August 27th, 2008
Marvin Gaye
What's Going On

“Marvin Gaye”
by David Ritz

When Marvin Gaye died in 1984, he left behind one of the great legacies in American music. More than a superb vocalist and subtle composer, he was a visionary who expressed the tenor of his times. Both radical and romantic, a self-taught singer with a flair for autobiographical revelation, he thrived on confession and loved candor. Marvin had the unique talent of turning the listener into a confidante, of making you feel his immediate presence. His aura combined spiritual and sensual essences. In his music, the combination worked wonders; in his personal life, the two strains clashed. He succeeded in translating his contradictions into complex and beautiful music.

I adored Marvin Gaye. As we worked on his life story together, I saw him as a man of quick wit, rare wit and light-hearted humor. His boyish charm and infectious smile were irresistible. His paradoxes were fascinating. In the middle of conversations, he’d stop to meditate or pray, his words turning into songs. As a collaborator, he was fabulous — right there, in the moment, an ingenious improviser and natural storyteller.

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. was born April 2, 1939, in Washington, D.C. (He added the “e” after entering show business.) His father was a charismatic storefront preacher, his mother a domestic worker. Family life was marked by friction. Marvin grew up singing in his daddy’s Holy Roller church, the place he said, “where I learned the essential joy of music.” After working with Bo Diddley, Gaye left high school to join the Moonglows, an important doo-wop group of the fifties. It was Harvey Fuqua, the group’s leader, who took Gaye to Detroit in the early sixties. There Marvin met Berry Gordy, who just started Motown, and married Berry’s sister Anna, a woman 18 years Gaye’s senior.

Emerging from a generation rooted in conformity, Gaye was a non-conformist, an anti-authoritarian artist — shy, ambitious, mellow but fearful, brooding and serious. He began as a session drummer but soon was singing. He fashioned himself a Sinatra-styled balladeer determined to buck the Motown machine. Yet his early attempts at Nat Cole-flavored material failed. Gordy couldn’t crack the adult market and Marvin crossed over the same bridge as all the other Motown acts — red-hot rhythm and blues. Motown’s committee of crack producers helped create a slew of major hits for Gaye. The title of the first, “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” was blatantly self-descriptive.

Gaye’s sixties success centered on a series of brilliant singles supervised by various producers. Those songs established Marvin as a solo star. His work with Smokey Robinson (”Ain’t That Peculiar,” “I’ll Be Doggone”), Holland-Dozier-Holland (”How Sweet It Is,” “Can I Get A Witness”) and Mickey Stevenson (”Hitch Hike,” “Pride and Joy,” “Stubborn Kind of Fellow”) are among the crown jewels of early Motown. The productions explode with energy. Because of his flexibility and inherent musicality, Marvin was a producer’s dream. “You give Marvin material,” said Smokey, “and he’d improve, sculpt it, turn it into something bigger and better.”

His flexibility was also demonstrated as a duet partner. His most successful teaming was with Tammi Terrell, the standard against which all R&B duos are measured. As the country plunged into the Vietnam War, as race riots broke out across the land, the duets became escapes from reality. Marvin was a master of make-believe.

Meanwhile, his solo career found its greatest expression in the work of writer-producer Norman Whitfield. Both Gaye and Whitfield could be strong-willed and testy. But somehow the fiery blend of hostility and harmony came together in “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Marvin’s bone-chilling rendition carries all the pathos and pain of epic opera. “That’s the Way Love Is” and “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” are also splendid examples of the wonders of Whitfield-Gaye.

“His Eye Is On the Sparrow” is a rare and moving instance of Marvin singing a spiritual non-pop song in the sixties.

The sixties was a producer-driven decade. In the seventies, Gaye changed all that. Now he thought in terms of concept albums, none more breathtaking than What’s Going On, the suite that reinvented soul music. After nine years of watching other producers, Marvin was ready to produce himself. The opinions of Motown’s marketing men, convinced What’s Going On would fail, didn’t matter. “What mattered,” said Marvin, “was the message. For the first time, I felt like I had something to say.”

