01 April 2011

TGIF Oldies Memorial Edition: Marvin Gaye: What's Going On - 1971

Marvin Gaye was tragically shot by his own father
on this day, April 1st, 1984... 

Twenty-seven years ago today gifted R-n-B singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and record producer Marvin Gaye was killed in a family argument, shot with a gun he had given his father just four months previous...

The elder stood trail for the crime, but was sentenced only to probation once the fact that his son had beat him up prior to the shooting came to light.

The DC native -born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.- had great difficulties with the ups and  downs of show business, suffering from depression and succumbing to drug abuse. A move to his parents' house on the tail of an early 80s comeback was to give him a fresh start, away from dangerous influences... to say the least, things didn't go to plan.

This all went down when I was in college, so of course there were some pretty bad Marvin Gaye  jokes floating around, i.e. "What did Marvin Gaye do for his birthday? Went over his old man's house for a few shots!" and "What did Marvin Gaye's dad say to him before he popped him? 'This is the last 45 you'll ever hear!' "...classy, huh? -sorry

Anyhoo, when he came on the scene as a member of doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late 1950s, Marvin Gaye was known for an astounding four-octave vocal range. Later moving on as a solo act, and the hits came quickly, with early ones "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)", "Ain't That Peculiar", and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine".

He also became known for duets with females such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, and was crowned "The Prince of Motown" and "The Prince of Soul". Marvin Gaye was very influential on the "quiet storm," urban adult contemporary, and slow jam radio genres. 

Other 1970s hits from Marvin Gaye include such radio standards "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", "Let's Get It On", "That's the Way Love Is", "Mercy Mercy Me", and "What's Going On" (featured below).

After a self-imposed European exile in the early eighties, Gaye returned on the 1982 Grammy-Award winning hit, "Sexual Healing" as well as "Sanctified Lady" right before his death. Gaye was posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and Rolling Stone placed Gaye at a lofty # 6 on its list of Greatest Singers of All Time and #18 of 100 on Greatest Artists of All Time.

And yeah, he sounds like an antiwar environmentalist/socialist and a complete and total liberal- and a fairly unstable one at that (or is that redundant?).  

But that's OK... I'm just here for the music, and Marvin Gaye sounds real, real good to me- call me a fan:

Previous RR Oldies features -here-

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