Marvin Gaye

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye (* 2 April 1939 as Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. in Washington, DC ; † 1. April 1984 in Los Angeles , California ) was an American Soul - and R & B - singer of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s .


Marvin Gaye was born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. in Washington, DC. His father was a preacher in the Pentecostal Church of God, House of Prayer, a conservative section of the Church of God . Marvin Gaye had an older half-brother, Michael Cooper, an older and a younger sister, and a younger brother, Frankie Gaye , who later also became a musician. Marvin and his brother subsequently added the "e" to their surname - on the one hand to imitate Sam Cooke , who had done the same, on the other hand to distinguish themselves from their father and also to avoid ambiguities in connection with their name ("gay" means " gay "). Marvin Gaye sang in the school choir and later learned to play the piano and drums . As a drummer, Gaye later worked, inter alia. with Smokey Robinson and The Miracles .

After graduating from high school, Gaye joined the United States Air Force . After his release he played in various doo-wop groups, including at The Rainbows. The Rainbows released the single Wyatt Earp (1958, Okeh) with Bo Diddley . They were then hired by Harvey Fuqua and renamed The Moonglows . Mama Loocie (1959, Chess Records) was Gaye's first single with The Moonglows.

The years at Motown

After a concert in Detroit , Michigan , Gaye was signed by Berry Gordy Jr. of Motown Records for a solo career. Marvin Gaye married his sister Anna Gordy (1922-2014) in 1961 . He released three singles by 1962, all of which were unsuccessful. Only his fourth attempt, Stubborn Kind of Fellow , and the singles Hitch Hike and Can I Get a Witness , released in 1963, were small hits.

Pride and Joy (1963) became a "smash hit," but Gaye was increasingly dissatisfied with the role of romantic potty singer he was forced into on Motown Records. Together (1964) was Gaye's first album to hit the charts . By 1977 he had released 39 top 40 songs for Motown, many of them duets with Mary Wells , Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell .

Together with Terrell, with whom he has worked since 1967, he had many great hits, such as Ain't No Mountain High Enough (1967), Your Precious Love (1967), Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing (1968) and You ' re All I Need to Get By (1968). In between, Gaye had his biggest hit to date, I Heard It Through the Grapevine . The collaboration with Terrell was short-lived. After suffering from recurring headaches since 1965 or 1966, which increased over time, Terrell collapsed on October 14, 1967 in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, while performing together on a tour. After she showed signs of paralysis shortly thereafter, Terrell broke off the tour to be examined at the Philadelphia hospital. It was only during her second stay in January that it was discovered that she had a brain tumor . Meanwhile, Gaye completed the tour with other singing partners. After a total of seven operations to remove the tumor and the consequential damage, Terrell died on March 16, 1970. In the meantime, she continued to work in the studio, as far as her state of health allowed, also together with Gaye. At that time, however, some of Terrell's solo recordings from the time before her illness became known were sung about by Gaye and made into duets by overdubbing . There are different statements about whether Terrell sang the last four songs on their last album, Easy , or whether it was Valerie Simpson . Marvin Gaye gave a moving speech at Tammi Terrell's funeral and then fell into depression .

Gaye released the album What's Going On in 1971 , which became one of the most famous soul albums and because of the musical arrangements (use of elements from jazz and classical music ) and the lyrics (political statements on environmental protection , political corruption , drug abuse and the Vietnam War ) from other productions of the time of the genre and in particular the Motown productions. On the album, Gaye processed his horror over the reports of his brother Frankie, who had just returned from the Vietnam War, his grief over the untimely death of his duet partner Tammi Terrell and various private problems. The inspiration came from the musicians Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Al Cleveland , who encouraged Gaye in June 1970 to co-produce their new song What's Going On and to publish it on Motown. Eventually it was decided that Gaye should take over the vocal part himself. Berry Gordy initially refused to release the single because he thought it was too critical and commercially unpromising. It was only when Gaye threatened never to sing for Motown again that Gordy gave in. After the single had huge success at number one on the R&B and number two on the US pop charts, Gordy made a U-turn and asked Gaye to produce a full album in this style. Gaye was given wide-ranging freedoms. The resulting album of the same name had three top ten singles, including the title track and Mercy Mercy Me . What's going on? , and is a "self-contained" album, as the individual songs flow into one another without pauses.

The single You're The Man , released in 1972, reached the top ten of the R&B charts again, but was only moderately successful in the pop charts. As a result, the accompanying album called You're The Man was not even released. All recordings ended up in the drawer for more than 45 years. The album was only released in April 2019 for Marvin Gaye's 80th birthday.

