Cover image for Divided soul : the life of Marvin Gaye
Divided soul : the life of Marvin Gaye
Ritz, David.
Personal Author:
First Da Capo Press edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Da Capo Press, [1991]

Physical Description:
xv, 367 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Reprint. Originally published: New York : McGraw-Hill, 1985. With new introd. and an updated discography.

Includes index.
Personal Subject:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.G38 R6 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this intimate biography of the Prince of Soul, David Ritz provides a candid look at a star and a friend. Ritz had been working on Gaye's story for several years before the singer's tragic death, and had conducted a series of extraordinary interviews in which Gaye discussed his deepest secrets. Drawing from these interviews, Gaye's life is recounted in his own words and the words of those who knew him best: his family, friends, and colleagues. What emerges is a full-scale portrait of a charming but tortured artist, a brilliant singer with a divided soul. Here is Marvin's story, from his early years as an abused child in the slums of Washington, D.C., through his rise to the top of the Motown industry, his fall from grace, and his comeback, to his death at the hands of his own father. But it is also the story of his music, and the music of Black America over the past four decades-from gospel to doo-wop to soul to funk. The result is an epic tale whose cast of characters includesDiana Ross, Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder, among others.The definitive biography of an enormously gifted and sensitive man, Divided Soul takes us deep into the life and music of one of America's most soulful-and most troubled-singers.

Author Notes

David Ritz has collaborated with Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, B. B. King, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, and Don Rickles. He co-wrote the song Sexual Healing with Marvin Gaye. He received the Gleason Music Book Award four times.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Originally published in 1985 and newly available on audio, this biography unearths the demons that both plagued Marvin Gaye and inspired his music. Author Ritz, who has previously chronicled the lives of musicians including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and B.B. King, knows the music industry well and had access to Gaye and many in his inner circle. In Audie Award winner Dion Graham's (River Rising) solid performance, he often seems to be channeling the singer's vocal range and speech patterns. Although the production would have benefitted from music at the CD breaks, this concise abridgment tells Gaye's story while providing insight into Motown and the music industry during his lifetime. Highly recommended. [Audio clip available through; this year marks the 70th anniversary of Gaye's birth, the 25th anniversary of his death, and the 50th anniversary of Motown.-Ed.]-Gwendolyn Osborne, Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Aptly titled, this detailed biography is a tragedy from the start. The research began in 1979 when the author (who had already joined Ray Charles in writing his autobiography) was invited to collaborate with Gaye. The subject frankly reveals the dichotomy of a tortured existence, partly his fault and partly coming from his environments, yet all seemingly orchestrated by fate. One never realizes the cause of disinterest or hatred that came from his father (who murdered Gaye the day before his 45th birthday), the uneasy balance between deep religiosity and raw, sadomasochist sexuality, the pleas against narcotics made while under the effects of them; but the singer was not a hypocrite. As the story is told, anecdotal insight is given to the musicians and producers in whose circles he moved. Illustrated and indexed, with a chronological discography containing only titles and names of the labels, the volume serves more as a life story than a reference for scholars. Larger public and undergraduate libraries.-D.-R. de Lerma, Morgan State University

Table of Contents

Thanksp. vii
Introduction to the Da Capo Editionp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Part 1
1. In the Beginningp. 3
2. Original Sinp. 9
3. Sexual Confusionp. 17
4. Stimulationp. 23
5. Coming of Agep. 33
6. Breakoutp. 47
7. Motownp. 57
8. Sounds Coming 'Roundp. 69
9. Scoringp. 77
10. Gain and Strainp. 85
11. Supreme Wealthp. 97
12. Pain in Paradisep. 105
13. And End to Innocencep. 117
14. Gamesp. 131
Part 2
15. Sermon from the Studiop. 145
16. The Lure of Adorationp. 155
17. Hollywood Hustlesp. 167
18. Getting It Onp. 177
19. The House in Heavenp. 187
20. Out Therep. 197
21. Suffering in Stylep. 203
22. Wantingp. 211
23. Giving It Upp. 223
24. Inspired Divorcep. 233
25. Disheartened Vowsp. 239
Part 3
26. Closing Inp. 249
27. Tropical Nightmarep. 263
28. Royal Shaftsp. 273
29. Dealing and Healingp. 289
30. End of Exilep. 299
31. Remarkable Reentryp. 305
32. The Last Waltzp. 317
33. Twilightp. 325
34. April Fools' Dayp. 331
35. Nightp. 335
36. Dayp. 339
Marvin Gaye Discographyp. 341
Indexp. 349