The Tamla Motown legend was born Marvin Pentz Gay Jnr in 1939 and was singing in a group by the 1950s. In the 1960s he was the Prince of Motown with classic hits like I Heard It Through The Grapevine and The Onion Song.
Marvin was married to one of the Gordy daughters, but it is said he may have had a relationship with Tammi Terrell who dies at the top of her career from brain cancer in 1970. Later that year he recorded the ionic single What’s Going On all about the Vietnam war and partly written from conversations Marvin had with his brother who served in Vietnam. The album of the same name also produced other hits like Mercy Mercy Me and Inner Blues given Marvin the honour of having three singles that charted in the top ten from an album, the first time any man had achieved this.
Marvin issued Let’s Get It On in 1973 from the album of the same name, and the title was as sexy as his singing. This was followed by his return to duet performances after the death of Tammi, this time he teamed up with Diana Ross with such hits as Stop Look Listen To Your Heart, My Mistake Was To Love You and the beautiful You Are Everything. The queen and king of Motown could do nothing wrong.
For some reason the UK charts did not follow the success of Marvin Gaye as the U.S. did, although his albums were very successful and all his songs have great radio play. The You Are Everything which was a cover of the Stylistics managed No. 5 in the UK and would be Marvin’s highest chart success in the 1970s in the UK charts. 1977 gave him a No. 7 hit with Got To Give It Up which was about Marvin being pushed hard to make commercial songs for Motown, but the song spurred Live At The Palladium up the charts.
It was 1982 when Sexual Healing arrived in the UK and that got to No.4. The BBC called it the healing song in the chart rundown.