Marvin Gaye

Sexual Healing

Composed by David Ritz / Marvin Gaye / Odell Brown

Song Review by

For some artists (especially those who began singing in church), pop music has always had a conflicting veneer: the flesh versus the spirit. Some of those who wrestled with this conundrum are Little Richard, Al Green, Prince, and Marvin Gaye. "Sexual Healing" is a prime example of the Motown legend's feelings about the paradox. By the '80s, Gaye wanted out of his Motown contract while living in Europe as a tax exile. Gaye's lawyer told CBS Records' Larkin Arnold that the singer was shopping for a new deal. It cost CBS two million dollars to have Motown release Gaye from his contractual obligations and Gaye signed with CBS in February 1981. Author David Ritz was visiting Gaye in Belgium to begin writing the singer's autobiography when he came across a pornographic magazine and he quipped that the singer needed "sexual healing." Adding music ideas from Odell Brown, Gaye at first tried to record the track with European musicians. Not getting the feel he wanted, Gaye opted instead to play all the music himself. "Sexual Healing" stayed at number one R&B for ten weeks and went to number three pop in fall 1982.

The Midnight Love album sold more than two million copies, topping the R&B chart for eight weeks and making it to number seven pop. A track from "Turn on Some Music" was the basis of Raheim's "Music."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Live! 1974 Proper Records
Midnight Love 1982 Columbia / Columbia/Legacy 4:38
The Marvin Gaye Collection 1990 Motown
Greatest Hits Live 1990 Intercontinental Records 5:45
Greatest Hits Live [Video] 1991 Delta Distribution / Xtra
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Sandstone Music
Tribute to Black Entertainers 1993
Various Artists
Legacy 4:08
K-Tel Presents: '80s Love Jams 1994
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:59
Soul Devotion [Alex] 1994
Various Artists
Alex 4:06
The Very Best of That Loving Feeling 1994
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 3:54
Soul Train: Hall of Fame, 20th Anniversary 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 4:09
Old School Love Songs 1995
Various Artists
Thump Records 3:59
Night Moves, Vol. 3 1995
Various Artists
DCC Compact Classics 3:59
The Master 1961-1984 1995 Motown 3:59
Only Love: 1980-1984 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 3:58
Love Album, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Virgin
The Greatest Soul Album of All Time [Dino] 1995
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 4:07
BET 15th Anniversary Music Collection 1996
Various Artists
Rhino
Billboard Hot R&B Hits 1982 1996
Various Artists
Rhino 4:09
The Soul of Seduction 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:59
Old School Love Songs, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
Thump Records 3:59
The Man, The Music, The Legend 1996 Arts International
Double Gold Hits, Vol. 4 1996
Various Artists
Public Music
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:58
In Concert [Public Music] 1997 Public Music 12:12
Soul Moods [Crimson] 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye 1997 Motown 4:06
Love Songs [BMG International] 1997 Ariola Express
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 4:05
The Soulful Sound of Marvin Gaye [Sony Special Products] 1997 Collectables 4:01
Chart Toppers: Romantic Hits of the 80s 1998
Various Artists
Priority 4:02
Soul Legends: The Classic Collections of Sweet Soul 1998
Various Artists
Master 12:19
Selection of Marvin Gaye: The Man, The Music, The Legend 1998 Golden Sounds 12:06
In Concert [Mastertone] 1998 Mastertone 6:25
Totally Awesome 80's [Razor & Tie] 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
Body + Soul: Love Serenade [1999] 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Awesome '80s, Vol. 6 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:01
Marvin Is 60: A Tribute Album 1999
Various Artists
Motown 3:59
R&B: From Doo Wop to Hip Hop 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:59
Sexual Healing [Single] 1999 Lifetime (UK)
Love, Vol. 4 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:03
Soul Monty 2000
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 10:05
Platinum R&B Party 2000
Various Artists
Legacy Rock Artifacts Series / Sbme Special Mkts. 3:56
Let It Rock 1983 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:00