Let's Get It On (1973) was a sexually and romantically charged album that was hugely successful, made it to the charts, and ranked 164th of the 500 best albums of all time by the music magazine Rolling Stone . On September 4, 1974, Marvin Gaye's daughter Nona Gaye was born. Gaye teamed up with Diana Ross as "Marvin and Diana" and released the soundtrack for Trouble Man . I Want You was the next solo album in 1975, the year his marriage ultimately failed. Due to failure to pay alimony, a court ruling forced Gaye in 1976 to record another album and to transfer the royalties from it to his ex-wife. In the album it was here, my dear so intimate that Anna Gordy thought about it, (1978), a very personal album, Gaye for infringement of its personality rights to sue. 1980 Gaye performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival . After an unsuccessful single and a quickly failed second marriage, Gaye first moved to Hawaii and, when he ran into problems with the US tax authorities, finally moved to Ostend, Belgium , in 1981.

Comeback and death

While still in Belgium, Gaye began working on the album In Our Lifetime , his last work for Motown. In 1982 he signed a record deal with Columbia Records and released Midnight Love . This album contained one of his most famous songs, Sexual Healing .

Gaye had been addicted to cocaine for his Motown years . After touring America, during which he struggled with depression and other health problems, he moved to his parents' house in late August 1983 to retreat to their home. Gaye threatened to kill himself several times after disputes with his father. On April 1, 1984, the day before his 45th birthday, Gaye was shot dead by his father in the course of another argument. Gaye had given the murder weapon to his father for Christmas. He was sentenced to a suspended sentence for manslaughter.

Souvenirs and posthumous honors

Statue of Marvin Gaye, Casino-Kursaal Oostende

Marvin Gaye was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1990 Gaye received a star on the Walk of Fame .

Numerous musicians paid homage to Gaye in their works, including 2Pac , The Commodores , Elton John , Red Hot Chili Peppers , Weather Report and Paul Young .

In 2002, Prince described the two pieces What's Going On (1971) and Let's Get It On (1973) as two of 55 songs that have inspired him musically.

In 2006, Watts Branch Park, a Washington DC park that Gaye frequently visited as a teenager, was renamed Marvin Gaye Park . In 2009, Deanwood's 5200 block on Foote Street NE was renamed Marvin Gaye Way .

The Rolling Stone put Gaye at number 18 of the 100 greatest musicians as well as number 6 of the 100 best singers and number 82 of the 100 best songwriters of all time .

The port city of Ostend honored its guest by placing a commemorative plaque on the beach promenade in 2014 on Gaye's 75th birthday and 30th anniversary of his death, near his apartment in Residence Jane, Albert I. Promenade 77. Also located in the City in a foyer of a casino a life-size bronze statue.

In August 2014, Gaye was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame for Rhythm and Blues Music. In 2015, Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor released the song Marvin Gaye ; a tribute to his song Sexual Healing . In 2016, Gaye was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame . In Los Angeles, a post office was officially renamed the Marvin Gaye Post Office in 2018 . A year later, the United States Postal Service issued an 80th birthday stamp from Gaye.


Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1964 Together - - - US42 (16 weeks)
with Mary Wells
First published: April 15, 1964
Recording: Hitsville USA Studios, Detroit
Producers: Clarence Paul, Mickey Stevenson
1965 How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You - - - US128 (10 weeks)
R&B4 (7 weeks)
First published: January 21, 1965
Producers: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier , Berry Gordy
1966 Moods of Marvin Gaye - - - US118 (10 weeks)
R&B8 (17 weeks)
First published: May 23, 1966
Producers: Smokey Robinson , Brian Holland,
Lamont Dozier, Clarence Paul
Take Two - - - - R&B24 (2 weeks)
First published: August 25, 1966
with Kim Weston
Producers: Harvey Fuqua , William Stevenson
1967 United - - - US69 (44 weeks)
R&B7 (22 weeks)
with Tammi Terrell
First published: August 29, 1967
Producers: Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol ,
Hal Davis, Berry Gordy, Jr.
1968 You're All I Need - - - US60 (21 weeks)
R&B4 (19 weeks)
with Tammi Terrell
First published: August 1968
Producers: Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol
1969 In the Groove /
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
- - UK-
US63 (27 weeks)
R&B2 (30 weeks)
First published: August 26, 1968
Producers: Ashford & Simpson , Ivy Jo Hunter,
Frank Wilson, Norman Whitfield, Mickey Gentile,
Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol, George Gordy
MPG - - - US33 (18 weeks)
R&B1 (32 weeks)
First published: April 30, 1969
Producer: Norman Whitfield
Easy - - - US184 (2 weeks)
with Tammi Terrell
First published: September 16, 1969
Producers: Ashford & Simpson , Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol
1970 That's the way love is - - - US189 (3 weeks)
R&B17 (16 weeks)
First published: January 8, 1970
Producer: Norman Whitfield
1971 What's going on - - UK56

