Death of Marvin’s close friend Tammi Terrell, coke addiction, fallout of his marriage, struggling with Motown Records, suicide attempt, rockets, moon shots, Vietnam, poverty, social chaos, riots, brutal police and political crisis is What was actually Going On while Marvin was producing this magnificent piece of art that has been hailed as soul music’s finest moment.
In 1969 or 1970, I began to re-evaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say…. I was very much affected by letters my brother was sending me from Vietnam, as well as the social situation here at home. I realized that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world.
— Marvin Gaye
I’m sure that most of you already heard the classic. Also, I’m sure that most of you didn’t taste the rawness of the Original Detroit Mix of the album, which was rejected and later on remixed in Los Angeles.
It’s quite different and it’s definitely my favorite. Somehow it suits better to all the bitterness that Marvin is singing about. It has more of an artistic approach then the other well known release, as well as less of a dynamic compression and reverberation which made the LA mix kinda soft and easy to swallow (which I don’t say is wrong, it’s just a different approach). Give it a try and be free to leave your impression in the comment section. Enjoy your day!
Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984), born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown Records in the 1960s with a string of hits, including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and duet recordings with Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul”. During the 1970s, he recorded the concept albums What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On and became one of the first artists in Motown to break away from the reins of its production company. Gaye’s later recordings influenced several R&B subgenres, such as quiet storm and neo-soul
For the following few days, Marvin’s parents had arguments mainly over a misplaced insurance policy document. The day before his death, the arguments spread to Marvin’s bedroom. Angered by his father confronting his mother, he commanded his father to leave Alberta alone; Marvin’s father complied without incident but continued yelling throughout the house.
At approximately 11:00 am on April 1, 1984, an impatient Marvin Sr. shouted for his wife about the document. Marvin, dressed in a maroon robe, shouted back downstairs, telling his father if he had something to say, he’d better do it in person. According to Alberta, when Marvin Sr. refused his son’s request, Marvin warned him to not come to his room.However, Marvin Sr. instead charged upstairs to the bedroom to verbally attack Alberta over the document, causing Marvin Jr. to jump out of his bed and once again ordered his father out of the room. When ordering didn’t work, Marvin Jr., enraged and despondent, reportedly shoved him out of the room in the hallway.
Alberta later told David Ritz: “Marvin hit him. I shouted for him to stop, but he paid no attention to me. He gave my husband some hard licks.” Jeanne Gaye later recalled that it was understood in the family that if one of the children ever dared to strike their father that he would “murder [him or her],”saying her father “made it very clear” and “said so publicly on more than one occasion.”Gaye reportedly followed his father to the bedroom and, according to his mother, kicked him brutally. Eventually, Alberta separated Marvin from his father and returned him to his bedroom.
Minutes afterwards, at around 11:38 a.m., Marvin, Sr. entered his bedroom returning with the .38 pistol his son had bought him and pointed the gun at Marvin and shot him squarely at his heart, as Alberta later explained to police:
I was standing about eight feet away from Marvin, when my husband came to the door of the bedroom with his pistol. My husband didn’t say anything, he just pointed the gun at Marvin. I screamed but it was very quick. He, my husband, shot – and Marvin screamed. I tried to run. Marvin slid down to the floor after the first shot.