Welcome to Music Friday when we feature awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we welcome the brilliant Marvin Gaye singing his second-biggest hit from the 1960s, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”
In this song about a man so obsessed with the love of his life that he “ain’t got time for nothing else,” Gaye compares his girlfriend’s worth to precious gemstones. He sings, “The diamonds and pearls in the world / Could never match her worth, no no / She’s some kind of wonderful, people tell ya / I got heaven right here on earth.”
Written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong and Janie Bradford, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” was first recorded by The Temptations in 1966, but attained huge commercial success when Gaye released his cover version three years later.
The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sold more than 1.5 million copies and was the top R&B single of the year. “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” became Gaye’s second biggest hit the 1960s, trailing only his iconic “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” — another Whitfield/Strong collaboration — which ascended to #1 on the charts in 1968 and sold more than 4 million singles.
Born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. in 1939, in Washington, D.C., the singer co-founded a local doo-wop group, the Marquees, which later became the Moonglows. When the Moonglows’ tour arrived in Detroit, Motown executives noticed Gaye’s talent and signed him to a deal.
Proclaimed the Prince of Motown and Prince of Soul, Gaye enjoyed a stellar career that flourished throughout the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. At the height of his success, Gaye’s life came to a tragic and abrupt end. On April 1, 1984, only one day before his 45th birthday, Gaye was senselessly shot to death by his father.
Although he’s been gone for more than 30 years, Gaye’s music and influence lives on. After his death, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also earned the #6 spot on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Just over two weeks ago, Gaye’s family was awarded $7.3 million in a copyright dispute with contemporary chart-toppers Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams over their 2013 song, “Blurred Lines.” The jury agreed with the Gaye family’s contention that the Thicke/Williams song infringed on the copyright of Gaye’s 1977 song, “Got to Give It Up.”
We hope you enjoy the acoustic video of “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
“Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”
Written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong and Janie Bradford. Performed by Marvin Gaye.
Ah-ah-aaah, oh yeah… Oh listen to me people
I ain’t got time to think about money
Or what it can buy
And I ain’t got time to sit down and wonder
What makes a birdie fly
And I don’t have the time to think about
What makes a flower grow
And I’ve never given a second thought
To where the rivers flow
Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else
Said, I ain’t got time to discuss the weather
How long it’s gonna last
And I ain’t got time to do no studies
Once I get out of class
Tellin ya I’m just a fellow
Said I got a one track mind
And when it comes to thinking about anything but my baby
I just don’t have any time
The diamonds and pearls in the world
Could never match her worth, no no
She’s some kind of wonderful, people tell ya
I got heaven right here on earth
I’m just a fellow
With a one, one track mind
And when it comes to thinkin’ about anything but my baby
I just don’t have any time
(yeah, she’s never hard to find
’cause she’s always on my mind)
Photo credit: Getty Images