If it weren’t for playing the drums, you may have never heard of the name Marvin Gaye — well, at least maybe not as prolifically on Motown at least. In the early years of Motown Gaye had lost himself as a frustrated student, armed serviceman, dishwasher, and vocalist. By 1959, Marvin was recording as a part of Harvey and the Moonglows on Chess Records, but the group quickly disbanded with Harvey Fuqua and Marvin moving to Detroit to work with Gwen Gordy at Anna Records.
At 18, Stevie Wonder was still deeply invested in the hit machine known as Motown. It was, however, just that—a machine. There was an understanding that the process of music making was a mechanical endeavor—ostensibly manufactured. Under this theory of production, artists vanquished much, if not all of their creative freedoms for the sake of well-tested, radio friendly records. For Stevie, this changed in 1970 when he, at the markedly young age of 20, leveraged his own potential, gaining the first Motown contract proving complete artistic autonomy.