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Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye Hardcover – October 3, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1st edition (October 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060198214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060198213
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally published in the U.K. in 1998, this biography surveys the ups and downs of Marvin Gaye's life, taking an admiring but not enamored stance concerning the Motown singer's contribution to American music. London-based music writer Turner presents an exciting profile, regardless of the reader's prior knowledge of the soul legend. Gaye was born in 1939 in Washington, D.C., and raised with his father Marvin Sr.'s strong religious beliefs he sang in church at age two but he was also plagued by his father's mistreatment of his mother and general ultra-strict demeanor. The dysfunctional upbringing would have devastating effects later in Gaye's life. He believed he was chosen by God to sing, and kept this view throughout his life, despite what Turner depicts as his subsequent straying from morality and purity. Gaye's first album, in 1961, flopped (it was deemed too jazzy), and he turned to profitable and popular R & B at the urging of agents and producers, coupled with introductions to Smokey Robinson and others. An illustrious musical career ensued, highlighted with hits like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Sexual Healing." But for this "trouble man," even bright moments of fame and success were merely shades away from distress. He began spontaneous romances despite lingering bitterness from previous relationships, gave lavish concerts while struggling to pay alimony to his ex-wives and projected a thriving, happy image to the world while he battled with serious drug dependency. The author comprehensively presents Gaye's decline and fall (including his 1984 murder by his father), offering equal amounts of musical data and personal anecdotes. Two 8-page b&w photo inserts. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Music journalist Turner (Van Morrison: Too Late To Stop Now) conducted thorough research and scores of interviews to write this tragic story of one of Motown's greatest stars. Gaye was a multifaceted, angel-voiced artist who lived his entire life tormented by a dysfunctional relationship with his father, culminating in his being shot to death by Marvin Sr. in 1984. Unfortunately for Turner, Trouble Man has to compete with David Ritz's highly regarded Divided Soul (LJ 5/15/85), which benefits from extensive interviews with Gaye himself and with both of his parents, access that time and circumstance deny Turner. Yet the intervening 15 years have also helped Turner, who is able to divulge the true identity of the mother of Gaye's first son (a secret Gaye kept from Ritz). Turner also supplies an up-to-date discography and listings of television and concert appearances. Trouble Man is solid but ultimately lacks the depth that Gaye's involvement provides Divided Soul, making it a complement to, but not a replacement for, Ritz's book.ALloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Mr. Turner's book quickly proved me wrong.
Marc Taylor
I have already read Divided Soul five times over, and Trouble Man uncovers some of the mysteries of Marvin's Life.
Lynette Jefferson
Couldn't the guy have used a tape recorder?
Martin Paule

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ken Reed on May 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
To the outside observer, Marvin Gaye had it all. Millions of adoring fans around the world, a seemingly endless money supply, a loving family, and the presence of mind to deprive himself of no desire no matter how sexually deviant or socially inappropriate.
Many people would jump at the chance to trade places with Marvin Gaye during the height of his career. As fans we tend to fixate on the accomplishments of those we admire while overlooking any shortcomings they may possess until we've created the image of a perfect icon who probably never existed. These perceptions changes of course, as his fans watched his glamerous world come crashing down. In retrospect, what we are left with are countless questions and an incredible string of shocking circumstances that the music world has never recovered from.
"Trouble Man" gives readers the joy of actually knowing not only the history of Marvin Gaye but an astounding vision into the type of person he was, the lives he touched, and the inner demons that haunted him until the day he died.
The author brings us back to the upbringing of Marvin's father and his father's role in the church as a minister. The issue of religion was key in young Marvin's struggle between gospel and secular music. That battle with his family and his conscience would be the first of many struggles that ultimately defined the man we knew as Marvin Gaye.
"Trouble Man" is easily the best biography I have read to date. Readers will be taken along on a life full of so much change and up's and downs that I was left awestruck
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Martin Paule on February 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despite the involving history of its freakishly dualistic and tragic subject, author Turner misses the mark here. After catchingx a couple of filmed performances from late in Gaye's career on cable - a thrilling rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at a Lakers Game and an incandescent in-concert performance of "Sexual Healing", I realized how completely the author fails to convey the Gaye's mastery of his art . Both of these performances came after an extended period of slumping sales and inactivity and marked a final, ultimately failed attempt at a rally. Yet these brilliant appearances get scant mention in the book. As does Marvin's breakthrough appearance in the T.A.M.I. Show lineup. Often quotes by family and associates are riddled with Britishisms (the author is English) that are incongruously sprinkled into the speech of these urban African Americans. I believe that when biography writers take broad liberties in paraphrasing the words of those he interviews, it calls into question the overall accuracy of their work. (Couldn't the guy have used a tape recorder?) The book is riddled with minor errors of fact. For example, Turner refers to a town as being in "Upper California" and he often gets the names of venues wrong. I plan to read David Ritz's biography in the hope that he has done a better job in recounting this tragic soul man's life and work.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Grimes on October 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The significance of perhaps one phrase of the book sums up Marvin Gaye's inner life - and that was that his father didn't want him. And thank God he went on to try and heal those wounds through his music. He was a such a wonderful musician, with such a troubled soul - which seems to be commonplace for many of our very gifted artists. It sometimes takes the complexities of inner conflict to product an alternative inner universe to escape to; a universe of unconditional love and affection - which is what Marvin sought his entire life.
The connnections between Marvin and his father, were unmistakable. From the Hindu point of view, it would have seemed that they were karmically entwined in a life/death struggle for recognition and acceptance, and that only one would win out in the end. Unfortunately, Marvin SR.'s own feelings about himself were projected onto his son, and given Marvin was so empathic, he accepted the load. My feelings about the end of his life were more than perhaps Marvin, Jr. wanting to egg on his dad to kill him. He was also releasing a lifetime of rage and frustration at his father; eventually that kind of toxic emotional backup will surface. I'm surprised it didn't surface years before.
His own demons were engrained from birth; in spite of them, he went on to make a solid contribution to the world of music. This book is extremely well researched; I would have liked to have had more information on Marvin himself; the book focused a lot on the musical connections he had. At any rate, its a book worth reading; and is a testimonial to the benefits, perhaps, good therapy might have had for Marvin, had he chosen that route. Marvin might have conquered his demons if he realized that his father's opinion really didn't make one difference to his creative soul's expression.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lynette Jefferson on October 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have studied extensivly the life and music of one of histories most fascinating and interesting artists. I have already read Divided Soul five times over, and Trouble Man uncovers some of the mysteries of Marvin's Life. Trouble Man picks up where Divided Soul leaves off. One of the most interesting facts about Marvin, is that he is the Biological Father of his and Anna Gordy Gaye's adopted son Marvin Jr. Until this book was published, that was a bit of information that few in the musical circles that I run in, knew about. Also the relationships that Marvin kept open with his former wives is informative. In my opinion, the man was a very talented, shy, introverted person, who just happened to also be a star. Women loved him in part because of his sensitivity, and the fact that Marvin acknowledged that he possesed a soft side. Marvin was prophetic, loving, and was years way ahead of his time. It is also reiterated in this book that there was no type of romantic relationship between Marvin, and Tammi Terrell. For anyone who believes that, listen to the end of the song "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" whereby Tammi sings, "Oh Marvin!" If you are a true Marvin fan, you will not be able to put this book down until you are finished reading it!
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