Released in 1971, the self-produced suite reflects a whirl of crosscurrents — silky rhythm-and-blues, string-laden pop, gospel sensibilities, free-form jazz. Tenorman Wild Bill Moore raged beneath the vocals with the fury of Pharaoh Sanders. Dave Van dePitte wrote and arranged the orchestrations; others helped Marvin write the songs; but in the end it is Gaye’s vision, Gaye’s passion, Gaye’s singular statement as an independent artist that creates this new aesthetic of American pop.

Marvin moved to Los Angeles in 1972 where he wrote his first score. Trouble Man was the film, its theme song an ironically autobiographical blues. (”I didn’t make it playing by the rules,” he sings. “Only three things that’s for sure — taxes, death, and trouble.”)

With few exceptions, the rest of the seventies was devoted to major suites. One exception is “You’re the Man,” a sparkling footnote to What’s Going On, written and produced by Marvin during President Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. Another rare Gaye recording is “Where Are We Going?,” from his only session with producers Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell. Heard [on The Very Best of Marvin Gaye (2001)] for the first time, Mavin’s version is the original to Donald Byrd’s, from the jazz trumpeter’s best-selling album Black Byrd. It has the sweet feeling of What’s Going On-light.

In 1973, Marvin finally answered What’s Going On with Let’s Get It On. Written in collaboration with Ed Townsend, the title song was an instant smash. The style is loose, funky and cavalier. Marvin basks in sensuous pleasures. He’s just met the young woman who would become his second wife, Janis Hunter, 18 years his junior. (Marvin and Anna wouldn’t divorce until 1977, by the time he and Janis had two children.) The suite is more than a celebration of sex. By the final chorus, Marvin seeks the spiritual, asking his lover is she understands what it means to be “sanctified.” “Distant Lover” stands as a towering ballad in the history of soul.

In the middle of the decade Marvin moved into his custom-built studio in the heart of Hollywood. In spite of the luxury of the new facility, though, Gaye suffered writer’s block. It took Leon Ware, a vastly underrated singer-songwriter, to break the block. The result was Ware’s scintillating production, I Want You. The title track is among Gaye’s most extravagant statements on physical longing, the album an euphoric and gorgeous piece of harmonic hedonism.

In 1977, Marvin needed a hit. The age of disco was in full flower. “Motown was screaming disco at me,” Gaye told me, “but I couldn’t be bothered.” Never one to chase fashions, Marvin was reluctant to concoct anything that remotely smacked of trendy dance music. Yet “Got To Give It Up” became a tremendous dance hit — #1 R&B, #1 Pop — and an eccentric success; it survives as a brief moment of levity during a period of Gaye’s personal despair.

Marvin and Anna finally divorced. Settlement negotiations were brutal. Here, My Dear, in 1979, documents that marriage and remains the most personal and intriguing of the great Gaye suites of the seventies. A meditation on emotional turmoil, “Anger” is a highlight from that monumental work.

“Ego Tripping Out” was the single selected from Love Man, a blatantly commercial album Marvin decided to shelve. The song can be seen as Gaye-styled rap, a testimony to the crippling properties of ego. It also denounces the drugs that are slowly killing him. “The toot and the smoke,” he sings on the concluding vamp, referring to cocaine and marijuana, “won’t fulfill the need.”

“Praise” is from Gaye’s final Motown album, In Our Lifetime, a series of wildly divergent musical essays, which, at their core, are unrelentingly dark. By then Marvin’s world was collapsing — his second marriage fell apart, his drug addiction flared out of control, the IRS seized his property. He moved from Los Angeles to Hawaii to London to Ostend, Belgium. With a contract from Columbia Records, he fashioned a dramatic comeback.

“Sexual Healing” remains an unanswered prayer. It is everything Marvin wanted, everything he needed, the reconciliation of his deeply divided soul. “Sexual Healing” meant serenity. When he recorded the song in Belgium in 1982, he was hopeful that such serenity was possible. It wasn’t meant to be.

