The song in my head on this Tune Tuesday is a two-minute masterpiece from one of the greatest voices to come out of Motown – Marvin Gaye. Yesterday would have been his 80th birthday. In his short, but amazing career, he had many hits which included I’ll Be Doggone, What’s Going On?, Sexual Healing, Can I Get a Witness?, and, of course, I Heard It Through the Grapevine. I could have easily picked any one of those today, but instead, I chose one of his early (and sometimes overlooked) classics – Pride and Joy.
The song opens with a “question and answer” between the bass guitar and piano and from the moment Marvin begins singing, the bass and the piano bounce along with him as he sings. The bass bounces along with the piano just seems to be playing around in the background, and it just sounds fun.
The song was recorded in 1962 and released in 1963. The instrumentation on the song is performed by The Funk Brothers. The background singers on the song are none other than Martha and the Vandellas, who would go on to have great success a few weeks later with their song “Heatwave.” The song is soulful, playful, and perfect.
Lyrically, the song is a simple love song (supposedly written for Marvin’s girlfriend at the time Anna Gordy – Motown founder Barry Gordy’s sister). Marvin’s vocal is spot on. The “question and answer” that started with the bass and piano now is exchanged by Marvin and the background singers. There is almost a “gospel” feel to the song. I love how Marvin can bounce from higher notes to lower ones and make it sound so effortless. The song would go on to become Marvin’s first Top 10 record.
“Pride And Joy”
You are my pride and joy
And I just love you, love you darlin’
Like a baby boy loves his toy
You’ve got kisses sweeter than honey
And I work seven days a week to givea you all my money
And that’s why you’re my pride and joy
And I’m tellin’ the world
You’re my (pride and joy) pride and joy (pride and joy)
I believe I’m your (baby boy) baby boy (baby boy)
And I know you’re mine (pride and joy)
My pride and joy (pride and joy)
Yeah baby (baby boy) Yeah baby (baby boy)
You, you are my pride and joy
And a love like mine, yeah baby
It’s something nobody can ever destroy
You pick me up (pick me up) when I’m down (when I’m down)
And when we go out, pretty baby
You shake up the whole town (whole town)
And that’s why (that’s why)
I believe you’re my (you’re my) pride and joy (pride and joy)
(Pride and joy)[x4] (baby boy)[x2]
(Pride and joy) My pride and joy (pride and joy)
And I love you like a baby loves his toy (pride and joy)
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah (pride and joy) My pride and joy (pride and joy)
Oh Oh (pride and joy) In the morning (pride and joy)
And I’m your baby boy (baby boy)(song fades)