Student Work – Anna Ruby Gordy Gaye

Anna Gordy Gaye by Victoria Watson

Image of Anna Gordy Gaye from rollingstone.com Click for source

Image of Anna Gordy Gaye from rollingstone.com Click for source

Victoria Watson

Victoria Watson

     

Anna Ruby Gordy Gaye was the elder sister of record label founder of Motown Records, Mr. Berry Gordy and the ex-wife of the late singer Marvin Gaye. Anna wrote a number of big hits for Motown. She was an American businesswoman, composer and songwriter.

Anna Ruby Gordy was born on January 28, 1922 to Bertha Ida Fuller- Gordy and Berry Gordy Sr. Anna was born in Milledgeville, Georgia but soon after, her family relocated to Baldwin County, Georgia. She was the third eldest out of eight children. In the late 1950’s the Gordy family were getting involved with music.

Anna wrote songs for many different record labels. She became a record executive in the mid-to-late 1950s distributing records released on Checker and Gone Records before forming the Anna label with Billy Davis and her sister Gwen. In 1958, she founded the label, Anna Records, with musician Billy Davis. Gordy’s younger sister Gwen acted as co-partner with the label. Anna then joined Motown Records as a songwriter. Anna distributed Tamla Record’s (part of Motown) first national hit, Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” in 1961.

She co-wrote Stevie Wonder’s “What Christmas Means to Me”.

She wrote songs for artists such David Ruffin, Joe Tex, Marvin Gaye and many more.  Anna met Marvin Gaye in 1959. They began dating in 1960 and three years later they got married in June 1963. Marvin was 24 and Anna was 41.

Marvin wrote songs expressing his love to Anna including “Pride and Joy”. He called her his pride and joy.

Anna and Marvin adopted a little boy who was born November 17, 1966. They named the little boy Marvin Pentz Gaye III. They both agreed having a child would bring stability to their home.

In 1971 the couple moved to Hollywood. Two years later they filed for legal separation. In November of 1975 Anna filed for divorce due to Marvin settling down with another woman and having two children with her. Two years later, the case was settled in Anna’s favor after Marvin agreed to remit a portion of his royalties off his next album to Gordy.

Marvin released the album, “Here My Dear” (in which he gave listeners his view on their marriage) in December of 1978. Anna heard the album and threatened to sue Marvin for $5 million for invasion of privacy.

In the 1980’s Marvin and Anna became friends and she helped with Marvin’s album comeback, released as Midnight Love in 1982.

She attended the Grammy Awards when Marvin earned two trophies. In 1984 Marvin died. Anna never remarried after her and Marvin’s divorce. Anna made her last public appearance in June of 2008. She attended the Cedars Sinai Medical Center Heart Foundation event when her brother Berry was being honored.

Anna lived for many years in the Hollywood Hills home she had shared with her husband, but she moved out in 2005 because of her son’s alleged drug use, according to a lawsuit filed by her trustees. She was said to be suffering from dementia, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

Anna died January 31, 2014 at the age of 92. She had trouble with her health over the years. TMZ reported that she died of natural causes at her home in Los Angles, California. Anna Gordy Gaye is survived by her younger brothers Berry Gordy age 84 and Robert Gordy age 82 and her son Marvin Pentz Gaye III who was with her when she died.

William “Mickey” Stevenson was a songwriter and record producer for the Motown Records also head of the Motown’s A&R department. Mickey tells TMZ blog reporters how he remembers Anna and he said “Anna became an important liaison between the mercurial singer and the Motown operation.” “She helped me with Marvin a lot,” he said today. “Whenever he was missing out there someplace, she’d say: ‘don’t worry, I’ll find him for you. I’ll get him there.’ She saved me a lot of trouble.” Anna Gordy Gaye — “tall, gorgeous and fine,” in Stevenson’s words — was a picture of “style and class, and she brought a strong personality that the young female artists picked up on quickly,” he said. “It was her walk, her smile, her talk.”

Anna will truly be missed by her family and close friends. Anna was responsible for a lot of good music. I hope that when we hear Marvin Gaye’s music we appreciate her accomplishments as well. May She Rest in Peace!

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References

  1. http://www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-anna-gordy-gaye-20140201,0,7263024.story#axzz2sTrwALdN
  2. http://www.freep.com/article/20140131/ENT04/301310129/anna-gordy-gaye-motown-obituary
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Gordy_Gaye

 

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