Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984)
Gordy cautioned him, "Marvin, don't be ridiculous. That's taking things too far."
Gaye was inspired by the Black Panther Party and supported the efforts they put forth like giving free meals to poor families door to door. However, he did not support the violent tactics the Panthers used to fight oppression, as Gaye's messages in many of his political songs were nonviolent. The lyrics and music of What's Going On discuss and illustrate issues during the 1960s/1970s such as racism, police brutality, drug abuse, environmental issues, anti-war, and black power issues.
Gaye married Berry Gordy's sister, Anna Gordy, in June 1963. The couple separated in 1973, and Anna filed for divorce in November 1975. The couple officially divorced in 1977. Gaye later married Janis Hunter in October 1977. The couple separated in 1979 and officially divorced in February 1981.
Gaye was the father of three children, Marvin III (adopted with Anna; Marvin III was the son of Denise Gordy, Anna's niece who was 15 at the time), and Nona and Frankie, whom he had with his second wife, Janis. At the time of his death, he was survived by his three children, parents, and five siblings.
Gaye had a four-octave vocal range. From his earlier recordings as member of the Marquees and Harvey and the New Moonglows, and in his first several recordings with Motown, Gaye recorded mainly in the baritone and tenor ranges. He changed his tone to a rasp for his gospel-inspired early hits such as "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" and "Hitch Hike". As writer Eddie Holland explained, "He was the only singer I have ever heard known to take a song of that nature, that was so far removed from his natural voice where he liked singing, and do whatever it took to sell that song."
In songs such as "Pride and Joy", Gaye used three different vocal ranges—singing in his baritone range at the beginning, bringing a lighter tenor in the verses before reaching a gospel mode in the chorus. Holland further stated of Gaye's voice that it was "...one of the sweetest and prettiest voices you ever wanted to hear." And while he noted that ballads and jazz was "his basic soul", he stated Gaye "...had the ability to take a roughhouse, rock and roll, blues, R&B, any kind of song and make it his own", later saying that Gaye was the most versatile vocalist he had ever worked with.
Frank Blair, taking the master tape to Motown's Hollywood headquarters. Motown remixed the album and released it on January 15, 1981 When Gaye learned of its release, he accused Motown of editing and remixing the album without his consent, allowing the release of an unfinished production (Far Cry), altering the album art of his request and removing the album title's question mark, muting its irony. He also accused the label of rush-releasing the album, comparing his unfinished album to an unfinished Picasso painting. Gaye then vowed not to record any more music for Motown.
Gaye started singing in church when he was four years old; his father often accompanied him on piano. Gaye and his family were part of a Pentecostal church known as the House of God. The House of God took its teachings from Hebrew Pentecostalism, advocated strict conduct, and adhered to both the Old and New Testaments. Gaye developed a love of singing at an early age and was encouraged to pursue a professional music career after a performance at a school play at 11 singing Mario Lanza's "Be My Love"
Most buildings were small, in extensive disrepair, and lacked both electricity and running water. The alleys were full of one- and two-story shacks, and nearly every dwelling was overcrowded. Gaye and his friends nicknamed the area "Simple City", owing to its being "half-city, half country". Gaye was the second oldest of the couple's four children. He had two sisters, Jeanne and Zeola, and one brother, Frankie Gaye. He also had two half-brothers: Michael Cooper, his mother's son from a previous relationship, and Antwaun Carey Gay, born as a result of his father's extramarital affairs.
Gaye was born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. on April 2, 1939, at Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C., to church minister Marvin Gay Sr. and domestic worker Alberta Gay (née Cooper). His first home was in a public housing project, the Fairfax Apartments (now demolished) at 1617 1st Street SW in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. Although one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, with many elegant Federal-style homes, Southwest was primarily a vast slum.