The Essential Cult Movies [13 Disc Box] 2000
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 10:05
One Hit Classics of the 70's & 80's 2000
Various Artists
BMG International 3:59
The Final Concert 2000 The Right Stuff 12:08
Live: The Real Thing 2000 Edeltone 10:05
The Sexual Healer 2000 METRODOME 10:04
Soul Hits of the 80's [Sony 2000] 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:00
New York Knicks Collection 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City 3:57
New York Knicks: Their Music 2001
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Alphabet City 3:57
Live in Concert [Town Sound/South Park] 2001 Park South Records / Town Sound/South Park 10:14
Old School Love Songs [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Thump Records 3:59
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 3:58
More Cold Feet 2001
Original Soundtrack
Bmg Tv 3:57
Blues & Soul, Vol. 8: 1982-1983 2001
Various Artists
Connoisseur / Connoisseur Collection 4:06
Mega Soul 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 3:22
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye [Motown 2001] 2001 UTV / Motown 3:59
Final Concert [Planet Media] 2001 Planet Media 4:32
Les Indispensables de Marvin Gaye 2001 Sony Music Distribution
Super Hits 2001 Commercial Canada 3:59
On Tour 2001 Town Sound 10:14
The Legends Collection 2001 Dressed To Kill 12:07
Love So Strong 2002
Various Artists
WSM / Warner Strategic Marketing
The Love Album: Classics 2002
Various Artists
Virgin
Temptation Island 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Performance 2002 Goldenlane 10:14
1983: Where Were You? 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Slow Jams, Vols. 1-2 2002
Various Artists
SPG
Midnight Love/Dream of a Lifetime 2002 Sony Music Distribution 4:00
Soul Party [Prestige Elite] 2002
Various Artists
Prestige Elite Records (Japan) 10:08
Gold Collection: The 80's Decade 2002
Various Artists
St. Clair 4:19
Hits of the 80's [St. Clair] 2002
Various Artists
St. Clair 7:59
Love Songs 2003 Sony Music Distribution / Sbme Special Mkts. / Sony CMG 4:01
Ann Summers Presents the Sex Album 2003
Various Artists
Sony/Columbia 3:59
Hits of the 60's 70's & 80's [St. Clair] 2003
Various Artists
St. Clair 7:59
Live: Marvin Gaye & Freddie Jackson 2003 Blumountain Records 10:14
Legends [EMI] 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 12:01
Rocking After Midnight: The Last Concert 2003 Dynamic 4:29
Live in Montreux 2003 Essential Records / St. Clair 10:10
Soul Love 80s 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:59
Sex Cells 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Biggest Hits of the 80's 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:01
Greatest Hits Live [Delta] 2003 Laserlight 4:55
WJJZ 106.1: Smooth Jazz Sampler, Vol. 10 - Tenth Anniversary 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:02
Let's Groove [Sony] 2003
Various Artists
Dmg Tv 4:05
Sexbombs and Other Sexy Songs 2004
Various Artists
Goldies 10:09
The Concert Anthology 2004 Cleopatra / Goldenlane 10:14
Ultimate Collection 2004 Universal International 3:59
No Image 2004 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Music Legends: Marvin Gaye in Concert 2004 Music Deluxe (UK) 12:14
Capitol Gold Legends, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:04
Gold: Greatest Hits [Universal Canada] 2004 Universal Distribution / Universal International 4:00
Back 2 Back 2004 Masters / Double Play Records 5:44
Greatest Hits/Rockin' After Midnight 2004 Delta Distribution 4:55
Timeless Classics: Live 2004 St. Clair 10:15
They Got Soul 2004
Various Artists
Dynamic 4:30
Live [2005] 2004 United Audio Entertainment 10:14
Let's Get It On [Pazzazz Collection] 2004 Pazzazz 4:27
The Best of More Soul Ballads 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair / Essential Records 10:11
Ultimate Love Songs: Vision of Love 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:10
Old School Soul Party 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory/TJL 4:00
Complete 80's Soul Weekender 2005
Various Artists
Warner Special Marketing 4:02
R&B Classics [Sony] 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:01
Best of the 60's 70's 80's 2005
Various Artists
St. Clair 7:59
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:00
Ambient Lounge, Vol. 6 2005
Various Artists
Globe 3:56
Classic Soul Ballads 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:01