In the end, despite a triumphant return to the U.S. on the heels of “Sexual Healing,” Marvin would not find happiness. His death at the hands of his father on April 1, 1984 tragically resolved a life-long struggle between the two men. Their relationship was marred by fear, jealousy, chemical abuse and fierce self-destructiveness. Their venomous antipathy was deeper than either man had understood.

A dozen years after his demise, Marvin’s contradictions remain. Discord and harmony echo through Marvin’s music like sweet incantations. When Gaye sings, the demons tyrannizing his soul are brought under control and made to conform to his elevated code of beauty. He achieves what Oscar Wilde called a “spiritualizing of the senses.” He endures; he remains an astounding artist, an inspiring poet, a man whose fabulous talents and all-too-human flaws worked together for the sake of song. The fact that Marvin lives on, now more than ever, is cause for celebration.


David Ritz co-wrote “Sexual Healing” and authored Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye as well as bios of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Smokey Robinson, Etta James and the Neville Brothers.

  • Nick

    Marvin Gaye was a musical genius whose presence is still sorely missed by those who loved his music, his message, and the man himself

  • Cynthia

    I live in New Jersey. Are you planning to air American Matser(Marvin Gaye) anytime in the near future?

    Thank you,
    Cynthia

  • todd scott

    I live in New Jersey. Are you planning to air American Matser(Marvin Gaye) anytime soon

  • Julie

    Is this documentary available for purchase on DVD?

  • Jeannine

    I would also like to know if and when “American Masters: Marvin Gaye: What’s Ging on” I missed it the first time around.

  • Rebecca

    When is the re-broadcast date for “Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On” I’m in LA, some of us missed it and want to see it!!!!!!

  • Donna Turner

    Enjoyed it so much, When will it be available for purchase on DVD?

  • Michael Hayes

    I loved every minute of Marvin Gaye: “What’s Going On”,when can I purchace it on DVD?and is there any programs like this about James Brown on PBS?if so I sure would like to know more about them,Thankyou.

  • Annie

    Marvin Gaye is still a living legend. He music and lyric is for today as well as yesturday. Thank you for your contribution to the world, to make us ponder situations going on now and maybe, just maybe help make it a better place to live in…one song at a time!

  • Rodney Robertson

    Marvin Gay was a blessing from god 25 to 30 years ahead of his time.
    I also would like to no when is the movie coming out on him I here Usher Raymond will be playing him….??

    Freeport, ILLinois

  • sheila darling

    I love marvin every since i was a little girl and now that he means so much to me i have to listen or watch his video every day before i go to sleep or when i wake up.

  • bish

    tis is not cool

  • Deanna

    Thanks for telling “Marvin’s” story, thanks for putting as many pieces of the puzzle of his life to tell it like it was for Marvin. His musical genius sparks the interest of this generation of musicians and young people to get involved in what is going on around them. Thanks again.

  • Sherry

    If only people would listen to his words and then live by them. What a beautiful world this would be!!

  • JD

    I’m writting a paper on Marvin Gaye’s hit Whats Going on and the strong references of our history. He really made a great impact as an artist to voice his concerns for our country- a country still with problems. Thanks Marvin for opening many eyes!!!!!!!!!

  • jacqui shoholm

    Please send re-broadcast dates for this show.

  • Franklyn Isaac

    Is the Documentary on Marvin Gaye available for purchase? Is so, Please provide purchase information.
    Also, when will it air on television again?

  • Cynthia Lee

    I was very fortunate to see Marvin Gaye in concert a few times before his death. I thank PBS’s American Masters for documenting him. His album “What’s Going On” is the absolute BEST!! It is timeless and important. There should also be a documentary on that album.

  • Julia

    Thanks PBS for documenting one of the greatest of all time! When will this be available for purchase on DVD??

