In this article, we are going to look at Marvin Gaye’s mental health issues, drug addiction, child abuse, attempted suicide, and murder.
Gaye Killed by his father
If someone truly wanted to break it down, Marvin Gaye could be labeled the ideal artist. He was not only a talented pianist and drummer, but he also had an angelic voice that wooed the ladies and made the guys aspire to be like him. Plus, by turning out a slew of successes, from “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” to “What’s Going On” to “Sexual Healing.” Gaye was able to satisfy the executives at his longtime record label, Motown. He did, however, make a point of addressing some of the world’s problems in his writing, demonstrating that he wasn’t solely motivated by money or chart positions.
Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., shot and killed him on April 1, 1984, only one day before his 45th birthday, at the same mansion that Gaye had previously turned over to his parents in Los Angeles, California. Those old enough may recall where they were when they received the news that the famed musician had been shot, while those who were not born yet or were too young to remember will have learned about the occurrence from television and news articles.
But what did Marvin Gaye go through in his final year of life, before that fatal father-son quarrel and before Gay Sr. took away one of the world’s most beloved singers? Let’s just say the last 12 months were anything but uneventful.
Gaye’s Performance at Motown
On May 16, 1983, when Michael Jackson introduced the moonwalk to millions of people on the TV special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever,” it seemed like everyone was standing on their tippy-toes, then pressing down on their heels to slide backward, just like the gloved one did. Many people raved about Gaye’s emotional performance at the now-classic televised event, but there was another great artist who got a lot of people buzzing while they moonwalked.
Gaye, dressed in white blazer and tan slacks, began by giving a music history lesson, touching the piano keys while naming some of the great performers of the past. He then went into his beloved single, “What’s Going On,” and while it wasn’t his final performance before his terrible death, it might be regarded as a sort of farewell, as people seemed to be discussing it right up until his death. Some would argue that between Gaye’s verbal intro and singing “What’s Going On,” he not only demonstrated his mastery of the piano but also an insight into his emotional state, as his words seemed to have a sadness to them.
Gaye’s “Motown 25” performance, in any case, has gone down in television history and is strongly associated with his final years.
Years of chart-topping commercial success
It’s difficult for a well-known performer to have success and maintain their popularity across decades, yet Marvin Gaye did it. However, as technology progressed and new concepts were born by newer musicians, the sound of R&B altered — and people stopped buying their CDs like they used to. Between 1977’s “Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)” and 1983’s “Sexual Healing,” Gaye didn’t have a solo song on the Billboard charts.
Fortunately for the music legend, the later track would signal a return to his old stardom while also attracting a younger audience. Furthermore, “Sexual Healing” may be seen as a follow-up to Gaye’s 1973 hit “Let’s Get It On,” which also charted well and dealt with the same subject matter. Gaye co-wrote “Sexual Healing,” which appears on his 17th (and final) album, “Midnight Love,” with Odell Brown, and it was Gaye’s first hit for Columbia after leaving Motown after 20 years.
After years of personal hardships, including two divorces and a mountain of financial issues, Gaye received two Grammy Awards for the song in 1983.
Gaye’s Historic Performance at the NBA All-Star Game
People spoke about Marvin Gaye’s performance at the 33rd annual NBA All-Star Game on February 13, 1983, for the rest of the year, and it’s still talked about now. Gaye’s amazing performance took place at The Forum in Inglewood, California, and it was the ideal cap to an already successful year for him, as his song “Sexual Healing” was a hit and the album “Midnight Love,” which included the single, received a lot of attention.
Let’s set the scene (or rather, the court), for it was there that the R& B legend created history with his heartfelt rendition of the United States National Anthem. Gaye wore a blue suit with dark aviator sunglasses and delivered his usual smooth vocals over rolling percussion, seeming cool enough to supply air conditioning to the audience just by glancing at them.
Gaye’s Grammy Success
On February 23, 1983, Marvin Gaye won the Grammy Award for Best R& B male voice for “Sexual Healing” in Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium. He didn’t forget what it took for him to eventually win. In his acceptance speech, he noted, “I’ve waited a very long time, 20-something years, to earn an award such as this.”
For Gaye, the Grammys must have been a sign that things were finally going his way. According to Rolling Stone, he recently went through a terrible divorce with his ex-wife, Anna Gordy, which put him in a bad financial situation.
Gaye’s Struggle with Depression and Drug Addiction
According to The New York Times, Marvin Gaye admitted to being depressed on several occasions, and he also fought with paranoia. To cope, he turned to cocaine, and by the mid-1970s, the musician had fallen into a serious addiction. The “Mercy Mercy Me” singer lost his residence after experiencing severe financial losses, and he frequently discussed suicide.
Gaye Attempts Suicide
“A suicidal individual purposefully engages in life-threatening and illegal behavior with a lethal weapon… toward law enforcement officers or civilians to specifically provoke officers to shoot” and murder that person, according to PubMed.gov. There have never been any allegations that Marvin Gaye had a weapon on the day his father shot him, but his sister, Zeola Gaye, said that her famous brother “wanted to die” using the suicide by cop argument. She didn’t use this precise term, though, and instead attributed it to her father rather than a police officer.
“I don’t feel creative anymore,’ he replied. I just don’t want to be here,” said Gaye. Zeola remarks that his brother had yearned to die. “He wanted to pass away.” People were curious as to how he planned to die. Marvin allegedly attempted suicide twice before: once with a revolver in 1969, but Motown founder Berry Gordy intervened, and the second time by taking one ounce of cocaine in one hour.
- Broadly Speaking in Netflix’s ‘Zero,’ an Afro-Italian Cast makes History
- Yaqub Al-Mansur: The Greatest Moor in African History