On February 13, 1983, Gaye sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the NBA All-Star Game at The Forum in Inglewood, California—accompanied by Gordon Banks, who played the studio tape from the stands. The following month, Gaye performed at the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special. This and a May appearance on Soul Train (his third appearance on the show) became Gaye's final television performances. Gaye embarked on his final concert tour, titled the Sexual Healing Tour, on April 18, 1983, in San Diego. The tour ended on August 14, 1983 at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California but was plagued by cocaine-triggered paranoia and illness. Following the concert's end, he moved into his parents' house in Los Angeles. In early 1984, Midnight Love was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category, his 12th and final nomination.
Marvin Gaye has been called "the number-one purveyor of soul music". In his book Mercy Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye, Michael Eric Dyson described Gaye as someone "...who transcended the boundaries of rhythm and blues as no other performer had done before." Following his death, The New York Times described Gaye as someone who "blended the soul music of the urban scene with the beat of the old-time gospel singer and became an influential force in pop music". Further in the article, Gaye was also credited with combining "the soulful directness of gospel music, the sweetness of soft-soul and pop, and the vocal musicianship of a jazz singer." His recordings for Motown in the 1960s and 1970s shaped that label's signature sound. His work with Motown gave him the titles Prince of Soul and Prince of Motown. Critics stated that Gaye's music "...signified the development of black music from raw rhythm and blues, through sophisticated soul to the political awareness of the 1970s and increased concentration on personal and sexual politics thereafter." As a Motown artist, Gaye was among the first to break from the reins of its production system, paving the way for Stevie Wonder. Gaye's late 1970s and early 1980s recordings influenced contemporary forms of R&B predating the subgenres quiet storm and neo-soul.
Many artists including Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Jermaine Jackson, Frankie Beverly, D'Angelo, Maxwell, Tupac Shakur, Todd Rundgren, Erykah Badu, Common, Nas, Joe, Teena Marie, Chico DeBarge, El DeBarge, Raheem DeVaughn and many others admitted to being heavily influenced by Gaye's musicianship. For his Oscar-nominated role as James "Thunder" Ealy in the film, Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy appropriated Gaye's 1970s clothing style in the film.
According to David Ritz in a 1991 revision of his biography on Marvin, "since 1983, Marvin's name has been mentioned—in reverential tones—on no less than seven top-ten hit records." Gaye's name has been used as the title of several hits, including Big Sean's "Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay" and Charlie Puth's debut hit, "Marvin Gaye", a duet with Meghan Trainor.
Later on as his Motown career developed, Gaye would seek inspiration in fellow label mates such as David Ruffin of The Temptations and Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops as their grittier voices led to Gaye and his producer seeking a similar sound in recordings such as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "That's the Way Love Is". Later in his life, Gaye reflected on the influence of Ruffin and Stubbs stating, "I had heard something in their voices something my own voice lacked". He further explained, "the Tempts and Tops' music made me remember that when a lot of women listen to music, they want to feel the power of a real man
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted him in 1987, declaring that Gaye "...made a huge contribution to soul music in general and the Motown Sound in particular." The page stated that Gaye "...possessed a classic R&B voice that was edged with grit yet tempered with sweetness." The page further states that Gaye "...projected an air of soulful authority driven by fervid conviction and heartbroken vulnerability." A year after his death, then-mayor of D.C., Marion Barry declared April 2 as "Marvin Gaye Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund Day" in the city. Since then, a non-profit organization has helped to organize annual Marvin Gaye Day Celebrations in the city of Washington
What's Going On" and "Sexual Healing", among its list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Gaye No. 18 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", sixth on their list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and number 82 on their list of the "100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time". Q magazine ranked Gaye sixth on their list of the "100 Greatest Singers"
A year later, Gaye's mother founded the Marvin P. Gaye Jr. Memorial Foundation in dedication to her son to help those suffering from drug abuse and alcoholism; however she died a day before the memorial was set to open in 1987. Gaye's sister Jeanne once served as the foundation's chairperson. In 1988, a year after his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, Gaye was inducted posthumously to the NAACP Hall of Fame. In 1990, Gaye received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1996, Gaye posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed three Gaye recordings, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "
After Gaye's funeral, his body was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park at the Hollywood Hills; his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean. Gay Sr. was initially charged with first degree murder, but the charges were reduced to voluntary manslaughter following a diagnosis of a brain tumor. He was given a suspended six-year sentence and probation. He died at a nursing home in 1998.
