Friday, March 27, 2015

Music Friday: Marvin Gaye Sings About Diamonds and Pearls in 1969’s ‘Too Busy Thinking About My Baby’

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

‘The Ring (Engagement)’ by Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein Has $50 Million Price Tag at Sotheby’s

In 1963, Pop art pioneer Roy Lichtenstein earned $1,000 for his comic-book-style painting called “The Ring (Engagement).” On May 12, Sotheby’s will be asking $50 million for the same work of art.


“The Ring (Engagement)” is one of Lichtenstein’s largest paintings at 48 inches by 70 inches and depicts a close-up view of a man placing a diamond engagement ring on a woman’s finely manicured finger. In the background is a web-like formation of tapered red crystals.

Interestingly, “The Ring (Engagement)” has had only two owners since Lichtenstein painted it in 1962. French collector Jean-Marie Rossi bought it from the artist’s gallery in 1963 for $1,000 and sold it for $2.2 million to Chicago businessman Stefan Edlis in 1997, the same year Lichtenstein passed away at the age of 74.


Edlis told The Wall Street Journal that “The Ring” has been hanging in his media room for years and was the first hand-painted Lichtenstein he ever bought. “I think it’s so sexy how he takes this quiet moment of a proposal and turns it into an exciting crash,” Edlis said. “Clearly, the woman accepted.”

Sotheby’s noted that the painting "encapsulates all of the major themes" in Lichtenstein's "most acclaimed and sustained body of work." The Manhattan-bred artist, who was a contemporary of Andy Warhol, often used comic strips and popular media as inspiration.

According to, Lichtenstein created a series of paintings based on scenes from love and war comic books during a three-period starting in 1961. “The Ring (Engagement)” is from that series.

The work demonstrates the artist’s signature usage of Ben-Day dots, which are small colored dots that are either tightly spaced or widely spaced on a white background to trick the eye into seeing other hues. Widely space red dots, for example, would be perceived as pink.

The pricing of the bright red painting reflects a booming market for Lichtenstein’s works. Two years ago, Lichtenstein’s “Woman With Flowered Hat” sold for $56.1 million at Christie’s New York.

“The Ring (Engagement)” can be previewed at Sotheby’s Los Angeles today, March 26, and will hit the auction block at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 12 in New York.

Credits: “The Ring (Engagement)” photo via Sotheby’s; Roy Lichtenstein image via Wikicommons.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

77.77-Carat Vivid Yellow ‘Lady Luck Diamond’ to Headline Sotheby’s Hong Kong Sale; Gem Could Fetch $7.7 Million

The 77.77-carat fancy vivid yellow “Lady Luck Diamond” could fetch $7.7 million when it hits the auction block at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April.


Sotheby's top lot clearly has auspicious ties to the number seven, a fact that should widen the diamond's appeal at auction. For the Chinese, seven is a lucky number that also signifies togetherness. In the West, seven is considered the luckiest of all numbers and many a gambler has dreamed of a 7-7-7 slot machine jackpot.

For potential Asian buyers, the vivid yellow color of the diamond is desirable because it symbolizes royalty and power.


The cushion-cut, VS2 clarity “Lady Luck Diamond” is flanked by two 5-carat heart-shaped white diamonds in an 18-karat white and yellow gold ring. The ring mount is detachable so the impressive yellow center diamond can double as a pendant.

Pure yellow diamonds owe their color to the faint presence of nitrogen atoms in the diamond’s crystal structure. Vivid yellow diamonds, which boast the most intense saturation of color and superb golden hue, are extraordinarily rare.


When fine-quality diamonds of this type are offered in sizes 30 carats and larger, collectors and diamond connoisseurs take notice and are willing to pay premium prices.

In 2011, Sotheby's Geneva achieved an auction record for the sale of “The Sun-Drop Diamond” (renamed “The Lady Dalal”), a 110.03-carat pear-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing 110.03 carats. It sold for $12.36 million and was one of the largest diamonds ever to appear at auction. In May 2014, the 100.09-carat Graff Vivid Yellow achieved a world auction record price of $16.34 million, according to Sotheby’s.

