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I Want You
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”I Want You” is the fourteenth studio album by Marvin Gaye, released on 16 March 1976, on the Motown Records-subsidiary label Tamla. This album is known for its producer Leon Ware’s cinematic, downtempo sound, its erotic themes in songwriting, and Marvin Gaye’s prominent use of the synthesiser.
Gaye recorded the album at his studio, Marvin’s Room in Los Angeles, and at Motown’s Hitsville West studio. This album marked a departure from his Motown and doo-wop-influenced sound, embracing funky, light-disco soul while maintaining and expanding on the sexual themes present in his previous work.
The album’s cover art features a painting called “The Sugar Shack” by neo-mannerist artist Ernie Barnes. The painting, originally released in 1971, was reworked by Barnes for the album cover. The Sugar Shack is known for its fusion of Neo-Mannerism and Genre painting, depicting a lively scene of people dancing.
The creation of “I Want You” involved the collaboration of Marvin Gaye and Leon Ware. Ware had initially been working on songs for his own album, “Musical Massage,” but after Berry Gordy, Motown CEO, heard a preliminary mix, he suggested that Gaye should handle the material. The album became a biographical centrepiece for Gaye, reflecting his turbulent marriage with Anna Gordy and his affair with Janis Hunter, whom he later married.
Gaye and Ware recorded and mixed the album at Marvin’s Room Studio in Los Angeles and Motown Recording Studios. The recording sessions took place throughout 1975 and 1976. The use of synthesisers in the album marked a modern approach to the instrument, contributing to the spacey sound in some of the tracks.
Despite initial mixed reviews, “I Want You” has gained retrospective recognition as one of Marvin Gaye’s influential works. Its impact can be seen in its influence on modern soul music and contemporary R&B. The critical reception has improved over time, with many praising the album’s different musical direction, Leon Ware’s production, and the seamless blend of sensuality and intimacy in Gaye’s lyricism.
The album’s first single, “I Want You,” became Marvin Gaye’s eleventh number-one hit on the Billboard Soul Singles chart. The second single, the quiet storm track “After the Dance (Vocal),” also gained popularity. While not as commercially successful as some of Gaye’s previous albums, “I Want You” sold over a million copies in the United States. It reached the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and became his fifth number-one album on the Soul Albums chart.
Influence from “I Want You” can be observed in the work of later artists such as Todd Rundgren, Robert Palmer, Madonna, D’Angelo, Musiq Soulchild, R. Kelly, Maxwell, Sade, and Prince. The album and its producer Leon Ware have left a lasting impact on slow jam music, modern soul, and the quiet storm genre.
A1 I Want You (Vocal)
A2 Come Live With Me Angel
A3 After The Dance (Instrumental)
A4 Feel All My Love Inside
A5 I Wanna Be Where You Are
B1 I Want You (Intro Jam)
B2 All The Way Around
B3 Since I Had You
B4 Soon I'll Be Loving You Again
B5 I Want You (Intro Jam)
B6 After The Dance (Vocal)
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