Born in Washington on April 2, 1939, African-American Marvin Gaye was one of the great singers and songwriters of the US soul and R&B scene of his time. He later changed his birth name “Gay” to “Gaye”. Gaye was the son of the evangelical preacher Marvin Gay sr. His violent father bullied Marvin and his siblings with brutal means.
In the mid-1950s Gaye began his career as a singer. His first big hit was “Pride And Joy” (1963). It was followed by “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”(1967)”, “You’re All I Need To Get By” (1968), among others. Perhaps his most famous song became “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (1966). He sang it as a duet with his close friend Tammi Terrel.
The early death from cancer of 24-year-old Tammi Terrel in 1970 hit Gaye hard and plunged him into depression from which he never really recovered.
In 1973, he released what was probably his best album, “Let’s Get It On*.” In 1981 Gaye, who was struggling with financial problems and a cocaine addiction, moved to Belgium. Here he wrote the huge hit “Sexual Healing”.
In 1985 he returned to Los Angeles, to the house he had given to his parents. At first, family life was quite harmonious, then Gaye clashed with his father more and more often. On April 1, 1984, an argument in which Gaye wanted to protect his mother from her husband turned into a brawl between father and son. Marvin Gay finally killed his son by shooting him in the heart. The murder weapon had been given to him by Marvin Gaye for Christmas.
The perpetrator, suffering from various diseases, received a suspended prison sentence for manslaughter.