Aprils Fool’s Day that was no joke

APRIL 1, 2021 was two days ago. There is a tradition that this is Fools Day – basically a day when you can say the most ridiculous lies and not get punished for that.
On April 1, 1984, during lunch time, Marvin Gaye was shot by his deranged father Marvin Gaye Sr. When news broke, many people thought it was an April Fool’s joke. It took a while for the reality to sink in. Marvin Gaye was slain a day before his birthday when he would have turned 44.
Marvin Gaye, at the time of passing, was undergoing a rebirth of his musical career with the release of his first post Motown album, Midnight Love, released in 1982 which contained the smash hit single Sexual Healing – Gaye’s biggest career hit, spending a record ten weeks at No 1 on the Hot Black Singles chart and becoming the biggest R&B hit of the 1980s according to Billboard stats. The success later translated to the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1983 where it peaked at No 3, while the record reached international success, reaching the top spot in New Zealand and Canada and reaching the top ten on the United Kingdom’s OCC singles chart, Australia and Belgium, later selling over two million copies in the US alone, becoming Gaye’s most successful single to date.
Midnight Love was Gaye’s last album as two years later his life was tragically cut short. To some in Zambia, Marvin Gaye maybe a name they have never heard of. It is actually not surprising because we have a culture of taking pride in being historically illiterate on many things and music history is no exception. Perhaps, Gaye’s biggest imprint in Zambia and much of Southern Africa was the 1973 single Let’s Get it On, released from the album of the same title. As an album, this was Marvin Gaye’s best-selling album. For some who are not familiar with Let’s Get it On, that is the song that Ed Sheeran ripped off to create his 2014 hit song Thinking Out Loud. Yes, the courts ruled that he “stole” Marvin Gaye’s song in 2016. Gaye’s estate sued Sheeran and won. This is an annoying detail to many so called “hit makers” In Zambia who devote 1000 percent of their energies just taking other people’s intellectual property and claiming it to be theirs.
Back to Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye was influential even before Let’s Get it on. Many report that he helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artiste with a string of hits, earning him the nicknames Prince of Motown and Prince of Soul. In his brilliant career, Marvin Gaye released 17 solo albums and six equally successful collaborative albums with female greats, Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Tammi Terrel and Diana Ross.
Despite being artistically gifted, Gaye was plagued with substance abuse issues for most of his adult life. Marvin was first introduced to cocaine in the early 1960s. At first, Marvin had issues snorting, so he would use it by either rubbing it on his gums or eating it, but by the late 1970s, he had developed a serious dependence and addiction to the drug and would later begin freebasing while in London. In an article published in 2014, The Independent wrote: “The way his life was going, it’s unlikely Marvin Gaye was going to be around for his 75th birthday this week. As things panned out, the slinky King of Soul didn’t even make it to his 45th – shot dead by his own father with just hours to go.
“Coked-up and paranoid for months, the singer had taken to wearing a bulletproof vest he only removed when he was about to step on stage, or when he got home to the house he’d signed over to his parents to keep it from his creditors.
“It was late morning when Gaye’s father entered his bedroom and, without saying a word, shot him in the heart. As the singer slumped to his knees, his father stepped forward and fired again at point blank rage with a pistol he’d been given by his son to guard him.
“It was a bizarre, sordid end to a life that was itself often bizarre and sordid. But Marvin Gaye had soared gloriously too, carrying the voice of black America to new heights.”
Marvin Gaye was also known to have a voracious sexual appetite. It is reported that he once said “a world of pure sex where people turned off their minds and fed their lusts, no questions asked. The concept sickened me, but I also found it exciting.”
If he had lived to this year, he would have turned 82.
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