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Today marks what would have been Marvin Gaye’s 82nd birthday. Born on April 2, 1939 in Washington D.C., the legendary soul singer, songwriter and producer died tragically at the hands of his own father a day before his 45th birthday on April 1, 1984. Marvin possessed one of the most versatile and expressive voices in music, sometimes joyous and crooning, sometimes with a tinge of sadness, always instantly recognizable.
Marvin began his musical journey singing in church at an early age and later found moderate success with various vocal groups in the late 1950s in Chicago. A singing sextet he was in, Harvey and the New Moonglows, sang back up on the Chuck Berry songs “Back In The U.S.A.” and “Almost Grown.” But the group disbanded and Gaye relocated to Detroit where he impressed Motown founder Berry Gordy after performing at a holiday party Gordy hosted in 1960. Gordy later signed Gaye to the Motown subsidiary Tamla Records.