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Listen to Marvin's Room June. 2, from Donna Summer to Drake

Amanda Parris

Marvin's Room is the home of R&B on CBC. The show airs Friday 7:00 p.m on Radio 2, Sunday 8:00 p.m on Radio 1, Wednesday at 4:00 a.m and Friday at 3:00 p.m on SiriusXM.

Listen To The Show On Demand

Listen to Marvin's Room, June 2nd 2017

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


Summer is on the horizon, which means it’s time to drive your cars with the windows down and the music bumping. Loud. The song of the summer has yet to be determined, but I personally love blasting the throwbacks from my ride. The tunes that send a wave of nostalgia to anybody I pass by. So today, I’m going to hook you up with some R&B suggestions, for both the hot jams of 2017 and the old school joints that can be played every year during bbq season.

The Playlist

The Temptations - Ain’t Too Proud to Beg
Aloe Blacc - The Man
Tanika Charles - Endless Chain
SWV - Right Here (Human Nature Mix)
Drake feat. Kanye - Glow
Allie - Yemi’s Song
Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby
112 - Anywhere
Estelle - Come Over
Lionel Richie - All Night Long
Anjulie - Emotional
Charlotte Day Wilson - After All

The Temptations - Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

When you’re at the top of your game, there are always those close by, watching and waiting for you to stumble so that they can take your spot. This is especially true if you work in a high stakes environment and few places in R&B history had more competition than Motown Records.
The coveted position that everyone wanted was the role of the main producer for the label’s biggest acts and there was no bigger producer at Motown than Smokey Robinson. He was the main producer behind The Temptations because he’d secured them a string of hits: Chart toppers like “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “Since I Lost My Baby” and “My Girl.”
But waiting in the wings, coveting Smokey’s spot, was up and coming producer Norman Whitfield. He had a song that he believed would finally kick Smokey from his top spot. It was called: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

When the record was done, the day of reckoning arrived. The song had to be reviewed by Motown’s internal squad of perfectionists: The Quality Control Department. This was the group that decided if a song would get the green light for release or be consigned to the dusty prison of the Motown vault. Norman felt confident, walking into the Quality Control Meeting. He knew he had a hit on his hands.

But then Smokey walked in the door. Smokey had his own Temptations record to play. The battle lines were drawn. It was “Get Ready” vs. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” It was a tough decision but because Smokey had the title of the main producer, his song got the release.

When Motown’s head honcho Berry Gordy saw the veins popping on Norman’s forehead, he made him a deal: If “Get Ready” didn’t make it to the top 20 of the Billboard 100, they would release “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” as a single. Lo and behold “Get Ready” didn’t make it so “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was unleashed on the world. It immediately dominated the charts and the airwaves and soon after Norman Whitfield replaced Smokey Robinson as the main producer for The Temptations.

Donna Summer - Love to Love You Baby

Adults are constantly complaining about the hyper sexualization of today’s generation, but the songs that often get me blushing came out long before I was born. Case in point: Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby.”

It was the early ‘70’s and Donna had been living in Germany for 8 years making music but none of it had made it across the Atlantic to the U.S. She was working with the pioneer of Italian disco and electronic dance music Giorgio Moroder and one day she suggested a single lyric to him: “Love to love you baby.” Giorgio was inspired and wrote an entire song to it but when Donna saw the lyrics she was taken aback. It was so explicitly sexual and made her uncomfortable. She agreed to only record it as a demo for someone else.

In order to record it they lowered the lights leaving Donna in the darkness as she lay on the studio floor and imagined that she was Marilyn Monroe, playing a role of someone in sexual ecstasy. When Giorgio heard Donna’s moans and groans, he knew she was the only person who could make this song what it needed to be. When they sent the song to the U.S. label executives sent back a single request: make it longer….20 minutes long to be exact.

The final recording was a 16 minutes long international disco smash and according to the BBC (who refused to promote or play it) “Love to Love You Baby” contained 23 orgasms. Seriously guys, 23 orgasms? And you talk about my generation?

Drake feat. Kanye - Glow

The bromance of Drake and Kanye West has been developing for a number of years. Drake has named Kanye as the artist who has influenced his music the most and many would say that Kanye’s transformative album 808’s and Heartbreaks made it possible for Drake to carve out the super emo, melodic sound he’s now known for. There’s even a rumour that the song “Find Your Love” was meant to be fore 808’s but it was later passed on to Drake and became one of his biggest hits. They’ve collaborated a couple of times: Kanye directed Drake’s music video for the song “Best I Ever Had” and Kanye’s song “30 hours” lists Drake as a co-writer. They’ve also both contributed to the rumours of a potential collabo album in the near future. Until then, they gave us a slow burn from Drake’s latest album More Life.


Anjulie - Emotional

Anjulie has been nominated for Juno’s and MTV video awards and written songs for huge pop stars like Kelly Clarkson and Nicki Minaj. But she had no idea success was on the horizon when she was growing up in the not so glamorous suburban town of Oakville, Ontario. As an Indo-Guyanese child, Anjulie never felt like she belonged in a school divided by white and black students and often found herself sitting alone. But one day she got the chance to watch Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope Tour and in that moment she realized that she didn’t care about fitting in: she just wanted to be a performer. And she’s been doing just that.

The Marvin's Room R&B Stream

Explore the world of R&B, 24 hours a day 7 days a week with our new "Marvin's Room R&B" stream. Inspired by the studio where Marvin Gaye recorded much of his legendary music and by the more recent Drake song of the same name, Marvin's Room brings back the old school and introduces what's going on. Hear: Patti LaBelle, Party Next Door, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, Prince, Deborah Cox.

Explore the world of R&B from neo-soul to trap soul and everything in between. Inspired by the studio where Marvin Gaye recorded much of his legendary music and by the more recent Drake song of the same name, Marvin's Room brings back the old school and introduces what's going on. Hear: Patti LaBelle, Party Next Door, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, Prince, Usher, Deborah Cox and more!