The "Lady Luck Diamond" carries a pre-sale estimate of $6.8 to $7.7 million. Sotheby's "Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale 2015" will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on April 6. The sale will highlight 320 lots, including rare colorless and colored diamonds, gemstones and signed jewels from the 1930s. The auction is expected to generate more than $99 million in total sales.

Gem images via; Screen capture via

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Winner of Mayweather-Pacquiao Super Bout Will Take Home $1 Million Emerald Belt

A one-of-a-kind, $1 million emerald belt is awaiting the winner of the “Fight for Eternity,” the highly anticipated welterweight super bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.


Set to take place on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the championship fight pits Pacquiao, the winner of world titles in eight divisions, against Mayweather (47-0), who has belts in five weight classes. The match has been nearly six years in the making.


The $1 million emerald belt will be a bonus in a contest that promises to deliver a mammoth payday to both participants. The combatants will share $300 million — 60% for the 38-year-old Mayweather and 40% for the 36-year-old Pacquiao.


The World Boxing Council (WBC) originally commissioned two championship belt designs to commemorate the monumental event. One featured the WBC logo in gold against a ground of emeralds. An alternate design swapped the emeralds for onyx.

Fight fans visiting the WBC web site were encouraged to vote for their favorite design. As voting ended last week, we were surprised to learn that the far-more-precious emerald version won by the narrow margin of 53% to 47%.

The emerald belt was described by the WBC as an “exquisite masterpiece designed by the World Boxing Council for a unique bout that is already gracing the pages of boxing history.” The May 2 event is expected to shatter records for gate receipts and Pay-Per-View buys.

Both Pacquiao and Mayweather already own diamond versions of the WBC belt. Pacquiao got his for defeating Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in 2009. Mayweather earned his for beating Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alverez in 2013.

Promotional images via

Monday, March 23, 2015

Observers of Friday’s Total Solar Eclipse Experience Rare ‘Diamond Ring Effect’

Skygazers visiting the Faroe Islands to see a rare total solar eclipse on Friday got an added bonus when the perfect alignment of the Earth, Moon and Sun yielded a wondrous celestial display that looked remarkably like a diamond ring.


The Diamond Ring Effect, which was first explained by Francis Baily in 1836, occurs when the Moon completely masks out the Sun during a total solar eclipse. Due to the rugged lunar landscape, the black outline of the moon is not smooth. Tiny beads of sunlight can still shine through in some places and not in others as the moon slowly grazes past the sun.


These are called Baily’s Beads. When only one dazzling “bead” remains, momentarily, the view of the eclipse resembles a diamond ring. The ring’s glow is produced by the Sun’s corona remaining dimly visible around the lunar silhouette.


The Diamond Ring Effect actually happened twice on Friday. The first time occurred in the 8 o’clock position of the Sun in the moment just before the total eclipse, and the second occurred in the 4 o’clock position just after the total eclipse. The solar eclipse lasted for 2 minutes and 47 seconds.

To get the optimal view of the eclipse, observers had to travel to the remote Faroe Islands, which are located between Iceland and Norway. People living in Europe and North Africa saw a partial eclipse on Friday.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun, thereby completely hiding the Sun from viewers on the Earth. Because the apparent diameter of the Moon is larger than the Sun’s, it blocks all direct sunlight and makes daytime appear to be night.

The next solar eclipse is scheduled to take place over Indonesia in March 2016, according to NASA. The previous one took place over Australia in November 2012.

Total solar eclipses have occurred in the U.S. only two times in the past 40 years, in 1979 and 1991. The next one will happen in August 21, 2017, and will be visible from coast to coast. The maximum point of the eclipse will take place near Hopkinsville, Ky., at 6:22 p.m.

Check out the BBC video of Friday's total solar eclipse and dazzling Diamond Ring Effect, below.

Images: Screen captures via; NASA.