The singer who shaped the sound of Motown was Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. born on April 2, 1939. His hits How Sweet It Is, I Heard it Through the Grapevine and album What's Going On influenced R&B and gave Gaye the title of "Prince of Soul."
Gaye sang in church at the age of four and continued into high school singing with doo-wop vocal groups. He enlisted in the US Air Force to become a flyer. However after being disappointed with his menial jobs, he was discharged for refusing to follow orders.
Singing with The Marquees and working with Bo Diddley gave Gaye the impetus to compose his own music. Marvin and his group move to Chicago and Marvin sang his first vocal recording Mama Loocie. They were the opening act for Chuck Berry. After the group broke up he pursued a career as a jazz musician. His first solo Stubborn Kind of Fellow reached number 8 on the R&B music charts.
Gaye went on to record duets with Kim Weston on It Takes Two, and Ain't No Mountain High Enough with Tammi Terrell. Tammi and Gaye also sang together Your Precious Love, Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, and You're All I Need to Get By. When Tammi Terrell died of a brain tumor in 1970, Gaye went into musical seclusion for several months until returning to Hitsville USA where he recorded What's Going On inspired by police brutality at Berkeley.
During 1978 and 1979 Gaye developed a dependence on cocaine. He also was dealing with financial issues with the IRS. To help alleviate his tax issues, Gaye moved to Maui, went on a European tour and began reworking Love Man from its original disco concept to a religious venue. During 1983 Gaye performed at the NBA All-star Game, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, and Soul Train. His final tour, The Sexual Healing Tour, was successful until Gaye suffered from cocaine-triggered paranoia. In 1984 on April 1, his father shot him two times. He was pronounced dead on arrival. Marvin left three children.
Comments: Marvin Gaye