Smooth Summer Soul 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:01
Good Times 2005
Various Artists
Som Livre
Timeless Soul Ballads 2005
Various Artists
Rex Recording 4:07
Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 1 [Sony] 2005
Various Artists
Clear Channel Radio / Sony Music Distribution 4:02
Joy 2005
Joy
Yeaah! Records
KKSF 103.7 FM Sampler for AIDS Relief, Vol. 16 2005
Various Artists
KKSF 4:00
The Essential Marvin Gaye [Mastercuts] 2005 Mastercuts 3:46
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:00
Always & Forever: All Time Greatest Slow Jams, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Infinity Entertainment Group / American Beat Records 4:01
Beautiful Lovesongs 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:53
R&B Soul Lovers 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:49
Golden Legends: Marvin Gaye Live 2006 Madacy 4:51
K-Tel Presents: Sexual Healing Love Songs of the 80's 2006
Various Artists
Brentwood Records 4:51
Wicked Jazz Sounds, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
United Recordings 5:09
Love Collection 2006 Universal International 3:58
#1 Hits: Best of 80s Rock Radio 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:59
The Collection [Musicmania] 2006 Brilliant / Musicmania 3:40
80's Love Songs [St. Clair] 2006
Various Artists
St. Clair 4:51
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:49
Bits & Pieces About Marvin Gaye 2006 Delta Distribution 4:09
Hits of the 80s [Canadian Import] 2006
Various Artists
Ground Floor 4:51
Soul Legends 2006 Universal Distribution
Best of Marvin Gaye: Live [Direct Source] 2006 Direct Source 4:51
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye [Mastersong] 2006 Mastersong 10:11
The Best of R&B [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 4:52
Soul Immortal 2006 American Legends 4:55
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Barking Mad
The Greatest Love Song Collection 2006
Various Artists
ZYX Music 4:06
Live in Concert: The Platinum Artist Series [St. Clair] 2007 St. Clair 4:49
Number 1's 2007 Motown 3:58
Forever Love [Columbia] 2007
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony BMG
80's Greatest Hits 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:49
Live! [Bayberry] 2007 Bayberry Records 4:51
Mastercuts Lifestyle: Soul 2007
Various Artists
Mastercuts
Forever Gold: Number 1, R&B Hits of the 80s 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair 4:45
R&B Anthems 2007
Various Artists
BMG 4:01
No. 1 Disco Album 2007
Various Artists
Music Club Deluxe 4:06
Ultimate 80s [Madacy 3-CD] 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 4:50
80s Love Song 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:49
100 Hits: Soul 2007
Various Artists
100 Hits 4:07
Funk It Up and Dance 2007
Various Artists
Hudson Street
Marvin Gaye [St. Clair] 2007 St. Clair 4:51
Sexual Healing [Ringle] 2007 Sony Music Distribution 3:59
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Daily Star Sunday
Magic Decades 2007
Various Artists
WMTV 4:03
Sexual Healing, Disc 1 2007
Various Artists
St. Clair 4:51
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic R&B 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 4:01
The Heart of Soul [Circuit City Exclusive] 2008
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:59
Marvin Gaye for Lovers 2008 Q Records 4:23
This Is Soul [Metro Triples] 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 4:07
The World of 80s Pop 2008
Various Artists
ZYX Music 4:44
The Black Power: Definitive Collection -- Soul and Funk Trilogy 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 3:58
The Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Love 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 4:06
Die Hit Giganten: Hot Hits 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:58
Smooth Love R&B Hits 2008
Various Artists
Madacy 4:51
Sweet Soul Music [Masters Of] 2008
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill
No Image 2008
Various Artists
St. Clair
Songbook 2009 Sony Music Distribution 4:01
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Commercial Canada 3:59
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing Prism Leisure Corporation (UK) / Prism Platinum 10:06
No Image Phantom
North American Tour Legacy 10:06
No Image
Various Artists
BMG / Telstar TV Records
The Greatest Love [Telstar]
Various Artists
Telstar 4:45
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