What’s Going On – The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye Greatest Hits – Live in ’76, (2-DVD Collector’s Edition)

by | May 27, 2008 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

What’s Going On – The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye
Greatest Hits – Live in ’76, (2-DVD Collector’s Edition)

Studio: Eagle Vision-EV 30246-9
Video: Disc 1 – 16:9 color; Disc 2 – Live from concert in Amsterdam, 4: 3 full screen color
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo, PCM Stereo
Subtitles: French, Spanish, and English
Length: 51:48, 60:00
Rating: ****

There is no doubt that Marvin Gaye was a tortured genius. He became a leading Motown star for his mix of gospel, R & B, and soul. His hits – to just name a few – include: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Ain’t That Peculiar, Pride and Joy, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, How Sweet It Is, What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, Inner City Blues, and Save the Children (All included on this 2-DVD set).

Gaye began to break out of the straight Motown bag and was set to enter a new stage in his career after What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On. However, his demons – a dysfunctional childhood, two troubled marriages (including one with a woman half his age), and bitter fights with his father as an adult, lead to his undoing. Breaking up a fight between his father and mother, Marvin was shot to death by his father on April Fool’s Day of 1984.

This 2-DVD collector’s set both celebrates his genius and chronicles his demons through archival concert footage as well as interviews with family members and contemporaries like Kim Weston, Lamont Dozier, and Martha Reeves. They shed light on his fundamentalist upbringing and the allure of stardom, drugs and extramarital sex.

His exploration of themes such as civil rights, the Vietnam War, and the environment set him apart from the pop sensibilities of other Motown stars, for whom it was the Motown sound, rather than the lyrics sung.

Including the 1976 Amsterdam concert footage is a nice touch as it shows Marvin in his glory in front of a full orchestra with backing vocalists. His stage presence and the adulation from fans worldwide made his tragic death such a loss to soul and rhythm and blues lovers. His sweet tone, magnetism, and development as a visionary voice were taken from us much too early.

– Jeff Krow

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