If I Should Die Tonight

If Elvis is the King of Rock N Roll, and Robert Johnson is the King of the Blues, then Marvin Gaye must be the King of Soul.

The title “If I should die Tonight” is from a track of Marvin Gaye’s 13th studio album “Let’s Get It On” which was released on August 28, 1973. I thought it would be an appropriate title because today marks the 37th anniversary of his death.

When I heard the news on the radio on April 1, 1984 that Marvin Gaye had died and had been killed by his father , I thought it was an April Fools’ day joke. However it quickly emerged that this was not the case.

Marvin Gaye was shot by his Father Marvin Gaye Sr, a Christian preacher. Marvin was shot three times following an altercation with his father after he had intervened in an argument between his parents. The wounds were fatal and he was pronounced dead on arrival at the California Hospital Medical Center.

Despite being successful Marvin struggled badly with the substance abuse and also episodes of depression which had plagued him for most of his life. After his last tour, he moved into his parents’ house. There he and his father regularly had fights and quarrels. Marvin had a bitter relationship with his father, which had been the case since childhood . On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye Sr. shot and killed his son after a physical altercation; the father claimed he acted in self-defense but would later be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

In the days prior to his killing , Marvin’s parents had arguments mainly over a misplaced insurance policy letter.[16] The day before his death, the arguments spread to Gaye’s bedroom. Angered by his father confronting his mother, Gaye commanded Marvin Sr. to leave her alone. Marvin Sr did leave without any further arguments or altercation.

However at 12.30 PM on April 1, the arguments between Marvin Sr and his wife had flared up again. Marvin Jr shouted downstairs, telling his father if he had something to say, he should do it in person.

Eight minutes later Marvin Sr went up with a .38 pistol, aimed it at his son and shot him 3 times. The 1st shot had already been fatal.

Marvin Gaye was killed a day before his 45th birthday, actually less then 12 hours before his birthday.

His death had all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy. VH1 listed Gaye’s death as the eighth most shocking moment in music history. Marvin Gaye was not just a great singer, he had a very distinctive voice which was immediately recognizable , only few singers possess that talent.

There have been many tribute songs about Marvin Gaye. I will only posting 2 of them.

Finishing up with the Great man himself

If I should die tonight
Though it seems far before my time
I won’t die blue
‘Cause I’ve known you

sources

https://www.biography.com/musician/marvin-gaye

https://www.smoothradio.com/artists/marvin-gaye/marvin-gaye-death-father-explained/

What’s going on-The night Soul Music died.

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When you think of the cool sounds of Motown one of the first names that comes up in your mind is Marvin Gaye. He made the Soul Music sexy again. Marvin first discovered his musical talent and passion by singing in his father’s church.

Unfortunately not every one liked what he was doing, his father Marvin Gay, Sr was one of those people.

On April 1, 1984, Marvin was fatally shot by his father in their Los Angeles home. On the day of the murder, Marvin and Marvin Sr were arguing about a misplaced insurance policy document,one day short of his 45th birthday.

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In the days prior to his death, Marvin’s parents had arguments mainly over a misplaced insurance policy letter.The day before his death, the arguments spread to Marvin’s bedroom. Angered by his father confronting his mother, Marvin commanded Marvin Sr. to leave her alone; Gay Sr. complied without incident and there was no violence that night, but Gay Sr. continued yelling throughout the house.

If the physical cause of Marvin Gaye’s death was straightforward—”Gunshot wound to chest perforating heart, lung and liver,” according to the Los Angeles County Coroner—the events that led to it were much more tangled.

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On the one hand, there was the longstanding conflict with his father dating back to childhood. Marvin Gay, Sr., (the “e” was added by his son for his stage name) was a preacher in the Hebrew Pentecostal Church and a proponent of a strict moral code he enforced brutally with his four children. He was also, by all accounts, a hard-drinking cross-dresser who personally embodied a rather complicated model of morality. By some reports, Marvin Sr. harbored significant envy over his son’s tremendous success, and Marvin Jr. clearly harbored unresolved feelings toward his abusive father.

At 12:38 p.m. on April 1, 1984, while Gaye was in his bedroom, his father Marvin Gay Sr. shot Gaye in the heart and then in his left shoulder, the latter shot taken at point-blank range. Minutes earlier, the two men had been involved in a physical altercation when Gaye intervened in a fight between his parents. The first shot proved to be fatal. Gaye was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m.  after his body arrived at California Hospital Medical Center.

After Gaye’s funeral, his body was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park at the Hollywood Hills; his ashes were later scattered into the Pacific Ocean. Initially charged with first-degree murder, Gay Sr.’s charges dropped to voluntary manslaughter following a diagnosis of a brain tumor.

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Marvin Gay Sr. was later sentenced to a suspended six-year sentence and probation. He died at a nursing home in 1998.

Amy murder case is sad but the fact this was between a Father and a son makes it even more of a tragedy.

Although Marvin Gaye died at a young age his musical legacy will last for generations to come.

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Sources

History.com

Crime Museum