Marvin puts me in the mood

25th July 1997 at 01:00
Marvin Gaye's album What's Going On?, particularly the title track, really lifts my spirits. It was given to me many years ago by Peter Sellers in New York, where he was making one of his Pink Panther movies. We were strolling through Times Square one day and went into a record store. Peter said this was the best album around and bought it for me.

It's classic Marvin Gaye. He is my soul hero, and if it's not the finest album he ever made, this is probably his most famous track. It makes me feel great every time I play it. I use it in my books if I want to get a good love scene going. I used it in Chances when there was a blackout in New York and my character, Lucky, put on the record. Then I realised that in a blackout she'd be unable to play music, so I had to say she was using a battery-operated record player.

I play music when I'm writing, it creates a mood better than anything. I remember once, when I'd twisted my ankle and felt really down, putting on Marvin Gaye. Suddenly I was dancing around my study. I like to put my favourite track on repeat, so I'll sometimes play it 30 or 40 times. I do the same thing with Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" I make my own tapes, putting together the music I like. In the days when airlines allowed you to play tapes on board, my secret way of flying without being nervous was to blast my favourite songs on my headphones. "What's Going On?" was on every tape.

Jackie Collins's latest novel, Vendetta: Lucky's Revenge, was published in paperback by Pan Macmillan in June.

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