Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell made some beautiful music together. The duo began recording together in 1967 and scored hits with the songwriting team of Ashford & Simpson – think “Your Precious Love,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need to Get By,” the latter which was sampled by Mary J. and Method Man. Sadly, Terrell succumbed to a brain tumor in 1970, at the age of 24.
Along with its moving title track, “What’s Going On” included the socio-politically-themed hits "Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology) and “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler).” Released in 1971, the album was a career-defining success for Gaye and continues to be relevant today.
Gaye followed in the footsteps of Isaac Hayes (“Shaft”) and Curtis Mayfield (“Superfly”) when he crafted the soundtrack for the 1972 blaxsploitation film, “Trouble Man.” The title track would become one of his signatures and was later covered by Chico DeBarge.
Gaye tapped into his sensual side for 1973’s “Let’s Get It On.” The album was packed with hit-after-hit including “Distant Lover,” “Come Get to This” and of course, the timeless, title track, for the sensitive people who truly “believe in love.”
Gaye was joined by his Motown label mate for the duets album, “Diana & Marvin,” released in 1973. After the singer’s passing, Ross recorded the bittersweet ballad, “Missing You,” penned by Lionel Richie.
Gaye’s 1976 collection, “I Want You,” was laden with sweet, sexy ballads. The iconic album image, entitled “The Sugar Shack,” was created by late artist, Ernie Barnes, whose artwork was prominently featured on TV’s “Good Times.”
The hearts of his female fans were all aflutter whenever Marvin Gaye hit the stage. Here, the singer is photographed during a performance at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Gaye was in the midst of divorcing his first wife during the recording of this autobiographical, double album. Released in 1978, it was reported that sales from “Here, My Dear” were included in the estranged couple’s divorce settlement.
Marvin Gaye is photographed in 1983 with his son, Frankie, during a tour stop in London. Gaye was also the proud father of daughter, Nona, and his namesake, Marvin III. Take a close listen to “I Wanna Be Where You Are” and you’ll hear him call out to each of his children, ever so sweetly.
Released in 1982, “Midnight Love” was Gaye’s final studio album and his first Columbia Records release. Of the eight tracks, “Sexual Healing” proved to be the one. He starred in his first music video for the song and also, picked up his first Grammy.
After decades of making hits, Marvin Gaye was awarded his first Grammy in 1983 for his now-signature groove, “Sexual Healing.”
In the 26 years since he’s been gone, Marvin Gaye’s music has been covered and many have sang tributes in his honor. El DeBarge’s rendition of “After the Dance” and Keith Washington’s “You Sure Love to Ball” are standouts as is Teena Marie’s “My Dear Mr. Gaye.” We’re still loving you, Marvin.
Marvin Gaye performs at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on opening night, May 17, 1983. (AP PHoto)