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Divided Soul: The Life Of Marvin Gaye [Kindle Edition]

David Ritz
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

David Ritz presents his uniquely candid and and intimate account of the tumultuous life of the Prince of Soul music, Marvin Gaye.

Author Ritz has assembled years of conversations and interviews from his life as a close friend and lyricist to the gifted Soul sensation, and tells the Marvin Gaye story with fly-on-the-wall accuracy and detail. From his early years as an abused child in the slums of Washington DC, through his rise to the very peaks of the Motown phenomenon, his fall from grace and subsequent comeback, to his untimely death at the hands of his father, Marvin's story is the stuff of legends. The cast of characters includes the Jacksons, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and countless other icons of the world of soul music.

The definitive biography of an enormously gifted and sensitive musician.

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Product Description


You won't find a more fascinating rock bio...Ritz lays it all out without flinching, sensationalising, or slowing down.' The Village Voice.

About the Author

David Ritz is the author of the autobiographies of Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson and the music of Jerry Wexler and has written a number of novels. He wrote the lyrics to Marvin Gaye's 1982 hit Sexual Healing.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1898 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (7 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003378108
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,886 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative!!! 6 Dec. 2010
By nmollo VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My first experience of the "Motown Sound" was listening to a BBC radio show devoted to the company when I was about 12 or 13.

The music has a rhythm and energy that I had seldom heard in the pop music of the early 1980's. I knew nothing about the artists. At such a young age the distinction between black and white music was not a factor. Then I heard a sound I had never heard before......within seconds I reached for the cassette player and pressed "record". I had captured a short part of a song I could not explain but found compelling, joyful and addictive.

The song was "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye.

That song made me force my Mother to buy me my first long playing vinyl album and since that day I have had an undying love for the music of Marvin Gaye. This love of Marvin's music extends to an early appreciation of the underrated yet classic album "Here, My Dear" which in 2007 received glorious "Expanded Edition" treatment.

Marvin Gaye always appeared to me as a sophisticate with a suave and cool exterior. I knew that he had been murdered by his own Father but the greater details about his life where of little consequence when his music seemed to tell me all I needed to know about the artist.

Recently I purchased from Amazon "Where Did Our Love Go?" by Nelson George and "Divided Soul" by David Ritz. I wanted to learn finally and authoritatively about about Motown and particularly about the life of Marvin Gaye.

I read "Where Did Our Love Go?" by Nelson George first and was a little disappointed. The book is very short considering the subject and many interesting facts are omitted. It is well-written but feels slightly rushed. I expected a more in-depth study of the label and its artists.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great biography of a great man 14 May 2009
This is one of my favourite books. The best Marvin Gaye biography. You get to know Marvin the man, his character deepest thoughts and his personal struggle between his religion and temptations from his interviews with David Ritz. One of those books you just can't put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only Marvin Gaye biography worth reading 25 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Even Marvin's former wife Janis Hunt rates this book. I say this because so many of the great Marvin Gaye's relatives hate it and I can see why. It's brutally honest about Gaye's conflicted sexuality; misogyny and delves into his childhood for answers to what made Marvin Gaye so complex. I always loved Marvin Gaye and his music (I grew up to What's Going On and as a teenager it was always on our record player ..yep in those days we had record players with needles discs and all) but this book made me love and respect him even more and immediately order Here My Dear from Amazon. Which is amazing.....I can't believe I'd never heard of this album before. I also hunted down interviews and performances by Marvin on YouTube which had so much more resonance for me now I know the background to his story. I recommend a very moving short interview of Marvin with his father Gay senior, apparently recorded for a Japanese audience. Marvin Jr's desperate need for approval from his father underscores one of the major issues driving his insecurities and in the light of the eventual denouement (his dad brutally kills him) it's so moving and sad. Marvin Gaye's vocal chords must have been amazing as all the crack cocaine and other drugs he took did not really affect his voice, even towards the very end, just his overall performance where he became a sad sexual parody removing almost all his clothes etc. This book is revealing about Marvin Gaye, brilliant on his childhood and unusual almost cultist, religious background, his first and second wives (Anna Gordy and Janis Hunter) and Motown generally. Very knowledgeable about the music Marvin made and his influences. The only sour/fake note author David Ritz sounds is when he goes on and on about his deep friendship with Marvin. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any fan of Marvin Gaye 9 Jan. 2011
This has to be the most complete and honest book ever written about Marvin Gaye. The detail is so intricate and there is so much onformation about the man, his life and his music. Excellent bookd and one I will read again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Complex 28 Aug. 2011
When I read biographies and it states that the main character has a complex personality, I rarely agree. Marvin Gaye, however was the most complex, fascinating, talented and damaged person I have ever read about. Cleverly, the author has managed to capture the torn soul of this destructive artist and bring him to life. Read this book, you will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tortured Soul...................... 27 Feb. 2013
By Zed
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A view of this Motown legend from a part time collaborator and friend, so you are served his take on the man and he doesn't pull any punches but leaves you feeling that the man didn't really find what he was looking for in life.
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