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      Marvin Gaye

      Marvin Gaye

      Highest Rated: 55% American Pimp (1999)

      Lowest Rated: 55% American Pimp (1999)

      Birthday: Apr 2, 1939

      Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA

      One of the most influential singer/songwriters in R&B, not to mention the whole of American music, Marvin Gaye made an astonishing artistic journey from the start of his recording career in the early '60s to its end in the early '80s. Born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 1939, he first sang as a child in church, where his father was a minister. Gaye grew up in the city's slums and had a troubled childhood due to Marvin Sr.'s abusiveness. In the late '50s Gaye became a member of The Marquees, later led by Moonglows singer Harvey Fuqua as Harvey and the New Moonglows. They cut a number of singles in addition to recording as backup singers for Chuck Berry and others. By 1960 Gaye had made his way to Detroit, working as a drummer before landing a deal with Tamla/Motown. He released his first solo single, "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide," in 1961, but his first few singles went nowhere and for a while he continued working as a session drummer as well. He started stirring things up with 1962's Top 10 R&B hit "Stubborn Kind of Fellow." By the next year he was really starting to hit his stride with the hits "Pride and Joy" and "Can I Get a Witness." Gaye's career really entered a new level in 1964-'65 when he started crossing over to the pop market in a big way with tunes like "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," "I'll Be Doggone," and "Ain't That Peculiar." He began a fruitful partnership with Tammi Terrell in 1967, and the duo unleashed such hits as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing." Like many of his peers, Gaye evolved into a new phase in the late '60s. He scored one of his biggest hits with 1968's moody, atmospheric "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," and by the start of the '70s his musical maturation was complete, as he delivered socially conscious, sonically sophisticated singles like "What's Going On" and "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology," having huge hits in the process. In the late '70s a combination of tax troubles, divorce, drug problems, and a career slowdown spelled a dark time for Gaye. In the early '80s he managed to rebound in a big way both personally and musically, and enjoying huge success with 1982's "Sexual Healing," on which Gaye reinvented his sound for a new era. But on April 1, 1984 Gaye's life was brought to a tragic end when he was shot dead by his father in a physical confrontation between the two.



      55% 72% American Pimp Original Music $274.2K 1999
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