Marvin Gaye’s first wife was 17 years older than him; his second wife was 17 years younger. This may sound at first like a most ideal arrangement — experience and vitality arriving each in their turn when lacking in the other. But as even the most casual reading of any of the books on Gaye will make clear, this type of arrangement is not a guarantor of health or happiness. In case we need any reminding, Jan Gaye, wife number two, has finally written her own book, a memoir called After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye.
Janis Hunter was eight years old when she first fell in love with Marvin Gaye — from afar via television screens and stereo speakers — but had to wait until she was 17 before meeting him in person. Ed Townsend, a friend of Janis’s mother who at the time was helping Gaye produce what would become Let’s Get It On (1973), arranged for her to come on down to MoWest — Motown’s Los Angeles recording studios — and meet Gaye.