The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

The terrifying April Fool's Day joke took place thirty-seven years ago in a Los Angeles house. Marvin Gaye (1939-1984) once again defended his mother from an unruly father, who pulled out a revolver and shot his son! The horrible end of one of the best soul singers. What connection did drugs, paranoia, and envy play in the death of Marvin Gaye?

Rise Of A Star

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

His exceptional career and life have always been a two-way struggle between religious faith and the reality of show business, between the sweetness of success and the pain of personal failure, between the ego and God.

He went through decades in which he left visible traces. In the 1960s, he gained commercial recognition as a religious artist and a glittering product of the respected Motown label. In the 70's already as a renowned superstar on his own two feet, disciplined under his own production and yet always prone to temptations of all kinds - and in the '80s, at one horrible moment when he was once again in the public eye, even though the body was taken to the grave.

The death of Marvin Gaye did not leave anyone indifferent.

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. was born on April 2, 1939, in Washington, DC (he added "e" to his last name to get as close as possible to his idol Sam Cooke) as the eldest son of the charismatic preacher and impulsive sermoner of Reverend Gay Senior. The drill of the church schools left the teenager Marvin mentally grumbled.

His mother was at home taking care of the family's finances. His father raised Marvin, his brother, and two sisters with an extremely strict hand and physically punished them for every little thing. Marvin became a rebel. He left school and joined the Air Force, but even there, he had difficulty submitting to the authorities, so he eventually turned to the music that accompanied him from an early age.

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

At first, as a member of the vocal five Moonglows, but he also found himself quite interested in jazz, soul, blues. In the late 1950s, he first met Bo Diddley and Harvey Fuqua, his later principal and guru. He was who, after the break-up of Moonglows, recommended Marvin to Detroit for the newly formed Motown Records label, which was put together by Berry Gordy. He then married his sister Ann, who was 17 years older.

The Best-selling Singer

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

Marvin Gaye got to the very top with hard work, from where it was impossible to climb higher. He received $ 1 million and absolute artistic freedom from Motown Records. As a result, he became the highest-paid black singer. However, great commercial success did not automatically mean happiness.

From the second half of the 1970s until the death of Marvin Gaye, he had to fight drug addiction, especially cocaine. He sought solace and calm from the growing paranoid behavior in the family. There, however, the tragic death of Marvin Gaye awaited.

Marvin Gaye soon became a representative of the romantic soul, and in his speech, the influences of Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra, or Perry Como clashed.

Shy but ambitious, Gaye could fulfill his dream:

"I wanted to sit in a high chair, light a cigar, pour a martini and sing Gershwin's or Porter's ballads."

However, there was also pressure to adopt the more modern styles that moved America at the time and adapted perfectly. In 1962 he shone with his first hit Stubborn Kind Of Fellow, and others followed - Pride And Joy, Can I Get A Witness, I'll Be Doggone, and Ain't That Peculiar. What's more, he also proved his composing and instrumental talents (drums, keyboards). He soon showed his production talent and didn't even avoid duets (he sang with Diana Ross, Mary Wells, or Tammi Terrel). He was such a complete and complex star at the same time.

In the 70's he was already a full-package artist who wrote his compositions, which he interprets and produces himself. He also hired a team that led his agenda. All the more, his voice sang about generational protests - against Vietnam, racism, ecological cynicism, the jungle of show business, or religious fanaticism, perhaps most urgently on the concept album What's Going On (1971).

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

And he liked to shock people and be in the spotlight. Only in this way could he record Let's Get It On (1973). This engaging album, a celebration of unbound eroticism, helped him gain crowds of young fans and strengthen the image of the unpredictable rebel. That's when he met another of the fateful women, this time a sixteen-year-old girl, Janis Hunter, whom he married after divorcing Ann.

The daughter Nona, now a recognized solo singer, was born from the new marriage. Soul and energetic groove funk were then the content of his albums at the end of the decade, which once again proved his vision during the boom of the disco and the birth of the dance scene.

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

At that time, however, his relationship with Janis faded away, and the singer collapsed several times mentally and physically. He wanted to part with the music and embark on a monastic career while boasting that he was a bigger sex symbol than Elvis. He then projected all these divisions and disorientation, along with strong drug addiction, into his latest album In Our Lifetime (1981) and a Grammy Award-winning hit single Sexual Healing a year later.

