Remembering A Motown Legend
If you're a fan of Marvin Gaye, the first two days of April are significant for two different reasons.
April 2 is Marvin's birthday. If he were still alive, he would have turned 71 this week. Unfortunately, April 1, 1984, was a tragic day, as Gaye's father shot and killed his son during a heated argument, cutting the singer's life short the day before his 45th birthday.
Gaye's father was an ordained minister of the House of God, a very strict Christian sect, and he frequently beat Marvin as a child. Marvin suffered from drug and depression issues throughout his life, as well as marital and tax troubles. His depression was so bad at one point toward the end of his life, he threatened suicide on a number of occasions. Marvin moved back in with his parents shortly before his death to deal with his cocaine addiction. However, his depression only became worse, which led to the bitter argument between him and his father.
I remember being on my way to one of my college classes and hearing on the radio that Marvin had died. Since it was April Fool's Day, the thought flitted through my mind that this was some cruel April Fool's prank by a radio station (yes, these things do happen in our business from time to time). But it didn't take long to find out the sad details of his death.
Like so many other entertainers, Marvin's life was marked with controversy and tragedy, but his influence on the music industry, particularly with Motown Records, cannot be disputed.
Happy Birthday, Marvin!