This Day in Black History: April 2, 1939

Legendary singer Marvin Gaye is born.

Posted: 04/02/2012 07:00 AM EDT

Motown Records star Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Gay Jr.) was born in Washington, D.C. Known for the chart-topping hits “What’s Going On?," “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and the sexually suggestive “Let’s Get It On,” Gaye’s song writing focused on social ills, romance and excess (Gaye public struggled with a cocaine addiction). Despite a comeback tour and new album in the early 1980s, Gaye’s personal troubles continued to grow. He was tragically shot dead by his father following an argument on April 1, 1984, one day before his 45th birthday. Gaye was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

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(Photo: Detroit Free Press/MCT/Landov)