Marvin Gaye

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Performers and composers

Marvin Gaye

Background information
Birth name Marvin Pentz Gay Jr .
Born April 2, 1939(1939-04-02)
Washington, D.C., United States
Died April 1, 1984 (aged 44)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genre(s) R&B, soul, quiet storm, Motown, pop, reggae
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, composer, musician, record producer
Instrument(s) Vocals, keyboards, drums, percussion, clavinet
Years active 1957–1961 (groups)
1961–1984 (solo)
Label(s) Motown (Tamla-Motown), Columbia
Associated acts The Moonglows, Martha and the Vandellas, Tammi Terrell, The Originals, Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross, Harvey Fuqua

Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr., April 2, 1939 April 1, 1984) was an iconic two-time Grammy-winning American singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer who gained international fame as an artist on the Motown record label in the 1960s and 1970s. Marvin began his career at Motown in 1961. He quickly became Motown's top solo male artist and scored numerous hits during the 1960s, among them " Stubborn Kind of Fellow", " How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", " I Heard It Through the Grapevine", and several hit duets with Tammi Terrell, including " Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and " You're All I Need to Get By", before moving on to his own form of musical self-expression. Gaye is notable for fighting the hit-making, but creatively restrictive, Motown record-making process, in which performers and songwriters and record producers were generally kept in separate camps.

With his successful 1971 album What's Going On and subsequent releases including Trouble Man (1972) and Let's Get It On (1973), Gaye, who was a part-time songwriter for Motown artists during his early years with the label, proved that he could write and/or produce his own albums without having to rely on the Motown system. He is also known for his environmentalism, perhaps most evident in his song " Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)".

During the 1970s, Gaye would release several other notable albums, including Let's Get It On and I Want You, and had hits with singles such as " Let's Get It On", " Got to Give It Up", and, in the early 1980s, " Sexual Healing". Before his death, Gaye won two Grammy Awards: one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and one for Best Instrumental Recording for the single, Sexual Healing on February 23, 1983 on the Grammy Awards 25th Anniversary. By the time of his death in 1984 at the hands of his clergyman father, Gaye had become one of the most influential artists of the soul music area. In 1996, Gaye was awarded with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on its 38th Anniversary ceremony.

Gaye's career has been described as one that "spanned the entire history of rhythm and blues from fifties doo-wop to eighties contemporary soul." Critics have also stated that Gaye's musical output "signified the development of black music from raw rhythm and blues, through sophisticated soul to the political awareness of the 1970s and increased concentration on personal and sexual politics thereafter."


Early life and career

Gaye was born at Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He was the first son and second eldest of four children to minister Rev. Marvin Pentz Gay Sr. and schoolteacher/housekeeper Alberta Cooper. Sisters Jeanne and Zeola, younger brother Frankie and Marvin lived in the segregated section of Washington, D.C.'s Deanwood neighbourhood in the northeastern section of the city. As a teen, he caddied at Norbeck Country Club in Olney, Maryland. Gaye's father preached in a Seventh-day Adventist Church sect called the House of God, which went by a strict code of conduct and mixed teachings of Orthodox Judaism and Pentecostalism. As a child growing up in his father's church, Gaye started singing and playing instruments in the choir. During his time in high school, he began listening to doo-wop and joined the DC Tones as a drummer. After dropping out of Cardozo High School, Gaye joined the United States Air Force. After faking mental illness, he was discharged because he refused to follow orders.

After dropping out of the Air Force in 1957, Gaye began his music career in several doo wop groups, settling on The Marquees, a popular D.C. group. With Bo Diddley, The Marquees released a single, "Wyatt Earp", in 1957 on Okeh Records and were then recruited by Harvey Fuqua to become The Moonglows. "Mama Loocie", released in 1959 on Chess Records, was Gaye's first single with the Moonglows and his first recorded lead. After a concert in Detroit, the "new" Moonglows disbanded and Fuqua introduced Gaye to Motown Records president Berry Gordy. He signed Gaye first as a session drummer for acts such as The Miracles, The Contours, Martha and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes and others, most notably playing drums on The Marvelettes' 1961 hit, " Please Mr. Postman" and Little Stevie Wonder's live version of 1963 hit, " Fingertips Pt. 2", both singles reached the number one spot of the pop singles chart.