  • jerry miller

    is the Documentary on Marin Gaye available for Purchase? is so please Provide Purchase information. Also When will it air on television again Please

  • Renee

    You never answered the question too the comment,When will it air again,or where can we purchase this video?? His music will always live on…

  • Renee

    Loved him when My mom listened,now my children listen to his music,it will never end Marvin Gaye will always live on…cant stop the music,he lives in all of us on…

  • Valerie Walker

    I was told the Marvin Gaye special was really good. Will it be aired again? If so, when? Also, is there a DVD of this program that can be purchased. Please respond. Thank you.

  • Cynthia Edwards

    When will the DVD be available?

    Thanks

  • janet

    Marvin Gaye was one of motown’s greatest superstars. It’s the 21st century and still no one can repeat him. Can i purchase a dvd of the american masters program of marvin gaye and also when will it air again?

  • wade

    When are you reairing the bio on Marvin Gaye… WHAT’S GOING ON?

  • James Thurman

    I would like information on purchasing the Marvin Gaye DVD

  • Rembrant

    I look up to Marvin Gaye still, Even though he’s no longer with us. Life isn’t fair to people, And i think thats the number one issue. Bad things are allowed to happen to us whether we deserve it or not, I really believe Marvin would still be alive if he had of never moved back to Los Angeles. And aint nothing changed LA life is still horrible, everything is a struggle. Marvin was smart to isolate himself before he died, Just think of how it would have affected his children to be around him during all the chaos.

  • Jean Atkinson

    Marvin Gay has WONDERFUL relatives in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. I enjoyed spending summers with them in the 70’s.

  • DEZ CLARK

    MARVIN GAYE IS AND FOREVER WILL BE IN MY HEART,SOUL AND MIND THE GREATEST SOUL ARTIST OF ALL TIMES (NO DISRESPECT TO THE OTHERS) I LOVED HIS MUSIC AND HIS LIFE STORY IS AMAZING AND MAY HE FOREVER R.I.P.

  • DES CLARK

    CAN I PURCHASED THIS ON DVD

  • robert d turner

    I’d like to know can this marvin gaye documentation of whats going on from american masters PBS be rebroadcated in this month of febuary 2009 and when can it be by date.

  • lori stothers

    WOW I miss him what a BRILLIANT man we can all relate to his pain why hasn’t anybody made a big movie about his life?

  • Tamie Perez

    I loved Marvin Gaye & I remembered when he sang the National Anthem at the Laker game. WOW!! What a moment. I will never forget it…..I am interest in purchasing this on DVD.

  • Sdiane

    I am a loyal member of PBS. (Please send the viewer’s guide I requested). I always watch American Masters- the diversity of icons profiled on the series is refreshing. I did not see the airing of Marvin Gaye’s “Whats Going On?” As a black woman growing up in the seventies, that song was the back drop of inner city life and reminds me of my favorite uncle who died due to the after effects of having served in Vietnam. My choice to attend college and to give something back was inspired by that song.
    The turbulent times we are NOW living in- with wars, political wrangling, racism, global economic and environmental issues devouring our planet- those lyrics, “What’s Going On?” ring prophetic. Please air this special again so that young people and everyone can get this important message.

  • Michael Rose

    At the end of the doc, MG is signing “I believe in another day” What’s the song title and is it available?

  • jermaine

    Marvin Gaye was a musical genius and one of the most versatile artists of all time. He let you know What’s Going On, tell you what He Heard from the Grapevine and make you Get It On all in one night. RIP Marvin we miss you.

  • JCampbell

    I’m a pastor today and I believe that is a direct result of the music of Marvin Gaye and his stand for freedom. Marvin was way ahead of his time.I love him for that.

  • Derrick Nicholson

    I really enjoyed the documentation on Marvin Gaye. He is one of the best soul and jazz performers of all time, a gift form god that is shared with the world.

  • Ayodele Wilson

    I saw Marvin Gaye’s Documentary for the first time early Sunday a.m. on February 22nd. It was so Great/Fanstatic/Fabulous. I just wish that it was longer. Thank you American Masters for recognizing a True American Master, Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. There has never been anyone who has displayed the Wealth of talent of Marvin.

