Music Friday: Diamonds and Pearls Make a Cameo in Marvin Gaye's 1969 Hit

October 14, 2022

Welcome to Music Friday when we feature awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, a soulful Marvin Gaye compares his girlfriend's greatness to precious gems in his memorable hit from the late 1960s, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”

Marvingaye1

Gaye portrays a man who is so obsessed with the love of his life that he “ain’t got time for nothing else.” 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 rendition 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 1969. “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” became Gaye’s second biggest hit of 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, DC, 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. Gaye’s life came to a tragic end on April 1, 1984, only one day before his 45th birthday. At the height of his success, Gaye was senselessly shot to death by his father after an argument.

Although he’s been gone for more than 38 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, Songwriters Hall of Fame and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

We hope you enjoy the audio clip of Gaye performing “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

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

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

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Credit: Photo by-J. Edward Bailey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Credit: photo by-J. Edward Bailey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.