Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………on November 11th of 1982 Marvin Gaye’s first release since leaving Motown Records earlier in the year, “Sexual Healing”, becomes his 13th and final #1 on the Billboard R&B chart. The song will reach #3 on the Pop chart and #4 in the UK early next year. This was the first single Gaye released after leaving Motown Records. He spent 20 tumultuous years with the label, which included disputes over royalties and his marriage to and divorce from Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna. He recorded this album for CBS Records. Gaye wrote this in Ostend, a resort town on the coast of Belgium. He went there in 1981 to relax and recover from his drug problems. He stayed for 18 months before returning to the US. The renown writer David Ritz gave Gaye the idea for this song. Gaye had a large collection of pornography, to the point that many of his friends felt he was addicted to porn. When he noticed the collection, Ritz told Gaye he needed some “Sexual Healing,” and Marvin had him write some words which became the lyrics to the song. David Ritz was not given a writing credit for this, but was thanked in the liner notes for inspiring the song title. This broke his friendship with Gaye, as Ritz sued for a songwriter credit. Co-composer Odell Brown, who was also Gaye’s keyboard player, claimed he didn’t have any knowledge of Ritz’s contribution to the song title, let alone any lyrics. After Gaye died, Ritz won his case and got the credit, which now reads: Odell Brown/Marvin Gaye/David Ritz. Gaye had a lot of success writing very sexual songs and built a reputation as a ladies’ man, but he was the son of a preacher and struggled with his religious values.This won a Grammy in 1982 for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The instrumental version also won for Best R&B Instrumental.