Marvin Gaye, “Here, My Dear”, and a Creative Divorce Settlement (Part 1)

April 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Divorce, Featured, Recent Articles

by Matthew Solomon, Esq.

If you’re a fan of good music and you’ve never heard Marvin Gaye’s 1978 record, “Here, My Dear”, then I strongly suggest that you take a listen. If you’re a fan of good music and also someone going through a divorce, or thinking about divorcing, then listening to this album is a must. This is a record crafted and created straight from the pain, anger, narcissism, embarrassment, and resentment that many family lawyers see in their clients.

Marvin Gaye married Anna Gordy in 1962. Anna was seventeen years older than Marvin, who was twenty-two at the time they married. At this point in his musical career, Marvin was very young and inexperienced and had only one studio album under his belt. After fourteen years of marriage, Anna filed for divorce. The couple had already been living apart for two years and both were accusing the other of infidelity. As the divorce proceedings dragged on, Marvin’s personal assets dwindled and he was in arrears for back taxes as well as temporary alimony payments.

According to Curtis Shaw (Marvin’s lawyer at the time), the house that Marvin was living in with another woman and his kids was about to be padlocked due to his financial troubles. Attorney Shaw came up with a unique and creative idea on how the couple could reach an agreement with regard to the financial aspect of their divorce. This is what he said:

“There weren’t many joint-estate assets because during the Marvin/Anna years they lived high on the hog…Meanwhile, Anna was demanding a million dollars. How was this ever going to get resolved? I came up with a plan. Marvin was getting $305,000.00 advance per album at this point, and I suggested that he pay the next album’s advance to Anna, plus the first $295,000 of earnings. That meant she’d have $600,000. Anna went for the idea. I got Marvin to go along, and the judge wrote up the order.”

From this solution, Marvin Gaye’s album “Here, My Dear” was born.

Part 2 will delve deeper into the individual tracks of the album and examine how Marvin’s lyrics imitated the language he heard from the judge and the lawyers.


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