After starting his recording career at Motown, he changed his name from Marvin Gay to Marvin Gaye, adding the 'e' to separate himself from his father's name, to stop ongoing gossip about his sexuality, and to imitate his idol, Sam Cooke, who also added an 'e' to his last name. He had wanted to record for the label, but Motown president Berry Gordy had apprehensions about recording for the singer due to the fact that Gaye was not used to following orders on what the label wanted for him to do. According to a VH-1 documentary, Gaye's then-girlfriend and Berry's sister Anna Gordy, convinced Berry to sign him after Berry agreed to let him record a contemporary pop record of jazz-styled ballads and standards.

Early success

Popular and well-liked around Motown, Gaye already carried himself in a sophisticated, gentlemanly manner and had little need of training from Motown's in-house Artist Development director, Maxine Powell, though the singer did take Powell's advice on not performing with his eyes closed, as if "to appear that he wasn't asleep". In June 1961, Gaye issued his first solo recording, The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye, which was the first album issued by the Motown record label besides The Miracles' Hi... We're The Miracles Featuring Broadway standards and jazz-rendered show tunes with few rock/R&B-oriented tunes, the record failed to chart. After arguing over direction of his career with Gordy, Gaye eventually agreed to conform to record the more R&B-rooted sounds of his label mates and contemporaries issuing three singles that were written by Gordy. His first single release, "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide", built upon a Ray Charles vibe, failed to chart as did the follow-ups, "Sandman" and "A Soldier's Plea", each released in 1962. Ironically, Gaye would find his first success as a co-songwriter on the Marvelettes' 1962 hit, " Beechwood 4-5789". Finally in the fall of 1962, the single, " Stubborn Kind of Fellow", brought Gaye success on the R&B chart. The record, co-written by Gaye and produced by friend William "Mickey" Stevenson, featuring Martha and the Vandellas (then known as The Vells, the group would sing background on Marvin's 1963 album, That Stubborn Kinda Fellow), was an autobiographical jab at Gaye's nonchalant, moody behaviour, became a top ten hit on the Hot R&B Songs chart.

The single would be followed by his first Top 40 singles " Hitch Hike", " Pride and Joy" and " Can I Get a Witness", all of which were charted successes for Gaye in 1963. The success continued with the 1964 singles " You Are a Wonderful One" (which featured background work by The Supremes), " Try It Baby" (which featured backgrounds from The Temptations), " Baby Don't You Do It" and " How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", which became his signature song. During this early success, Gaye contributed to writing Martha and the Vandellas' 1964 smash, " Dancing in the Street". His work with Smokey Robinson on the 1966 album, Moods of Marvin Gaye, spawned two consecutive top ten singles in " I'll Be Doggone" and " Ain't That Peculiar", both of which became the singer's first Billboard charted number-one hits of his career peaking at the top spot on the R&B singles chart. Marvin's early success granted him teen idol status as he became a favorite on the teen-based shows, American Bandstand, Shindig!, Hullaballoo and The Mike Douglas Show, he also became one of the few Motown artists to perform at the Copacabana. A live album from the Copacabana show wouldn't be issued for three decades.

Tammi Terrell

A number of Gaye's hits for Motown were songs with female artists, such as Kim Weston and Mary Wells; the first Gaye/Wells album, 1964's Together, was Gaye's first charting album. However, it was Marvin's work with Tammi Terrell that became the most popular and memorable. Terrell and Gaye had a good rapport and their first album together, 1967's United, birthed the massive hits " Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (later covered by Diana Ross and more recently, by former Doobie Brothers singer, Michael McDonald) and " Your Precious Love". Real life couple Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson provided the writing and production for the Gaye/Terrell records. While Gaye and Terrell themselves were not lovers—though rumors persist that they may have been—they convincingly portrayed lovers on record. Indeed, Gaye sometimes claimed that for the durations of the songs he was in love with her. On October 14, 1967, Terrell collapsed into Gaye's arms on stage while they were performing at the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) homecoming in Hampton, Virginia (located in Virginia's Tidewater region) (not at Hampden-Sydney College, located in mid-state Virginia). She was later diagnosed with a brain tumor and her health continued to deteriorate.

