Wednesday 3 April 2024


Marvin Pentz Gay Jr., who also spelled his surname as Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer and songwriter. He helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of successes, earning him the nicknames "Prince of Motown" and "Prince of Soul".

Gaye started singing in church when he was four years old. Gaye developed a love of singing at an early age and was encouraged to pursue a professional music career after a performance at a school play at 11 singing Mario Lanza's "Be My Love". Before launching a legendary solo career, Marvin Gaye joined the vocal group, The New Moonglows, in the 1950’s. They performed with established singers like Chuck Berry. Marvin Gaye also spent his early years at Motown as a drummer for The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Marvelettes and more.

Gaye's Motown songs include "Ain't That Peculiar", "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". Gaye also recorded duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Tammi Terrell, and Diana Ross. During the 1970s, Gaye recorded the albums What's Going On and Let's Get It On and became one of the first artists in Motown to break away from the reins of a production company. His later recordings influenced several contemporary R&B subgenres, such as quiet storm and neo soul. He released "Sexual Healing" in 1982, which won him his first two Grammy Awards on the album Midnight Love.

Gaye's last televised appearances were at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game, where he sang "The Star-Spangled Banner"; Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever; and Soul Train. On April 1, 1984, the eve of his 45th birthday, Gaye was shot and mortally wounded by his father, Marvin Gay Sr., at their house in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, after an argument.

Many institutions have posthumously bestowed Gaye with awards and other honors including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and inductions into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Following his death in 1984, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry declared April 2 (the singer’s birthday) Marvin Gaye Day, celebrating the life and legacy of the the iconic soul singer.

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