Anna Gordy Gaye

Anna Gordy Gaye

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Anna Gordy Gaye
Img_capt = Anna Gordy deletable image-caption
Background = non_performing_personnel
Birth_name = Anna Ruby Gordy
Born = 1922
Origin = Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genre = R&B, soul
Occupation = Songwriter, composer
Label = Motown
Associated_acts = Berry Gordy, Marvin Gaye, The Originals

Anna Gordy Gaye (born 1922) is an African-American songwriter and composer, and is better known as the eldest sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy and the first wife of soul legend Marvin Gaye, who based their troubled marriage as the focal point of his critically acclaimed 1978 effort, "Here, My Dear", an album in which Gordy agreed to receive royalties on due to their divorce court proceedings.


Early life

Born Anna Ruby Gordy in Detroit, Michigan to Berry Gordy II and Bertha Gordy, both from Georgia, Gordy was born in Detroit the same year the Gordys moved to Detroit and was their third eldest of a family of ten including sisters Esther and Gwen Gordy and brothers Berry and Robert Gordy. The Gordy siblings got involved in the music business in the late 1950s forming several production companies in Michigan. Berry, in particular, gained success writing hit songs for Jackie Wilson and a popular Detroit-based vocal group called The Miracles. In 1959, Gordy's brother formed Motown Records and within a few months, Anna and sister Gwen formed Anna Records, the label would be the national distributor for Barrett Strong's local Tamla single, "Money (That's What I Want)", which in turn became a top forty hit and became Motown's first hit single.

Introducing Marvin Gaye

In 1960, doo-wop icon Harvey Fuqua and his protege Marvin Gaye had moved to Detroit to find work in the music business. Gaye had left The Moonglows and through Fuqua's connections, got in touch with some members of the Gordy family including Gwen Gordy, who introduced Marvin to Motown Records president Berry Gordy. During an impromptu performance at Berry's house, Marvin met Berry's sister Anna, then 38.

Despite the fact that she was seventeen years Marvin's senior, Marvin and Anna eventually engaged in a romantic affair, which partially helped to get Marvin signed to Motown as a recording artist, within a year after he signed a deal with Motown as a session drummer. Despite several biographies stating that the couple married in 1961, Marvin and Anna were married on January 8, 1962. Early on, Marvin dedicated some of his songs to his wife including "Pride & Joy" and "Stubborn Kind of Fellow", songs he co-wrote. Marvin often credits his wife to help him work in the studio where he said he was "too lazy" to come to the studio.

Later on, she started co-writing hits for Marvin ("God Is Love" and "Flying High in the Friendly Sky" from his "What's Going On" album and "Just to Keep You Satisfied" from his "Let's Get It On" album) and provided some lyrics to Marvin's compositions for The Originals' hits, "Baby I'm For Real" and "The Bells".

Personal life

After Marvin and Anna married in 1962, the couple adopted a son, Marvin Pentz Gaye, III (sometimes referred to as Marvin Gaye, Jr.), in November of 1965. Rumors circulated that Marvin had been coaxed by members of Anna's family into producing a child with one of Anna's younger relatives who in turn would be adopted by him and Anna. This unconfirmed story was reported in author Eric Michael Dyson's biography, "Mercy Mercy Me: The Life, Art and Demons of Marvin Gaye".

Marvin and Anna's marriage was troubled from the start, with Anna becoming "increasingly jealous" of the female attention Marvin was receiving as his star rose. Both Anna and Marvin suspected each other of adulterous liaisons and it was said that these suspicions inspired Marvin's music in the latter half of the sixties including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "That's The Way Love Is".

The marriage finally broke apart after Marvin became involved with Janis Hunter in 1973 and fathered two children by her. Anna filed for divorce in 1975. After the divorce was finalized in 1977, Marvin produced the sarcastically-titled album, "Here, My Dear", in order to fulfill his court-ordered divorce settlement. Anna considered filing a suit of invasion of privacy against Marvin according to "Time" magazine but later recanted her decision.

Anna said that she was still close to her former husband until his 1984 death. Never remarrying after her divorce from Marvin, she currently lives in Los Angeles.

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