Motown decided to try and carry on with the Gaye/Terrell recordings, issuing the You're All I Need album in 1968, which featured the hits " Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and " You're All I Need to Get By". By the time of the final Gaye/Terrell album, Easy in 1969, Terrell's vocals were performed mostly by Valerie Simpson. Two tracks on Easy were archived Terrell solo songs with Gaye's vocals overdubbed onto them.

Terrell's illness put Gaye in a depression; he refused to acknowledge the success of his song " I Heard It Through the Grapevine" ( sample ), previously recorded in 1967 by Gladys Knight & The Pips, his first #1 hit and the biggest selling single in Motown history to that point, with four million copies sold. His work with producer Norman Whitfield, who produced "Grapevine", resulted in similar success with the singles " Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" and " That's the Way Love Is". Meanwhile, Gaye's marriage was crumbling and he was growing bored with his music. Wanting creative control, he sought to produce singles for Motown session band The Originals, whose Gaye-produced hit singles, " Baby I'm For Real" and " The Bells", brought needed success.

What's Going On

Tammi Terrell died of a brain tumor on March 16, 1970. Devastated by her death, Gaye was so emotional at her funeral that he'd talk to the remains as if she were going to respond. He subsequently went into seclusion, and did not perform in concert for nearly two years. Gaye told friends that he had thought of quitting music, at one point trying out for the American football team the Detroit Lions (where he met acquaintances Mel Farr and Lem Barney), but after the success of his productions with the Originals, Gaye was confident to make his own musical statement. As a result, he entered the studio on June 1, 1970 and recorded the songs " What's Going On", "God is Love", and "Sad Tomorrows" - an early version of "Flying High (In the Friendly Sky)".

Gaye wanted to release " What's Going On". Gordy refused, however, calling the single "uncommercial". Gaye refused to record any more until Gordy gave in; the song became a surprise hit in January 1971. Gordy subsequently requested an entire album of similar tracks from Gaye.

The What's Going On album became one of the highlights of Gaye's career and is today his best-known work. Both in terms of sound (influenced by funk and jazz) and lyrical content), it was a major departure from his earlier Motown work. Two more of its singles, " Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and " Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)", became Top 10 pop hits and #1 R&B hits. The album became one of the most memorable soul albums of all time and, based upon its themes, the concept album became the next new frontier for soul music. It has been called "the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices".

Continued success in music

After the success of What's Going On, Motown renegotiated a new contract with Gaye that allowed him creative control. The deal was worth $1 million, making Gaye the highest-earning black artist in music history at the time. He moved from Detroit to Los Angeles in 1972 after being offered a chance to write the score to a blaxploitation film. Writing, arranging and producing for the movie Trouble Man, Gaye issued the soundtrack and title song in 1972. The soundtrack and the single became hits, with the single peaking at the top ten in early 1973. After going over a difficult period of where to go next in his career, Gaye decided to switch topics from social to sensual with the release of Let's Get It On ( sample ) in 1973. The album was a rare departure for the singer for its blatant sensual appeal. Yielded by the smash title track and standout tracks such as " Come Get to This", " You Sure Love to Ball" and " Distant Lover", Let's Get It On became Gaye's biggest selling album during his lifetime, surpassing What's Going On. Also, with the title track, Gaye broke his own record at Motown by surpassing the sales of " I Heard It Through the Grapevine". The album would be later hailed as "a record unparalleled in its sheer sensuality and carnal energy."

Gaye began working on his final duet album, this time for Diana Ross for the Diana & Marvin project, an album of duets that began recording in 1972, while Ross was pregnant with her second child. Gaye refused to sing if he couldn't smoke in the studio, so the duet album was recorded by overdubbing Ross and Gaye at separate studio session dates. Released in the fall of 1973, the album yielded the US Top 20 hit singles " You're a Special Part of Me and " My Mistake (Was to Love You)" as well as the UK versions of The Stylistics's " You Are Everything" at #5 and " Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" at #25, respectively.

In 1976, Gaye released the I Want You LP, which yielded the title track as the number-one R&B single, and the modest charter, " After the Dance." Album tracks such as "Since I Had You" and "Soon I'll Be Loving You Again" geared Gaye towards more funky material.

