Tammi Terrell. For a time, Marvin and Tammi were one of the greatest singing duos in pop culture. Two powerhouse voices with more soul than the planet could hold. Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye released three albums together. Sadly Tammi Terrell passed away at the age of 25 due to complications from her battle with brain cancer. “You’re All I Need To Get By,” was the duo’s signature song.
# 7 – California Soul
There was something so incredibly special about this great recording of “California Soul,” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. The song was released in 1970 after Tammi Terrell’s passing. It was never a big hit, but it became a fan favorite. The song was written by Ashford & Simpson. The song was also recorded by the Fifth Dimension.
# 6 – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
Classic Motown doesn’t get much better than this. The song was written by Motown’s historic songwriting and production team Holland–Dozier–Holland. Marvin Gaye recorded the song in 1964. It was released on the album of the same name titled How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You). The song instantly became a top 10 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard R&B music charts. Elven years later James Taylor covered the song and also had a huge hit with the song.
# 5 – I Want You
This may be Marvin Gaye’s most underrated song. Released in the middle of the punk explosion and disco madness of 1976, Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” fused elements of many musical genres into a smoking cool soul infused grooving track. Did I uses enough adjectives? Anyway, the song was actually a pretty big hit in 1976. I Want You hit number fifteen on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. However the song went all the way to number one on the Billboard R&B Charts.
# 4 –Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
The great Marvin Gaye song “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” was released as the second single from the legendary What’s Going On album. The song was written by Marvin Gaye. It was a huge hit for Marvin Gaye as it peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. The song’s lyrical ideas focused on the environmental movement that paralleled the Vietnam era during the Nixon years in the United States.
# 3 – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Marvin Gaye delivers a vocal to die for on the classic song “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” The classic song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966. The song was first recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips, followed by a great version recorded by the Miracles. However, it was Marvin Gaye’s version that went straight to number one and became the biggest selling song in the Motown catalog as of 1969. One year later, the band Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded an eleven minute rock version of the song that was also outstanding but nowhere near as commercially successful as Marvin Gaye’s version.
# 2 – Let Get It On
If there ever was one song to play in a certain particular moment………..
Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” was one of the singer’s biggest hits. The song was released in 1973 on the Let’s Get It On album. The song was written by Marvin Gaye and Ed Townsend. The song went straight to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Soul Singles.
# 1 – What’s Going On
Nothing needs to be written, the song says it all…………