(11 weeks)UK

(53 weeks)US
R&B1 (53 weeks)
First published: May 21, 1971
Re-Entry (R&B): 1984, number 49, 5 weeks
chart entry in UK only in February 1998
Producer: Marvin Gaye
number 1 of the Rolling Stone 500 (2020); Grammy Hall of Fame
1973 Trouble man - - - US14 (21 weeks)
R&B3 (21 weeks)
First published: December 8, 1972
Producer: Marvin Gaye
Let's get it on - - UK39

(1 week)UK
US2 (61 weeks)
R&B1 (46 weeks)
First published: August 28, 1973
Producers: Ed Townsend, Marvin Gaye
422nd Rolling Stone 500 (2020); Grammy Hall of Fame
Diana & Marvin - - UK6th

(45 weeks)UK
US26 (47 weeks)
R&B7 (27 weeks)
with Diana Ross
First published: October 26, 1973
Recording: Motown Recording Studios Hollywood
Producers: Hal Davis, Suzee Ikeda
1976 I want you - - - US4 (28 weeks)
R&B1 (26 weeks)
First published: March 16, 1976
Producer: Leon Ware, T-Boy Ross, Hal Davis
1978 Here, my dear - - - US26 (21 weeks)
R&B4 (26 weeks)
First release: December 15, 1978
Double album
Producer: Marvin Gaye
Place 493 of the Rolling Stone 500 (2020)
1981 In Our Lifetime - - UK48 (4 weeks)
US32 (17 weeks)
R&B6 (22 weeks)
First published: January 15, 1981
Producer: Marvin Gaye
1982 Midnight love DE48 (4 weeks)
- UK10

(16 weeks)UK
Triple platinum
× 3
Triple platinum

(41 weeks)US
R&B1 (43 weeks)
First published: October 1st, 1982
Recording: Studio Katy, Ohain, Belgium
Producer: Marvin Gaye
1985 Dream of a Lifetime - - UK46 (4 weeks)
US41 (15 weeks)
R&B8 (20 weeks)
First published: May 1985
Producers: Gordon Banks, Harvey Fuqua, Marvin Gaye
2019 You're the Man DE46 (3 weeks)
CH80 (1 week)
UK52 (1 week)
US168 (1 week)
First published: March 29, 2019

hatched gray : no chart data available for this year

More studio albums

  • 1961: The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye (released June 8th)
  • 1962: That Stubborn Kinda Fellow (release: December)
  • 1964: Marvin Gaye
  • 1964: When I'm Alone I Cry (released April 1st)
  • 1964: Hello Broadway (released November 12)
  • 1965: A Tribute to the Great Nat King Cole (released November 1st)
  • 1985: Romantically Yours (release: November)
  • 1986: Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye
  • 1997: Vulnerable (release: April 22nd)


  • Stambler, Irwin: The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul. 3rd Revised Edition, New York City, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989, pp. 250-252, ISBN 0-312-02573-4 .

Web links

Commons : Marvin Gaye  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Daniel Gerhardt: Written for Spotify 47 years ago. In: The time. March 31, 2019, accessed April 2, 2019 .
  2. a b RS500 (list 2020)
  3. Susan Niasseri: 1984: Marvin Gaye is shot by his own father. In: The Rolling Stone. April 1, 2014, accessed March 1, 2015 .
  4. 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  5. RANKING DES ROLLING STONE: These are the best singers of all time. In: Handelsblatt. May 15, 2013, accessed March 1, 2015 .
  6. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone , August 2015, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  7. In the footsteps of Marvin Gaye. In: Visit Oostende. Retrieved April 2, 2016 (unknown publication date).
  8. Soul star Marvin Gaye would have turned 80 today - he wrote his greatest song in Ostend
  9. ^ Bill to Name Post Office for Marvin Gaye Signed Into Law , accessed May 7, 2020
  10. ^ Post Office Celebrates Life of Marvin Gaye with New Stamp. In: Los Angeles Sentinel. April 4, 2019, Retrieved February 25, 2021 (American English).
  11. Chart sources: Singles albums Switzerland UK US
  12. ^ The Billboard Albums by Joel Whitburn , 6th Edition, Record Research 2006, ISBN 0-89820-166-7 .
  13. ^ Joel Whitburn : Top R&B Albums 1965-1998, ISBN 0-89820-134-9 .