"Got to Give It Up" and his final days at Motown

In 1977, Gaye released the seminal funk single, " Got to Give It Up", which went to number-one on the pop, R&B and dance singles charts simultaneously and helped his Live at the London Palladium album sell over two million copies, becoming one of the top ten best-selling albums of the year. The following year, after divorcing his first wife, Anna, he agreed to remit a portion of his salary and sales of his upcoming album to his ex for alimony. The result was 1978's Here, My Dear, which addressed the sour points of his marriage and almost led to Anna filing a lawsuit for invasion of privacy against him, though she later reversed that decision. That album tanked on the charts (despite its later critical reevaluation) however, and Gaye struggled to sell a record. By 1979, besieged by tax problems and drug addictions, Gaye filed for bankruptcy and moved to Hawaii, where he lived in a bread van. In 1980, he signed with British promoter Jeffrey Kruger to do concerts overseas with the promised highlight of a Royal Command Performance at London's Drury Lane in front of Princess Margaret. Gaye failed to make the stage on time; by the time he showed up, everyone had left. While in London, he worked on In Our Lifetime? When Motown issued the album in 1981, Gaye was livid: he accused Motown of editing and remixing the album without his consent, releasing an unfinished song ("Far Cry"), altering the album art he requested and removing the question mark from the title (thus muting its intended irony). A special edition of the album was released in early 2008.

Comeback and sudden death

After being offered a chance to clear things up in Ostend, Belgium, he permanently moved there in early 1981. Still upset over Motown's decision to release In Our Lifetime, he negotiated a release from the label and signed with Columbia Records in 1982, releasing the Midnight Love album late that year. The album included " Sexual Healing" ( sample ), which was Gaye's last big hit. The single shot to #1 on Billboard's R & B chart and remained there for a record 10 weeks, making it the biggest R & B hit of the decade, and also crossed over to #3 on Billboard's Hot 100. The single went on to sell more than two million copies in the US alone earning a Platinum certification. The song gave Gaye his first two Grammy Awards (Best R&B Male Vocal Performance, Best R&B Instrumental) in February 1983. It was also nominated for Best R & B Song but lost to George Benson. The following year, he was nominated for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance again, this time for the Midnight Love album itself. In February 1983, Gaye performed " The Star-Spangled Banner" at the NBA All-Star Game, held at The Forum in Inglewood, California, accompanied by a drum machine. In March 1983, he gave his final performance in front of his old mentor and label for Motown 25, performing "What's Going On". He then embarked on a U.S. tour to support his album. The tour, ending in August 1983, was plagued by health problems and Gaye's bouts with depression, and fear over an alleged attempt on his life.

When the tour ended, he isolated himself by moving into his parents' house. He threatened to commit suicide several times after numerous bitter arguments with his father. On April 1, 1984, one day before his 45th birthday, Gaye's father shot and killed him after an argument that had started after his parents argued over misplaced business documents. Ironically, Gaye was killed by a gun he had offered to his father. Marvin Sr. was sentenced to six years of probation after pleading guilty to manslaughter. Charges of first-degree murder were dropped after doctors discovered Marvin Sr. had a brain tumor. Spending his final years in a retirement home, he died of pneumonia in 1998.

After some posthumous releases cemented his memory in the popular consciousness, Gaye was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He later was inducted to Hollywood's Rock Walk in 1989 and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990.

Personal life

Gaye married twice. His first marriage was to Berry Gordy Jr.'s sister, Anna Gordy (she was 17 years his senior), who inspired some of Gaye's earlier hits including " Stubborn Kind of Fellow" and " You Are a Wonderful One". Gaye and Anna Gordy adopted a son, Marvin Pentz Gaye III (born in November 1965). Troubled from the start, the marriage imploded after Gaye began courting Janis Hunter, the 17-year-old daughter of hipster jazz icon Slim Gaillard, in 1973 following the release of Let's Get It On. Hunter was also an inspiration to Gaye's music, particularly his entire post-What's Going On/Trouble Man period which included Let's Get It On and I Want You. Their relationship produced two children, Nona Marvisa Gaye (b. September 4, 1974) and Frankie Christian Gaye (b. November 16, 1975). Gaye and Hunter married after his divorce from Gordy was finalized. Shortly after their October 1977 wedding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, however, they separated due to growing tensions between them, finally divorcing in February 1981.

