Marvin Gaye

Let's Get It On

Song Review by

According to co-producer/co-writer Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" started out as an anti-drug song. The idea for the song came from Townsend's experiences at an alcohol rehab center. The title originally referred to the axiom "let's get on with life." Issued in July 1973, the record caused a controversy because of its overtly sexual theme. The session for the classic song listed Crusaders members Joe Sample and Wilton Felder as well as David T. Walker, Eddie "Bongo" Brown, and Gaye on piano. While working on the lead vocals, Townsend had Gaye improvise lyrics over the chorus. The spontaneity comes through like a quickie. "Let's Get It On" laid at number one R&B for six weeks while going to number one pop in the summer of 1973. The Let's Get It On album stayed at number one R&B for 11 weeks, went to number one pop, and yielded "Come Get to This," "Distant Lover" (a popular live version was on his Marvin Gaye Live at the London Palladium LP), and "You Sure Love to Ball." During summer 2001, Townsend was still involved in drug recovery through a play/CD Rehabilitation Been There! Done That! on his own 12 Step Records label, co-produced with his son David Townsend of Surface.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Let's Get It On 1973 Motown 4:52
Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye 1983 Motown 4:02
No Image 1990
Original Soundtrack
Epic 0:00
Best Love Songs, Vol. 3 1992
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 3:59
Slow Jams: The Timeless Collection, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 4:00
Anthology: The Best of Marvin Gaye 1995 Motown 3:58
Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame Box Set 1995
Various Artists
MCA 4:03
Strip Jointz, Vol. 2: More Hot Songs for Sexy Dancers 1998
Various Artists
Robbins Entertainment 4:51
The '70s, Vol. 3 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 4:00
Foolish 1999
Original Soundtrack
No Limit Records / Priority Records 4:00
Best Soul Album in the World 1999
Various Artists
Virgin 3:57
Heart of Soul Classics 2000
Various Artists
Hip-O / Polygram 4:03
The Greatest Slow Jams 2000
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 4:55
Smooth Grooves: The Essential Collection 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 4:04
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 4:03
No Image 2001
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 4:52
Greatest Hits of Rock 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 5:22
Pure American Soul, Vol. 2: 70's 2001 Platinum Disc 4:01
Rock N Roll Classics [Columbia River] 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 5:22
Blues & Soul, Vol. 3: 1972-1973 2002
Various Artists
Connoisseur 4:52
Best of Slow Jams 2003
Various Artists
SPG 4:51
Gold 2005 Motown 4:53
Motown Story [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Motown 3:55
Billboard #1s: The '70s 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:59
Number 1's: '70s Pop 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:51
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 4:53
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Universal Distribution 4:53
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Universal 4:53
Cool: R&B
Various Artists
Universal 4:53