  • Sheron Johnson

    I live in Houston, Texas, When will you air/run the Marvin Gaye Documentary here.
    Also, do you have anything to air/run regarding Luther Vandross?
    Thank You,
    Sheron Johnson

  • David Lubell

    This program literally moved me to tears. You MUST make it available for sale on DVD.

  • Anthony Rivers

    This was an incredible film about an incredible artist. I learned a great deal about the man and the artist despite having been a fan for many many years. Please make this DVD available for purchase soon! Or please let me know if it is available and/or future air times.

  • Sandra Allen

    I loved Marvin music. Is there any tpye of video or dvd with the story of his lifetime?

  • Ginger Williams

    I was wanting to know when the American Master episode on Marvin Gaye is coming back on. I live in GA and my station is PBS.

  • Tyrone Henderson

    I thank you for having done the master M.G. series it moved me.
    I met marvin on a few gigs at mr wonderful’s supper club in Newark N.J.1970 ish he and Tammi headlined a X-mas, NewYears eve performance,it was a real big thing to be on the same bill with the master himself,
    It was that time when I had the real face of the man in front of me and he was just the way he appeared on the screen real and sincere, i am 61 now and have yet to stop wanting to hear more of his music.

  • ben shipley

    please let me know when the marvin gaye a.m. show will play again or if or when a dvd is availabie.

  • D Lacey

    When when when, can I buy the dvd?

  • phyllis

    This documentary PBS ran. I was not aware of it. I am one of marvin’s greatest fans , i still miss him. I wonder do they plan on running it again. I saw marvin several times back in the day. He was fabulous entertainer,no other like him. I won’t ever forget you darling. rest in peace

  • Pauline

    I grew up in Detroit, and of course I listened to Marvin Gaye!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He had an angel’s voice, and it made me sick to my stomach when he died. I’m glad that you are honoring him. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Everlyne Ikutwa

    even though am kenyan Marvin Gaye died when i was a little kid but i really enjoy his music i wish his father never killed him he would have been a great musician or rather say a legendry in the music just like Michael Jackson was thank u for honoring this wonderful man may God rest his soul in eternal peace

  • Sandra Shaw

    I listened to Marvin in 1972 and I’m still listening in 2009 – I will never stop listening to this masterful genius. I play his CD’s riding around town all the time.

  • Von BARBER

    Marvin GAYE, The Greatest of the Greats! “Distant Lover”, and “What’s Going On”, are outstanding, and timeless, and will remain with us, forever. Marvin GAYE, is greatly loved, and greatly missed!!!

  • odell powell

    Mavin Gaye was a man very talented man ! growing up in the same enviromental that i was raised in the same city D.C. some i can relate to a lot of what Marvin went through!Gone but will never be forgoting,his music LIVES ON!!

  • Monica Skinner

    Coincidentally, I listened to both the Let’s Get It On and I Want You albums last night. I was pleasantly surprised to catch the tail end of the American Masters documentary as I was channel surfing this morning. Merry Christmas to me! LOL! I too am interested in purchasing the documentary on DVD so I can enjoy it in it’s entirety.

  • Teri Bascom

    Marvin Gaye was the first performer I saw in concert. He was fantastic and I still enjoy listening to his music. To this day, no one has ever sung the Star Spangled Banner like he did at the 1983 NBA All Star Game. The American Masters documentary was very well done.

  • kensworth perrigen

    I just saw the 2nd part of marvin’s story,(from “what’s going on”).When will it be aired again??Can I buy it on disc???PBS’s programming is wonderful.I’ll never stop watching.Thank You.

  • Robert Norwood

    Thank GOD for giving us Marvin,If only for the moment.

  • Robert Norwood

    God placed Marvin here for a reason. The world should feel blessed to be his stage

  • judi hastings

    Is there a PBS DVD for sale for the Marvin Gaye Whats Going On?

  • judi hastings

    How can I buy the PBS Marvin Gaye Whats Going On?

  • Robert Johnson

    When will the American Masters, Marvin Gaye documentary be available on DVD?

