On This Day

Marvin Gaye

Singer Marvin Gaye

Full Name: Marvin Gay
Profession: Singer

United States of America

Biography: Marvin Gaye was an important Motown singer in the 1960s. His initial solo recording were not successful but he found success as a songwriter and session musician.

In 1964 Gaye released his debut album singing with established star Mary Wells before going on to release the single "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)".

Single "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was released in 1968 and was Gaye's first no. 1 Billboard single. He followed it up with "M.P.G." his best-selling album during the 1960s.

In 1970 Gaye recorded "What's Going On" after witnessing police brutality. Berry Gordy, the head of Motown initially refused to release it until an ultimatum by Gaye that he would not record material until it was released. Eventually, Motown relented, and the song went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In 1971 Gaye signed a new recording deal with Motown worth $1 million, the highest for any black artist at the time. In 1973 he released his most successful album "Let's Get it On", bringing him mainstream success. The album has consistently ranked on best of lists ever since, including being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and regarded as a landmark in Soul music.

After a difficult period following a divorce, addiction and tax arrears Gaye made a comeback with the album "Midnight Love" including his biggest single "Sexual Healing". The single won Gaye 2 Grammys.

Gaye was shot and killed by his abusive father after an argument in 1984. His father was later diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Born: April 2, 1939
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rabbit
Star Sign: Aries

Died: April 1, 1984 (aged 44)
Cause of Death: Gunshot wound

Historical Events

  • 1971-01-20 Tamla Records releases Marvin Gaye's single "What's Going On" about police brutality, from the album of the same name
  • 1971-05-21 Marvin Gaye' eleventh album "What's Going On" is released; considered the best album off all-time by critic surveys in Rolling Stone (2020); The Guardian (1997); and New Music Express (1985)
  • 1973-06-15 “Let’s Get It On” single released by Marvin Gaye (Billboard R&B Song of the Year, 1973; No. 4 overall)
  • 1973-08-28 "Let's Get It On" 13th studio album by Marvin Gaye is released
  • 1982-10-01 Marvin Gaye releases his last studio album "Midnight Love" featuring single "Sexual Healing"
  • 1987-01-21 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: The Coasters; Eddie Cochran; Bo Diddley; Aretha Franklin; Marvin Gaye; Bill Haley; B.B. King; Clyde McPhatter; Ricky Nelson; Roy Orbison; Carl Perkins; Smokey Robinson; Joe Turner; Muddy Waters; Jackie Wilson; Louis Jordan; T-Bone Walker; Hank Williams; Leonard Chess; Ahmet Ertegun; Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; and Jerry Wexler
  • 1990-09-28 Marvin Gaye gets a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame
  • 2015-03-10 The family of Marvin Gaye win a record $7.3 million lawsuit for music copyright infringement against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I.

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