Music Memories: Got To Give It Up

[This is a post that was originally written for my old blog The Dodson Citizen. I have updated it for posting here.]

I played it until the grooves were worn out. Or I tried to play it that often.

I have told this story often to my friends, and so finally it makes its way to the blog. Back in the day, this was THE Soul Train line starter. And even if you didn’t do the line, all you had to do was put it on and people started to dance. To this day, generations of folks will get up and shake something when this comes on.

Back in the day, my mother had a family friend who would request this record be played when he came over to visit. Not only would he request it, he’d offer me $1 as payment for putting the record on. I played it as much as I could to get those dollars. I believe this was my first hustle.

And we listened to the full, almost 12-minute monster of the song, not the 4+ minute edit popular on the radio. The groove just kept going and going. And as anyone knows, if you want a really good Soul Train line, the song has to keep playing; the more to give the dancers time to strut their stuff.

As a fan of Marvin Gaye, I loved much of his music. In all his years of music making, he never cut a record that grooved as deep as this. And as versatile a singer as he was, I never thought he could come up with something that could rock this hard. Love songs, sexual songs, songs about desire, message songs-he had those down cold. A pure funk record? Here was his answer. But it will always be the dollar bills that I will associate with this song-and the Soul Train lines.

Start your line today!

Not that anyone is asking, but I don’t think Robin Thicke’s massive “Blurred Lines” was a rip-off of Gaye’s classic. Similar in feel? Absolutely. A note for note rip job? Not to my ears. I’m not a music major, so maybe someone can tell me how it was considered to be too close to “Got To Give It Up” to infringe upon the copyrighted song.

5 Replies to “Music Memories: Got To Give It Up”

  1. I don’t think so either. Similar progression in spots, but given the amounts out of person’s out there vs. songs, it’s almost impossible not to duplicate one.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I can find probably 10 songs written before Michael Jackson’s for each one that use the same progressions for a length of time that would violate current copyright law. But they do not sound the same because of rhythmic differences, varying melody lines, tempo, style, and performance. Which is why I think new sins can always be written, but the definition for copyright should be changed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree. I think there’s a line between being inspired by an artist and taking from them note-for-note. And, many artists were concerned after the court decision … fearing it would compromise their songwriting.

    (Is 5 Seconds of Summer’s “Hey Everybody” a direct lift from Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf”? Absolutely, no question. And, they dealt with it fairly by adding D2 on the credits. But, Blurred Lines isn’t like that. It’s just similar in feel … just like you said.)

    A writer once told me it’s important to learn from and be inspired by those who are better than you. And, Pharrell is a master at taking inspiration from great music … and allowing that music, like Marvin Gaye’s, to evolve and inspire the next generation.

    Great post, because YOU have inspired ME to turn on some Marvin Gaye tonight … which is always a good thing to do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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