and now for the songs — October 30, 2021

229) Marvin Gaye — “I Got to Get to California”

From Gaye’s ’69 album M.P.G. that yielded two big hits comes this overlooked gem, which Jack Egan called in Rolling Stone in August of that year “my particular favorite; Marvin again strides through the song, building the intensity as his voice goes through an exquisite range of changes.” Gaye beat Led Zeppelin to the punch (“Going to California” in ’71).

“I got to get to California right away just to see the evening sun setting in the west. Breaks my heart, reminds me of the true love that I left. In the sunset I can see my baby’s face just haunting me. Reminding me of the tenderness that heaven knows was in her kiss. I had a love that was mine mine mine mine alone. But I played the fool and Lord I left my happy home. What a fool a man can be, but this loneliness inside of me says. . . . I wish I was there by my baby’s side. Lord I wish I had listened to my heart and not my pride. . . . Now I’ve got to hurry, I’ve got a reason to worry. I’ve got to be on the move, true love I’m gonna lose. I pray it’s not too late, oh I might have to catch a freight. I got to get to California right away. I got to get to California right away.”

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