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YouTube Gold: Marvin Gaye Live

Listen to a genius at work

 Marvin Gaye, 1970
 Marvin Gaye, 1970
Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Marvin Gaye is an iconic figure in American pop music. Starting in 1962, Gaye released music that, even today, sounds fresh and great.

In the Marvel movie, The Winter Soldier, Captain America is told to listen to Gaye’s album “What’s Goin’ On” to catch up on what he had missed since his plane went down during World War II.

You could easily make the argument that that was a Top Ten album of all time and, given the sophistication, maturity, musical and vocal brilliance, you could argue it’s the best album of all time.

It was quite a change from his earlier music and he had to fight Motown to get it released.

With a four-octave range, Gaye could sing just about anything and he could inject emotion like few others.

Take this live performance of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” It’s mesmerizing and when he begs, you can’t help but hope he’ll be okay. An incredible performance.

Gaye died in just about the worst possible way.

On April 1st, 1984, his parents had a major fight and he intervened to protect his mother. His father then shot him and Gaye died from his wounds.

Later, the Rev. Marvin Gaye, Sr., was found to have a brain tumor and partly as a result murder charges were reduced to manslaughter in a plea deal.

His son was one day short of 45.