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Marvin Gaye was a sound of a generation. His soulful voice could light up a room anytime he opened his mouth. Gaye helped shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s. The american singer was born in Washington, DC in 1939.

Gaye began to take singing much more seriously in junior high, and he joined and became a singing star with the Randall Junior High Glee Club.

In the 1950’s Gaye joined several doo-wop vocal groups, including the Dippers and the D.C. Tone, but he had a darker side many didn’t know about. His terrible relationship led him to enlist in the Air Force in 1956.

When he returned from the Air Force Gaye decided to pursue a Jazz career and had no interest in R&B.

Gaye released his first single, “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide”, in May 1961, with the album The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye, following a month later.

In 1962, Gaye found success as co-writer of the Marvelettes hit, “Beechwood 4-5789”. His first solo hit, “Stubborn Kind of Fellow”, reaching No. 8 on the R&B chart and No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100.

He would then have a string of successes leading to Motown being one of the most popular record companies in the world.

On June 1, 1970, Gaye  recorded his new composition “What’s Going On, which would be one of Motown’s greatest hits.

In 1971, Gaye signed a deal with Motown worth $1 million, the most lucrative deal by a black recording artist at the time. But his demons would eventually catch up with him once again.

April 1, 1984 Gaye’s father shot him in the chest point blank range, killing the world famous singer, One day short of his 45th birthday.

Black Music Month: Marvin Gaye  was originally published on