  • Taura Campbell

    When will the Marvin Gaye documentary be available on DVD?

  • Pat D.

    When will the Marvin Gaye documentary be availabe on DVD?

  • Angelo Williams

    I listen to Marvin Gaye’s music almost everyday especially while I am in deep thought. Is the documentary available of DVD?

  • MsBJC

    Marvin, I still miss you deeply.

  • Berney

    Wow! It really blew my mind to find out he was with Jan when she was 16yo and he was ? and writing a song about sexual healing. It wouldn’t make it today.

  • Karen Graves

    How lucky am I. I just saw the documentary at 4:oo am. This is not the first time though. Throughout the years my mother and i use to listen to Marvin Gaye’s songs hot off the press. We would sit at the kitchen table and listen over and over and over…. When we learned of his death over the radio, we both broke down and cried like babies. We live in Detroit MI, home OF HITSVILLE USA, so it was nothing to see all the famous singers from time to time. However, Marvin Gaye was special and he will always remain in my heart right next to my mother. r.i.p.

  • tina

    I really learned alot seeing this yesterday

  • D Allen

    Please make available Marvin Gaye’s documentary on DVD.

  • Daddy-Man

    Just saw the Marvin Gaye piece on PBS on 1/11/10! Down here in Dixie we loved it!!!! Daddy

  • Barbara John

    Would you please be so kind to repeat the
    Marvin Gaye American Masters which aired 1/11/2010.
    I am sorry to have missed it. Marvin is and will
    always be the best singer.

  • bruce

    I missed Marvin Gaye last year on American Masters. Will it be coming on again in the near furture? If so what date?

  • Coutoura Kitt

    Can I purchase the DVD? If so, when,and how much does it cost?

  • marshall

    wow! ive been a marvin fan for so long… and i was amazed to see marvins and mine life running the same course…i always felt a special connection to his music. now i know why. ive just been an artist of a different sort. self torture and never being good enough.

  • angie

    April 1, 1984 was a day I’ll never forget. I recorded live radio broadcasts of Marvin’s death and spent hundreds of dollars on photos taken of that dreadful and painful day on Gramercy Pl. Marvin is forever in my heart and I miss him dearly.Someday I will share these valuable memories with the world.

  • Edna Pike

    One of my favorit singers of all time. I saw every concert when he came to my area. I love him, miss him and thank you for the documentary. Where can I purchase it?

  • Denise Christopher

    When is the next time you will air Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On?

  • berwin and cynthia

    We also missed Marvin Gaye, so it would be wonderful if you ran Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke

  • Lucille Bing

    I said this also for Sam Cooke and you said I duplicated that.
    I do hope that was not your RESPONSE to my comment. I have been watching PBS and have donated and am a member. This is not the action of the Educational Broadcasting Corp. I expect.
    At least make DVD’s like you have with other artists

  • Dianne Richardson

    I first watched American Masters: Marvin Gaye when it aired on Christmas Day last year. I was absolutely riveted, and have viewed it several more times since. The American Masters programs about Ahmet Ertugun and Sam Cooke are also interesting and informative, and I highly recommend them to anyone who has not seen them. The program on Marvin Gaye, though, was especially fascinating. While I’ve always loved Marvin’s music, I never knew much about his life. Watching it unravel was just heartbreaking. This program eloquently showcased his beauty, his genius, and the tragedy of his life. His plaintive cover of the Beatles’ song “Yesterday” stays in your head.

  • Clarence Smith

    Please release Marvin Gaye’s American Masters episode on CD/DVD…

  • lolesha burton

    marvin gaye was a great hit man that left behind so much

  • Vicki Smith

    I missed the documentary on Marvin Gaye on American Master Series. When will you air it again and make it available for purchase on DVD ?

  • Raven Johnson

    I have had the opportunity of watching the Marvin Gaye episode a few years back and have not had the opportunity of watching it again. I would love to see it again. When will you air it again? Or could I purchase the DVD?

