Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man
Soundtrack album by Marvin Gaye
Released December 8, 1972
Recorded 1972
Studio Hitsville West Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genre Soul, funk, jazz
Length 38:25
Label Tamla
Producer Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye chronology
What's Going On
Trouble Man
Lat's get It On
Singles from Trouble Man
  1. "Trouble Man"
    Released: November 21, 1972


  "Trouble Man" is a soundtrack and twelfth studio album by American soul singer Marvin Gaye, released on December 8, 1972, on Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. As the soundtrack to the 1972 Blaxploitation film of the same name, the Trouble Man soundtrack was a more contemporary move for Gaye, following his landmark politically charged album "What's Going On". This was the first album to be written and produced solely by Gaye. The only other album recorded under his full creative control was "In Our Lifetime", released in 1981.



Following the success of What's Going On", Marvin Gaye had not only won creative control, but a renewed $1 million contract with Motown subsidiary Tamla had made the musician the most profitable R&B artist of all time.

Signing the contract in early 1972, Gaye sought to take advantage of his opportunities. Bolstered by the successes of film soundtracks such as "Shaft" and "Superfly", Motown offered the musician a chance to compose his own film soundtrack after winning rights to produce the crime thriller, Trouble Man.

Unlike Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield, who mixed social commentary with sexual songs in their respective soundtracks, Gaye chose to focus primarily on the film's character, "Mister T", producing and composing both the film's score while entirely producing the film's soundtrack, which was recorded at Motown Studios (or "Hitsville West") in Hollywood.

Following the closing of Detroit's Hitsville USA studios in 1972, Motown had primarily moved its location to Los Angeles, where Gaye also relocated while he recorded the "Trouble Man" album. Gaye invited several musicians, including some from the Funk Brothers and musicians from Hamilton Bohannon's band.

Gaye would compose five different versions of the title track, including an alternate vocal version, which was used primarily for the film's intro. The alternate version featured Gaye double-tracking two lead vocal parts into one, bringing his falsetto vocals with his tenor on top of the falsetto. The single version, which was also featured on the soundtrack, would feature a single lead vocal take. The other three versions were put on the album as instrumentals with Gaye providing synthesizer keyboards while saxophone solos (and occasionally guitar) accompany him.

The only other songs in which Gaye vocalized harmonies or performed lead vocals included "Poor Abbey Walsh", "Cleo's Apartment", "Life is a Gamble", "Don't Mess with Mister T" and "There Goes Mister T".


Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars
Robert Christgau (C)
Rolling Stone (mixed)

Bolstered by the hit success of the title track, which returned Gaye to a blues format, the album followed in December where it reached the top 20 of the Billboard 200, peaking at #12.

It would become Gaye's only soundtrack and film score. Critics gave the album favorable reviews while sometimes comparing Gaye's soundtrack efforts to that of Hayes' and Mayfield's. Following this, other R&B musicians would produce soundtracks of their own, including James Brown, Barry White and fellow Motown acts, Willie Hutch and Edwin Starr.


Track listing

All songs written by Marvin Gaye.

Original LP

Side One

  1. "Main Theme from Trouble Man (2)" – 2:30
  2. "'T' Plays It Cool" – 4:27
  3. "Poor Abbey Walsh" – 4:13
  4. "The Break In (Police Shoot Big)" – 1:57
  5. "Cleo's Apartment" – 2:10
  6. "Trouble Man" – 3:49
  7. "Theme from Trouble Man" – 2:01

Side Two

  1. "'T' Stands for Trouble" – 4:48
  2. "Main Theme from Trouble Man (1)" – 3:52
  3. "Life Is a Gamble" – 2:32
  4. "Deep-in-It" – 1:25
  5. "Don't Mess with Mister 'T'" – 3:04
  6. "There Goes Mister 'T'" – 1:37




  • Marvin Gaye – vocals, drums, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, producer, arranger (9)
  • Trevor Lawrence – alto, tenor and baritone saxophones
  • Dale Oehler – horn & rhythm arrangements (track 9)
  • Eli Fountain – alto saxophone
  • Marty Montgomery – soprano saxophone
  • Gene Page – strings (track 9)
  • Bob Ragland – piano, string arrangements (track 7)
  • Jame Anthony Carmichael – horn arrangements (track 7)



  • Dale Oehler – arranger (tracks 1, 6)
  • Gene Page – arranger (9)
  • Jack Hayes – arranger (3, 10–13)
  • J.J. Johnson – arranger (8)
  • Bob Ragland – arranger (4–5)
  • Leo Shuken – arranger (3, 10–13)
  • Jerry Long – arranger (2)




Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man (Original Sound Track)

U.S. Tamla T 322L  stereo (1972).

Record produced by Marvin Gaye.

This record for sale is a modern, remastered repress of the soundtrack album first released in 1972.

The vinyl record attains a Mint- grading, suggesting very few plays.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean, unmarked, and free from tears, stains or stickers.

The album's hinged cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

The album cover has a strong, undamaged spine, displaying very clear, printed script.

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