If you were a child who grew up in the 1970’s, it is likely that your mother was a huge Marvin Gaye fan. Marvin lived a tumultuous life. One of the defining things in Marvin’s life is that borne out of his pain came some of the most prolific, inspiring songs to ever grace the airwaves.
Unfortunately Marvin’s life ended in much of the tragic ways that our people die each day. Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was born April 2, 1939 and died April 1, 1984). After starting off as a session drummer at Motown records, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties.
Marvin had a series of hits, but none in my opinion nearly as timeless as these two songs.
As I get older I understand perfectly what he sings in “Mercy Mercy Me”.
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas/ Fish full of mercury
Oh, mercy mercy me/ Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No, no/ Radiation in the ground and in the sky/ Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
As documented in the PBS “American Masters” 2008 exposé, several witnesses claimed Marvin’s mental and physical condition spiraled out of control. Groupies and drug dealers hounded Marvin night and day. He threatened to commit suicide several times after bitter arguments with his father. On April 1, 1984, Gaye’s father fatally shot him after an argument that started after his parents squabbled over misplaced business documents. Gaye attempted to intervene, and was killed by his father using a gun that Marvin Jr. had given him four months before. Marvin Gaye would have turned 45 the next day. How prolific were the lyrics he wrote in 1970 to “What’s Going On”.
Mother, mother/ There’s too many of you crying/
Brother, brother, brother/ There’s far too many of you dying/
You know we’ve got to find a way/ To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya/
Talk to me, so you can see/Oh, what’s going on/ What’s going on
Rest In Peace Marvin. Some of us are still wondering what’s going on?