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Posts Tagged ‘Marvin Gaye’

Died On This Date (April 1, 1984) Marvin Gaye / Soul Music Icon

Posted by themusicsover on April 1, 2010

Marvin Gaye
April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984

marvin.jpg Beginning in the early 1960s, Marvin Gaye was one of Motown’s most celebrated songwriters and later one of their premier recording artists. In the early years, he was responsible for such classic Motown hits as “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be In Love By You).” He also had several duet hits with Tammi Terrell including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” But unlike the other artists on the label, he fought for and maintained his own vision and called the shots when creating his own albums. The results? What’s Going On?, Trouble Man, and Let’s Get It On. His astounding body of work continued through the mid ’80s with the release of Midnight Love and its hit single, “Sexual Healing” for which he won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1983.  After the untimely death of Tammi Terrell (1970) along with other personal troubles, not the least of which was his own crumbling marriage, Gaye took some time to reevaluate his position in life. After spending most of the year in seclusion, he resurfaced with What’s Going On?, one of pop music’s landmark albums and one that would change what we think of as “black” music forever. Allmusic.com calls it “A highly percussive album that incorporated jazz and classical elements to forge a remarkably sophisticated and fluid soul sound, [it] was a conceptual masterpiece that brought Gaye’s deeply held spiritual beliefs to the fore to explore issues ranging from poverty and discrimination to the environment, drug abuse, and political corruption; chief among the record’s concerns was the conflict in Vietnam.”  Gaye continued to write and record great music throughout the ‘7os and early ’80s, but instead of being afforded the chance to enjoy his success, he spent much of his later years battling legal issues from his divorce, substance abuse, and tax troubles that caused him to flee to Europe in 1981. Within the next couple of years, Gaye patched up his differences with Motown head Barry Gordy and decided to move back to the US and into his parents home to get his life and career back on track. In 1983, a little over a year before his death, the troubled singer made a rare public appearance by singing the National Anthem before the NBA All-Star game at the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles. It was the greatest (and in some circles the worst) rendition ever performed. At the time, the world was used to very straight ahead versions of the song, but Gaye took it into the stratosphere by injecting his own soul into it. Instead of capitalizing on that moment, Gaye’s downward spiral into depression only got worse as did his rocky relationship with his father. They fought on numerous occasions until the afternoon of April 1, 1984 when Marvin Sr. shot and killed Marvin Jr. after one of their many arguments. Gaye left behind a daughter; singer and actress, Nona Gaye.

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What's Going On (Remastered) - Marvin Gaye

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Died On This Date (March 24, 2009) Uriel Jones / Drummer in Motown’s Funk Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on March 24, 2010

Uriel Jones
June 13, 1934 – March 24, 2009

uriel-jonesUriel Jones was the phenomenal drummer for the Funk Brothers, Motown’s house band, throughout the ’60s and early ’70s.  There were of course, other drummers during this time period, but it was Jones’ funky beats that were heard on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross), “I Second That Emotion” (Smokey Robinson), and “For Once In My Life” (Stevie Wonder) among others.  Uriel Jones died on March 24, 2009 of complications from an earlier heart attack.  He was 74.

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Died On This Date (March 16, 1970) Tammi Terrell / R&B Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 16, 2010

Tammi Terrell
April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970

tammi-terrellThe incomparable Tammi Terrell was one of those special gifts that was taken from us far too soon. Although Terrell began performing at the age of 13, it wasn’t until she hit her early 20s when Motown’s Barry Gordy, Jr. discovered her and teamed her up with Marvin Gaye that her career began to soar. With a string of hits, the duo took their show on the road, but a series of severe headaches began to take their toll on both Terrell and their act. It all came crashing down in October of 1967 when Terrell collapsed in Gaye’s arms while on stage at Hampden-Sydney College on Vermont. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor which lead to her death on March 16, 1970 at just 24. Gaye was so distraught by her passing that he went into a self-imposed isolation for a couple of years. It was during this time that he wrote and recorded his classic, What’s Going On?. His maturation on that album was likely a byproduct of his great loss of Miss Terrell.

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The Complete Duets - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

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Died On This Date (September 18, 1992) Earl Van Dyke / Motown’s Funk Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on September 18, 2009

Earl Van Dyke
July 8, 1930 – September 18, 1992

earlEarl Van Dyke is best remembered as the second keyboardist for the Funk Brothers, the legendary house band on so many great Motown hits.  Van Dyke was in the band during the late ’60s and early ’70s, playing on such R&B staples as “Bernadette” (the Four Tops) and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye).  He also toured with many Motown acts as part of a small band that would open their shows and recorded a handful of instrumental soul albums on his own. Earl Van Dyke died of prostate cancer at the age of 62.

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