Marvin Gaye’s Lost Album Finds Him at the Peak of His Creativity

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You’re the Man would have come out between What’s Going on and Let’s Get It On. 47 years later, Motown has finally released it.

By Jack Hamilton

Marvin Gaye relaxes in the studio on Aug. 28, 1973.
Michael Ochs Archives

The notion of a “lost” Marvin Gaye album from 1972 evokes feelings roughly akin to learning that Billy Wilder wrote and shot a whole movie in between Some Like It Hot and The Apartment only to scrap it during the editing process, or that during his 1993–94 “retirement” season, Michael Jordan was actually secretly playing extremely intense pickup games and also filming them. In reality, the material on You’re the Man, the famously aborted Marvin Gaye LP that would have fallen directly between the twin masterpieces of What’s Going On (1971) and Let’s Get It On (1973), isn’t really all that lost—many of the tracks have been floating around in various contexts for years. But the album, released by Motown this week 47 years after its notoriously fickle creator pulled the plug, is a welcome addition to the official Gaye discography, as well as a vital document of the creative pinnacle of one of American music’s most exquisite talents. More…

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