Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer who is popular for hit songs like Ain’t That Peculiar, How Sweet It Is, and I Heard It Through the Grapevine.
The Washington-based singer began singing at the age of four from a local church. He released his first single titled Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide in May 1961 with his debut studio album The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye being released a month later.
Some of his other hit albums are Hello Broadway, Moods of Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man, In Our Lifetime, and Midnight Love.
Born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. on 2nd April 1939 in Washington, D.C., the United States of America to Marvin Gay Sr. and Alberta Cooper. Gaye held American nationality and had Afro-American descent.
He was brought up by his parents alongside his siblings: Jeanne, Zeola, and Frankie. He enrolled at Syphax Elementary School, Randall Junior High School, and Spingarn High School before being transferred to Cardozo High School.
Additional Fact: Marvin dropped out of high school and enlisted in the United States Air Force as a basic airman.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Marvin’s net worth was estimated to be at around -$9 million at the time of his death in 1984. As per various sources, Gaye was in debt to the tune of $9 million when he died.
Similarly, as per various reports, he sold the majority of his music royalty rights to Motown Records and left no will. Most of his debt was owed to the IRS for unpaid taxes.
The late singer-songwriter owned a 3,156 square feet house in Hollywood Hills West estate. Gaye purchased the 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom house with his then-wife Anna in the mid-70s. Following his demise, Anna kept the house until 2008 and sold it for $1.91 million.
Here is a list of his earnings from his album sales:
|1968||In The Groove||$100,000|
|1971||What’s Going On||$800,000|
|1973||Let’s Get It On||$60,000|
|1973||Diana & Marvin||$1 million|
|1974||Marvin Gaye Live||$1 million|
|1976||Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits||$1 million|
|1977||Live at the London Palladium||$2 million|
|1982||Midnight Love||$6 million|
|1983||Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye||$1 million|
|2000||Marvin Gaye: The Love Songs (following his death)||$60,000|
|2002||The Very Best of Marvin Gaye (following his death)||$300,000|
Following his return from United States Air Force, he and his good friend Reese Palmer formed the vocal quartet The Marquees. The group began performing in the D.C. area and was assigned to OKeh Records. They released their sole single titled Wyatt Earp; however, the song failed to chart, and the group was dropped from the label.
The group was hired by Moonglows co-founder Harvey Fuqua and changed their name to Harvey and the New Moonglows under Fuqua’s direction. They recorded several songs, including Mama Loocie, which was Marvin’s first lead vocal recording.
Sadly the group disbanded in 1960, and Gaye relocated to Detroit with Fuqua. He was signed with Tri-Phi Records as a session musician and played drums on several Tri-Phi releases. He also performed at Motown president Berry Gordy’s house and was signed with MoTown subsidiary Tamla.
In May 1961, Gaye released his first single “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide” with his debut album The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye released a month later. However, his initial release was a commercial failure.
His first hit solo Stubborn Kind of Fellow as released in September 1962. The song debuted at no.8 on the R&B chart and No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100. His dance song “Hitch Hike” peaked at no.30 on the Hot 100 and Pride and Joy became his first top ten single in 1963.
His second album, That Stubborn Kinda Fellow, was released in 1963 with hit singles like Soldier’s Plea, Stubborn Kind of Fellow, Hitch Hike, and Pride and Joy.c
Here is a list of Marvin’s hit albums and singles:
|1964||When I’m Alone I Cry||You’ve Changed, I Wonder, Because of You, I’ll Be Around|
|1965||How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You||You’re a Wonderful One, Try It Baby, Baby Don’t You Do It|
|1966||Moods of Marvin Gaye||One More Heartache, Ain’t That Peculiar, Take This Heart of Mine|
|1970||That’s the Way Love Is||How Can I Forget, Yesterday, Groovin, Cloud Nine|
|1973||Let’s Get It On||Let’s Get It On, Come Get to This, You Sure Love to Ball|
|1981||In Our Lifetime||Ego Tripping Out, Praise, Heavy Love Affair|
|1982||Midnight Love||Sexual Healing, Til Tomorrow, Joy, My Love Is Waiting|
In a similar way, some of his collaborative albums are Together with Mary Wells, Take Two with Kim Weston, United with Tammi Terrell, and Diana & Marvin with Diana Ross.
Apart from music, Gaye also appeared in films like T.A.M.I. Show, The Ballad of Andy Crocker, Chrome and Hot Leather, and Save the Children.
The Midnight Love singer was married twice in his life. He first tied the knot with Anna Gordy in June 1963. While still together, the couple adopted a son Marvin III who was the son of Anna’s niece.
However, Anna separated from Marvin shortly and filed for divorce in November 1975. Their divorce was officially finalized in 1977.
He then tied the knot to Janis Hunter in October 1977. The couple shared two children: daughter Nona and a son named Frankie. Gaye’s second marital life also came to an end when Janis filed for divorce in 1979. Their divorce was finalized in February 1981.
On 1st April 1984, the singer-songwriter got involved in a fight between his parents and was involved in a physical altercation with his father. Around 12:38 p.m., his father, Marvin Gay Sr. shot him in the heart and his left shoulder.
The first shot was proved fatal, and Marvin was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m. at California Hospital Medical Center. Following his funeral, his body was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park at the Hollywood Hills. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
His father was charged with first-degree murder; however, his charged were dropped to voluntary manslaughter following a diagnosis of a brain tumor. Gay Sr. was later sentenced to a suspended six-year sentence and probation. He died at a nursing home in 1998.