Jan Gaye, Marvin’s second wife after Anna (Berry Gordy’s sister) and Marv divorced, has written a tell all, “After The Dance” about how the stubborn kinda fella picked Jan up as a seventeen year old visiting the recording studio with her Mom, had an affair with her, divorced his wife and married her, and had two kids with her before she in her mid-20s.
All well and good, but add jealousy, cocaine, bankruptcy and sexual hi-jinx and you have another story about a great man decades after his death. The money shot is Marvin liked watching his wife Jan having sex with other guys, especially Maze singer Frankie Beverly and Teddy Pendergrass.
There is nothing much else to tell, really. Only, I can understand why Jan would sell her story, nobody is surprised to hear any of this: Marvin was always a wildly eccentric man. He is the poster boy for Blacks can be as crazy as whites any day of the week, which reached its zenith with Michael Jackson.
But there is a sense of, in a post- Michael Jackson world, where is the shock value? Really, the world is teeming with swingers, is it shocking that Gaye had those instincts in the 1970s. The man was shot to death by his father, compared to that where is the surprise here? Also, where is the insight? Marvin wrote Here, My Dear, how can any of Jan’s recollections tell us something about one of the greatest soul men of all time after he has told us that? Or about Jan, a teenager when she had an affair with a married man, herself?
After eight years of marriage they divorced, destitute, Marvin paid no child support and was dead two years later.
Naturally, the reason for “After The Dance” is money. But also, and I say this without benefit of reading the book, maybe something else: “That I lost myself in someone else — someone as remarkable as Marvin Gaye — is no longer cause for self-condemnation.” Can’t we all claim the same?
The review of the book is here.
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