Born April 2, 1939 in Washington, D.C, Marvin Gaye began his career as a session drummer before becoming one of the greatest male solo artists of all-time. He recorded thirteen number one singles, seven number one albums, and his 1971 Whats Going On is considered one of the greatest albums in history. Gaye was among the list of Motown Records superstars including Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and Lionel Richie.
Gaye was the consummate performer, composer and producer. and recorded duet albums with Ross, Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells, and Kim Weston. His numerous honors include the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.
He died April 1, 1984, one day before his 45th birthday, after being shot by his father.
On November 13, 2015, Marvin Gaye: Volume Two 1966-1970, was released. The seven album box set includes his three duet albums with Tammi Terrell: United (1967), Youre All I Need (1968), and Easy (1969).
On May 21, 1971, Marvin Gaye released his signature album, Whats Going On. It was a concept album about a Vietnam War veteran returning to America and experiencing injustice, suffering and hatred. It was the first album Gaye wrote and produced entirely by himself. It included three consecutive number one hits: Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), and the title song. In 2003, The Library of Congress selected Whats Going On for inclusion in the National Registry.
On October 30, 1968, Marvin Gaye released I Heard it Through The Grapevine. The song was a major hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1967, and Gayes version was even more successful, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B chart.
Gayes recording was actually recorded first, but then it was rejected by Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. So, the songs composer and producer, Norman Whitfield, recorded it with Knight and The Pips.