Gaye intervened in a fight between his parents on the afternoon of April 1, 1984, in the family house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, and he became involved in a physical altercation with his father, Marvin Gay Sr. who shot Gaye twice, once in the chest, piercing his heart, and then into Gaye's shoulder. The shooting took place in Gaye's bedroom at 12:38 p.m. The first shot proved fatal. Gaye was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m. after his body arrived at California Hospital Medical Center, one day short of his 45th birthday.
Sexual Healing won Gaye his first two Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, in February 1983, and also won Gaye an American Music Award in the R&B-soul category. People magazine called it "America's hottest musical turn-on since Olivia Newton-John demanded we get Physical." Midnight Love was released to stores less than a month after the single's release, and was equally successful, peaking at the top ten of the Billboard 200 and becoming Gaye's eighth No. 1 album on the Top Black Albums chart, eventually selling over six million copies worldwide, three million alone in the U.S.
On February 14, 1981, under the advice of music promoter Freddy Cousaert, Gaye relocated to Cousaert's apartment in Ostend, Belgium. While there, Gaye shied away from heavy drug use and began exercising and attending a local Ostend church, regaining personal confidence. Following several months of recovery, Gaye sought a comeback onstage, starting the short-lived Heavy Love Affair tour in England and Ostend in June–July 1981. Gaye's personal attorney Curtis Shaw would later describe Gaye's Ostend period as "the best thing that ever happened to Marvin". When word got around that Gaye was planning a musical comeback and an exit from Motown, CBS Urban president Larkin Arnold eventually was able to convince Gaye to sign with CBS Records. On March 23, 1982, Motown and CBS negotiated Gaye's release from Motown. The details of the contract were not revealed due to a possible negative effect on the singer's settlement to creditors from the IRS.
That spring, Gaye embarked on his first European tour in a decade, starting off in Belgium. In early 1977, Gaye released the live album, Live at the London Palladium, which sold over two million copies thanks to the success of its studio song, "Got to Give It Up", which became a No. 1 hit. In December 1978, Gaye released Here, My Dear, inspired by the fallout from his first marriage to Anna Gordy. Recorded with the intention of remitting a portion of its royalties to her as alimony payments, it performed poorly on the charts. During that period, Gaye's cocaine addiction intensified while he was dealing with several financial issues with the IRS. These issues led him to move to Maui, where he struggled to record a disco-influenced album titled Love Man, with a probable release date for February 1980, though he would later shelve the project. That year, Gaye went on a European tour, his first in four years.
Gaye then reworked Love Man from its original disco concept to another socially-conscious album invoking religion and the possible end time from a chapter in the Book of Revelation. Titling the album In Our Lifetime?, Gaye worked on the album for much of 1980 in London studios such as Air and Odyssey Studios.
In the fall of that year, someone stole a master tape of a rough draft of the album from one of Gaye's traveling musicians,
As a child, Gaye's main influence was his minister father, something he later acknowledged to biographer David Ritz, and also in interviews, often mentioning that his father's sermons greatly impressed him. His first major musical influences were doo-wop groups such as The Moonglows and The Capris. Gaye's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame page lists the Capris' song, "God Only Knows" as "critical to his musical awakening." Of the Capris' song, Gaye said, "It fell from the heavens and hit me between the eyes. So much soul, so much hurt. I related to the story, to the way that no one except the Lord really can read the heart of lonely kids in love." Gaye's main musical influences were Rudy West of The Five Keys, Clyde McPhatter, Ray Charles and Little Willie John. Gaye considered Frank Sinatra a major influence in what he wanted to be. He also was influenced by the vocal styles of Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole
Once Gaye presented Gordy with the What's Going On album, Gordy feared Gaye was risking the ruination of his image as a sex symbol. Following the album's success, Gaye tried a follow-up album, You're the Man. The title track only produced modest success, however, and Gaye and Motown shelved the album. Later on, several of Gaye's unreleased songs of social commentary, including "The World Is Rated X", would be issued on posthumous compilation albums. What's Going On would later be described by an AllMusic writer as an album that "not only redefined soul music as a creative force but also expanded its impact as an agent for social change". You're the Man was finally released on March 29, 2019, through Motown, Universal Music Enterprises, and Universal Music Group.
