Marvin Gaye, 'Love Man' (1979)
The Motown star was addicted to two things in 1979 – cocaine and his estranged wife, Janis Hunter. Both addictions were wreaking havoc on his music career and listeners flocked to younger stars like Rick James and Prince. "All these boys are romancing my fans and I don't like it," he complained. "I'm getting my fans back. I'm doing a straight-ahead make-out party album."
Wryly titled Love Man, the songs were unabashed attempts to woo his wife as well as his fans. "A Lover's Plea" featured the mournful lines, "If God up above can forgive me then why can't you?" Even the lead single, an unfortunate disco-flecked dance record called "Ego Tripping Out," is a self-lacerating parody of his ladies' man reputation.
The song was not a success, and a $4.5 million tax bill made matters worse. Desperate for money, Gaye hit the road to generate income. He only made it through several lukewarm performances before he pulled out, drawing lawsuits from concert promoters. Crippling debts forced him to declare bankruptcy, and he attempted suicide by snorting an ounce of cocaine.
Gaye survived and made attempts to put his life in order. To distance himself from this unhappy period, he began work on a new project, In Our Lifetime. "No matter how much money Motown would give me to release Love Man, I couldn't do it," he told Ritz. There were rumors that he wanted to revisit the album, but those hopes died with him in 1984.