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Songwriter Anna Gordy Gaye passes away

Songwriter Anna Gordy Gaye passes away

THE songwriter Anna Gordy Gaye, who co-wrote a number of hits with her husband Marvin Gaye, has passed away at the age of 92.

A sister of Berry Gordy, who founded Tamla Records — later Motown — she had in fact been in the record business before her brother launched his venture, having founded Anna Records in Detroit in the late 1950s with her sister Gwen and Roquel Billy Davis. The label was eventually absorbed into her brother’s operation.

Marvin Gaye had been among artistes to record for Anna Records. He and Anna Gordy married in 1963 and together they penned a number of hits together including Baby, I’m For Real (see below) and The Bells, which were recorded by The Originals.

The couple’s most successful writing period was between the late 1960s and the early 1970s with their work not only being recorded by Gaye himself but also by the likes of the Supremes, the Miracles and Mary Wells.

However, the marriage ended in divorce in 1977 but in an unusual move Anna Gordy Gaye was to play a key role in her former husband’s release of the double album Here, My Dear in 1979. A judge had ordered the singer to record an album so that royalties could be generated for Gordy Gaye to cover alimony and child support payments — the couple had an adopted son.

During her time at Motown, Gordy Gaye had been in charge of the label’s Artist Development Class as well as being a member of the songwriting team. She retired from the music business in 1979.

Anna Gordy Gaye passed away at her home in Los Angeles after suffering ill-health for a number of years. She is survived by her son Marvin Gaye III.

To see archive footage of The Originals performing Baby, I’m For Real, click here.

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