Bad Relationship With Father Led To Premature Death Of Marvin Gaye

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

Marvin Gaye and his father could not stand each other ever since Gaye's childhood. He physically punished his children and was a radically practicing Christian. Marvin was bullied, which added rumors about his homosexuality, foolishly based on his last name.

The coexistence of both men was not easy. Even in his conservative profession as a priest, the father was a transvestite, walking at home in women's clothes and pumps, and his son was ashamed of him. His son's commercial career made his father furious and later jealous of his success. When Marvin went on his first singing tour, for fear that they might interpret his real name as signing up for a specific sexual orientation (the "son of a transvestite"), he added "e" - Gaye - to the end of his name.

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

His father was jealous of singing success and Marvin's relationship with his mother, whom both men loved immensely. The mother always stood between them in that relationship. For the most part, it calmed relations, but in recent years everything has become much sharper.

Just before the death of Marvin Gaye, he failed to fight cocaine addiction. Intense paranoia developed in his mind. He thought someone wanted to kill him, so maybe that was why he was always wearing a bulletproof vest.

In 1983, he tried to live in a family residence, which Marvin had bought for his parents. He had constant conflicts with his father for six months, and his father confided to his sister that if Marvin ever touched him, he would kill him. Envy also plays a role in this story. His father could not accept his inferior position when Marvin completely overshadowed him due to his musical career.

The death of Marvin Gaye - a wrong choice of a gift?

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

Marvin Gaye gave his father an exceptional gift on Christmas Day 1983, the Smith & Wesson 0.38 pistol. He wanted his father to protect himself from supposed intruders eventually. In the end, everything turned out entirely differently.

The death of Marvin Gaye began with a verbal battle with his father.

On April 1, the famous soul singer got into an argument with his parents and even physically attacked his father. When the two men separated, the father went to his bedroom and returned with a fatal weapon, which he aimed directly at his son and killed him with a bullet to the heart.

That one shot was enough for the death of Marvin Gaye, but after he fell to the ground, his father approached him and shot him a second and third time from close range. Soon, Frankie's brother ran up, and the singer gave him the last words.

During that time, the father sat quietly until the police came for him 20 minutes later. That day, Alberta filed for divorce, and after the murderer was operated on for a brain tumor, the trial began. An agreement was reached, and Gay was sentenced to a suspended six-year prison sentence for the death of Marvin Gaye. When reporters asked him if he loved his son, he replied: Let's say I didn't hate him.

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

Some would say that the death of Marvin Gaye is just a bad April Fool joke. However, on that day, 1984, a real tragedy took place in the parents' house of the famous soul singer. The paradox of the whole situation is further illustrated by the fact that the death of Marvin Gaye happened a day before his birthday.

The death of Marvin Gaye was a nightmare in broad daylight. His brother, Frankie, later said, in his memoirs of Marvin Gaye: My brother, the death of Marvin Gaye seemed written in stone from the beginning.

The singer was buried on April 5 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, and with family and friends, ten thousand fans accompanied him to his final resting place. As he did not leave a will, everything he owned was inherited by his eldest son Marvin III.

The siblings later mentioned that what Marvin Gaye had wanted all his life had happened. The death of Marvin Gaye freed his mother from his despotic father and, at the same time, punished him by making him live like a murderer for the rest of his life.

Whether the death of Marvin Gaye was a penitent or a cold, conscious act, the beloved singer was gone forever. The father and son never managed to avoid a cycle of abuse that lasted a lifetime.

The Death Of Marvin Gaye: Tragedy Of The Soul Prince

After the death of Marvin Gaye, several notable compilations and tribute albums were released, including Inner City Blues: The Music Of Marvin Gaye (1995).

Bono, Stevie Wonder, Lisa Stansfield, Madonna, Massive Attack, and Boyz II Men pay homage to him here. Appearance also made his gifted daughter, Nona Gaye, who worked with Prince at the time.

After the death of Marvin Gaye, he was posthumously inaugurated as a member of the Rock n 'Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.