In 1982 Gaye became involved with Lady Edith Foxwell, former wife of the British movie director Ivan Foxwell, and spent much time with her at Sherston, her Wiltshire estate. At the time Foxwell, born into the Irish aristocracy, ran the then highly fashionable Embassy Club and was referred to in the media as "the queen of London cafe society." The story of their affair was told by writer Stan Hey in the April 2004 issue of GQ. The report quoted writer/composer Bernard J. Taylor as saying he was told by Foxwell that she and Gaye had discussed marriage before his death.

After Gaye's death, two of his children followed in his footsteps and joined the entertainment field: his oldest son, Marvin Pentz Gaye III, became a record producer and has control of his estate, while Gaye's only daughter, Nona, became a model, actress and singer.

Legacy, tributes and award recognitions

Even before Gaye died, tributes had been made to him. In 1983 the British group Spandau Ballet recorded the single " True" as a partial tribute to both Gaye and the Motown sound he helped establish. The day after Gaye died, Duran Duran dedicated their live performance of Save a Prayer on Arena to the soulster. A year after his death, The Commodores made reference to Gaye's death in their 1985 song " Nightshift", as did the Violent Femmes in their 1988 song "See My Ships". Motown alum Diana Ross also paid tribute with her Top 10 pop single " Missing You" (1985), as did Teena Marie, also a former Motown artist, with her album track "My Dear Mr. Gaye". The soul band Maze featuring Frankie Beverly recorded the tribute song, "Silky Soul" (1989), in honour of their late mentor. He was also mentioned in the next-to-last choral verse of George Michael's record, " John and Elvis Are Dead", featured on his album, Patience.

In 1992, the Israeli artist Izhar Ashdot dedicated his song "Eesh Hashokolad" to Gaye. In 1995, artists including Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Speech of the group Arrested Development and Gaye's own daughter Nona, paid tribute to Gaye with the MTV-assisted tribute album, Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye, which also included a documentary of the same name that aired on MTV. In 1999, R&B artists such as D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Brian McKnight and Will Downing paid their respects to Gaye in a tribute album, Marvin Is 60. In October 2001, an all-star cover of "What's Going On", produced by Jermaine Dupri, was issued as a benefit single, credited to "Artists Against AIDS Worldwide". The single, which was a reaction to the tragedy of the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as to the AIDS crisis, featured contributions from a plethora of stars, including Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Mariah Carey, Destiny's Child, Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys, Aaron Lewis of the rock group StainD, Nas, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, P. Diddy, ?uestlove of The Roots, Britney Spears, and Gwen Stefani. The "What's Going On" cover also featured Nona Gaye, who sang one of the song's lines, "Father, father/we don't need to escalate".

In 1987, Gaye was inducted posthumously to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with his first wife Anna Gordy and son Marvin III accepting for him. He was later given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990. In 1996, he was posthumously awarded with the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement Award and was honored in song by admirers Annie Lennox and Seal. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him #18 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Throughout his long career, Gaye scored a total of 41 Top 40 hit singles on Billboard's Pop Singles chart between 1963 and 2001, sixty Top 40 R&B singles chart hits from 1962 to 2001, 18 Top Ten pop singles on the pop chart, 38 Top 10 singles on the R&B chart, three number-one pop hits and thirteen number-one R&B hits and tied with Michael Jackson in total as well as the fourth biggest artist of all-time to spend the most weeks at the number-one spot on the R&B singles chart (52 weeks). In all, Gaye produced a total of 67 singles on the Billboard charts in total, spanning five decades, including five posthumous releases.

The year a remix of "Let's Get It On" was released to urban adult contemporary radio, "Let's Get It On" was certified gold by the RIAA for sales in excess of 500,000 units, making it the best-selling single of all time on Motown in the United States. Gaye's " I Heard It Through the Grapevine" holds the title of the best-selling international Motown single of all time, with high sales explained by a re-release in Europe following a Levi's 501 Jeans commercial in 1986.

In 2005, the rock group A Perfect Circle released "What's Going On" as part of an anti-war CD titled eMOTIVe. The next year, it was announced that The Strokes were going to cover Marvin's " Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" on their next album. In October 2005, a discussion was delivered at Washington, D.C.'s City Council to change the name of a park located at Gaye's childhood neighbourhood from Watts Branch Park to Marvin Gaye Park, and was soon offered so for $5 million to make the name change a reality. The park was renamed on April 2, 2006 on what would've been Gaye's 67th birthday.

