Marvin Gaye Let's Get It On Tamla Show me a guy born during Tamla-Motown's golden age - the decade between 1963 and 1973 - who says he didn't use Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On album as a seduction soundtrack at least once in his life, and I'll show you a liar. Gaye's 12th studio album marked a change in direction for the Soul Man, moving away from both the formulaic pop and R&B of his earlier career, and sideways from his 1971 socially conscious epic What's Going On. On Let's Get It On, Gaye masterfully moved into new territory - funk and 'quiet storm' balladry - and also delivered the most sexually provocative songwriting of its time. The end product, packed with carnal energy, was a global smash, swiftly becoming the Motown icon's best-selling album. It spent 61 weeks on the Billboard charts and topped the Billboard soul albums charts for 11 weeks at a time when it seemed that an instant classic was released every few days. Long a famously sensual recording artist and performer before this ground-breaking album, Let's Get It On reconfirmed Gaye's status as a sex god with torrid numbers like the title hit, You Sure Love to Ball, and half a dozen other silky tracks for the bedroom. Groovy and languid, Let's Get It On sometimes threatens to collapse into self-parody, but the unstoppable tunefulness of the album keeps it real, even when it's throbbing with lust. One of the reasons this was such a giant step forward was because Gaye gained increased artistic control in the wake of What's Going On. And he made full use of this, eschewing overworked Motown motifs such as tambourines on the backbeat and call-and-response lyrics in favour of feathery multi-tracked vocals and eclectic instrumentation. And, like What's Going On, the album's tracks run together in a stylish suite-form arrangement (much to the chagrin - at the time - of Motown chief Berry Gordy, who was obsessed with the label churning out hit singles, at the expense of more-enduring holistic works such as this). Moreover, with Let's Get It On, Gaye paved the way for the next generation of crooners of colour, notably Lionel Richie and Barry White. Would the recordings of 70s artists, inspired by Gaye, have been as sexually explicit had he quit recording after What's Going On? It's inconceivable. Gaye had brought aural erotica into the mainstream, where it has stayed through Prince, R. Kelly, Jay-Z and beyond. Speaking about this masterpiece, Gaye remarked: 'I don't believe in overly moralistic philosophies. Have your sex, it can be exciting, if you're lucky. I hope the music that I present here makes you lucky.' And that's what a generation of dudes on the Baby Boomer-Generation X divide were hoping whenever they put this platter on the stereo, uncorked a bottle of wine, and gave the chilli con carne another stir in countless bachelor pads around the world. At least their dates couldn't complain about the music.