  • Don Roth

    Marvin Gaye was, bar none, the greatest male vocalist in the history of music. There are a few opera, rock (Freddie Mercury?), and soul singers with greater range (not many), but nobody had the range as well as tenor tone that he brought to the table. I preferred his R&B of the late 60s the most (Norman Whitfield – you are a genius), a lot of which, though not written by Marvin, started to reflect the dismay of his marriage and the death of Tammi Terrell. It would be great if PBS would allow us to view these shows on-line if we happened to miss them.

    Marvin remains my favorite musician of all-time.

  • Trenia Clark

    I was born and raised in Detroit. I was lucky enough to see Marvin play the drums for Mary Wells during a live session at Hitsville USA. Watching the documentary brought back a flood of memories, both happy and sad. It answered a lot of questions I have had since that tragic day of his death. Thanks for the memories.

  • Alvin

    I saw Marvin Gaye in September of 1974 at radio City Music Hall.To this day it was one of the best performance I have ever saw.The man was so talented.He let you understand his music with those beautiful lyric.We were able to experience his joy and pain through ever song.He was the heartbeat of that era.He died the same year my son was born.I felt like I lost a family member.We will always remember you Marvin

  • Jim Yu

    Search PBS, American Masters, and Amazon, where is this DVD? Would love to buy it and play it for my US History class for Black History Month.

  • SARAH

    “LIVE FOR LIFE” is Tatooed on my right upper arm along with a monarch butterfly. Simply, Marvin Gaye you saved me in at my darkest time of my life. Your music moved me every day. I will never forget where I was when I heard of your death. I was sick to here it was your father who murderd you. I always wanted to thank you Marvin for healing me when I felt there was no hope left. I owe alot to you Marvin Gaye for saving me in the year of 1980. I’m sorry it took this long to tell you. We will meet one day in the heavens because you are my angle.
    Sarah@———

  • amintern

    The Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On DVD should be available for purchase on amazon. Thank you for your interest. We hope you continue to visit the website for many more new exciting profiles and upcoming premiere information.

  • Jon

    A beautiful tribute. It’s always sad to have such a marvel of art departing, but hearing the troubles he was in, its understandable he was not going to last long. The unfortunate thing is his father would be the one to take the blame. Gifted people are always in conflict with theirselves, and the very person that tried hard to help them end up taking the blame, we have seen it repeat in recent years.

  • Anton

    I am truly a Marvin Gaye fan not because i come from Detroit and understand and lived the Motown culture, his music moved and inspired me so much.This why it hurts to see how reckless he lived but the talent and the gift from God can never be denied.

  • Pedro

    Great documentary! It had such a tragic ending for such a great writer, performer and musician. Marvin Gaye has such beautiful music for living in such turbulent times. I wish you would replay the special soon. Hopefully you’ll make the DVD available for purchase.

  • Ricardo

    I think that everything starts a his childhood. If his father wouldn’t told him those painful words, he would be alive today. How many of those artists came from disfunctional families? One great singer the world lost because we choose our friends, always the wrong one sadly. He was in need of his father’s love, but never get it.only troubles until the end.

  • colin kilpatrick

    Loved it!

  • Greg Tellis

    The PBS special is a brilliant in taste and honesty…Tammy Terrell absolutely kills it…what a shame that was…just a few things to add…the score for TROUBLE MAN is genius and could have been given more credit…some of the music from HERE MY DEAR is achingly beautiful, like the “Allelujah” chorus and what leads up to it…loved the comment that listening to that album is to get to know Marvin…and finally let’s not forget perhaps the greatest national anthem performance of all time, sung at the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles to the arrangement of SEXUAL HEALING…easily viewed by googling, it still brings tears.

    Greg Tellis
    Sausalito

  • Raven

    Could you please re-air the Marvin Gaye episode? I only caught it once a few years ago and his life and hardship touched me in a way that I could never describe. He has been one of my favorite artist of all time. Please play this American Masters soon..please and thank you.

  • Vickie

    Is the Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin On” going to be aired again? If so, please email me a reminder to let me know if it is. Thank you, Vickie

Salinger

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.