A documentary about Gaye's life and death - What's Going On: The Marvin Gaye Story - was a UK/ PBS USA co-production, directed by Jeremy Marre. Gaye is referenced as one of the supernatural acts to appear in the short story and later television version of Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes in " You Know They Got a Hell of a Band".

A Marvin Gaye biopic, titled Marvin - The Marvin Gaye Story, is being set for production in 2008 by Producer Duncan McGillivray (Chairman of Film by Humans Production Co., LLC) with F. Gary Gray, the director of The Italian Job as the director and singer Roberta Flack supervising on the music. It will be a full-scale, $40 million dollar biopic of the entire life story of Gaye with all the key Motown and family members in Gaye's life. Another biopic, which was currently in the works, titled Sexual Healing, is set to start filming in April 2008 with Jesse L. Martin playing Gaye, with James Gandolfini playing Gaye's mentor, Freddy Couseart. Gandolfini recently announced that he would be producing the film through his Attaboy Films company.

A play co-composed by Gaye's sister Zeola about the singer is currently playing. On June 19, 2007, Hip-O Records reissued Gaye's final Motown album, In Our Lifetime as an expanded two-disc edition titled In Our Lifetime?: The Love Man Sessions, bringing back the original title with the question mark intact and included a different mix of the album, which was recorded in London and also including the original songs from the Love Man album, which were in fact songs that were later edited lyrically for the songs that made the In Our Lifetime album. The same label released a deluxe edition of Gaye's Here, My Dear album, which included a re-sequencing of tracks from the album from producers such as Salaam Remi and Bootsy Collins.


Top Ten Albums

  • 1971: What's Going On (#6 U.S.)
  • 1973: Let's Get It On (#2 U.S.)
  • 1973: Diana & Marvin (#5 UK)
  • 1974: Marvin Gaye Live! (#8 U.S.)
  • 1976: I Want You (#4 U.S.)
  • 1977: Live at the London Palladium (#3 U.S.)
  • 1982: Midnight Love (#7 U.S.; #10 UK)
  • 1994: The Very Best of Marvin Gaye (#3 UK)
  • 2000: Marvin Gaye Love Songs (#8 UK)

U.S. and UK Top Ten Singles

  • 1963: " Pride and Joy" (US #10)
  • 1964: " How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" (US #6)
  • 1965: " I'll Be Doggone" (US #8)
  • 1965: " Ain't That Peculiar" (US #8)
  • 1967: " Your Precious Love" (US #5)
  • 1967: " If I Could Build My Whole World Around You" (US #10)
  • 1968: " Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (US #8)
  • 1968: " You're All I Need to Get By" (US #7)
  • 1968: " I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (US #1; UK #1)
  • 1969: " Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" (US #4; UK #5)
  • 1969: " The Onion Song" (UK #9)
  • 1969: " That's The Way Love Is" (US #7)
  • 1970: " Abraham, Martin & John" (UK #9)
  • 1971: " What's Going On" (US #2)
  • 1971: " Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" (US #4)
  • 1971: " Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" (US #9)
  • 1972: " Trouble Man" (US #7)
  • 1973: " Let's Get It On" (US #1)
  • 1974: " You Are Everything" (UK #5)
  • 1977: " Got to Give It Up" (US #1; UK #7)
  • 1982: " Sexual Healing" (US #3; UK #4)

Sound clips


  • 1965: The T.A.M.I. Show (documentary)
  • 1969: The Ballad of Andy Crocker (television movie)
  • 1971: Chrome & Hot Leather (television movie)
  • 1972: Trouble Man (cameo; soundtrack)
  • 1973: Save the Children (documentary)

Marvin Gaye in Popular Culture

  • Mention is made of Marvin and his daughter, Nona Gaye, in the novel "Just A Baby" by Dell Black on pages 122–123.
  • In "Keep Ya Head Up" by 2Pac, the lyrics in the second verse of the song are "I remember Marvin Gaye used to sing to me, he had me feelin' like black was the thing to be."
  • In Stephen King's novel The Waste Lands, Jake's father has a Marvin Gaye poster hanging in his study.
  • In the song "Hörst Du mich?" by German hip hop band Fettes Brot, the first verse is dedicated to Marvin Gaye.
  • Spandau Ballet's 1983 breakthrough single "True" (written by Martin Kemp) features the line "Listening to Marvin all night long / This is the sound of my soul".
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