The What's Going On album also provided another first in both Motown and R&B music: Gaye and his engineers had composed the album in a song cycle, segueing previous songs into other songs giving the album a more cohesive feel as opposed to R&B albums that traditionally included filler tracks to complete the album. This style of music would influence recordings by artists such as Stevie Wonder and Barry White making the concept album format a part of 1970s R&B music. Concept albums are usually based on either one theme or a series of themes in connection to the original thesis of the album's concept. Let's Get It On repeated the suite-form arrangement of What's Going On, as would Gaye's later albums such as I Want You, Here, My Dear and In Our Lifetime.
Although Marvin Gaye was not politically active outside of his music, he became a public figure for social change and inspired/educated many people through his work.
Starting off his musicianship as a drummer doing session work during his tenure with Harvey Fuqua, and his early Motown years, Gaye's musicianship evolved to include piano, keyboards, synthesizers, and organ. Gaye also utilized percussion instruments, such as bells, finger cymbals, box drums, glockenspiels, vibraphones, bongos, congas, and cabasas. This became evident when he was given creative control in his later years with Motown, to produce his own albums. In addition to his talent as a drummer, Gaye also embraced the TR-808, a drum machine that became prominent in the early '80s, making use of its sounds for production of his Midnight Love album.
Gaye changed his vocal style in the late 1960s, when he was advised to use a sharper, raspy voice—especially in Norman Whitfield's recordings. Gaye initially disliked the new style, considering it out of his range, but said he was "into being produce-able." After listening to David Ruffin and Levi Stubbs, Gaye said he started to develop what he called his "tough man voice"—saying, "I developed a growl." In the liner notes of his DVD set, Marvin Gaye: The Real Thing in Performance 1964–1981, Rob Bowman said that by the early 1970s, Gaye had developed "three distinct voices: his smooth, sweet tenor; a growling rasp; and an unreal falsetto." Bowman further wrote that the recording of the What's Going On single was "...the first single to utilize all three as Marvin developed a radical approach to constructing his recordings by layering a series of contrapuntal background vocal lines on different tracks, each one conceived and sung in isolation by Marvin himself." Bowman found that Gaye's multi-tracking of his tenor voice and other vocal styles "summon[ed] up what might be termed the ancient art of weaving".
The album became Gaye's first million-selling album launching two more top ten singles, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues". One of Motown's first autonomous works, its theme and segue flow brought the concept album format to rhythm and blues and soul music. An AllMusic writer later cited it as "...the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices." For the album, Gaye received two Grammy Award nominations at the 1972 ceremony and several NAACP Image Awards. The album also topped Rolling Stone's year-end list as its album of the year. Billboard magazine named Gaye Trendsetter of the Year following the album's success.
Gaye in 1973
In 1971, Gaye signed a new deal with Motown worth $1 million (US$6,313,065 in 2019 dollars), making it the most lucrative deal by a black recording artist at the time. Gaye first responded to the new contract with the soundtrack and subsequent score, Trouble Man, released in late 1972. Before the release of Trouble Man, Marvin released a single called "You're the Man." The album of the same name was a follow up to What's Going On, but Motown refused to promote the single, according to Gaye. According to some biographies, Gordy, who was considered a moderate, feared Gaye's liberal political views would alienate Motown's conservative audiences. As a result, Gaye shelved the project and substituted it for Trouble Man. In 2019, Universal Music Group released the album on what would've been Gaye's 80th birthday.
After giving an ultimatum to record a full album to win, In between the releases of What's Going On and Trouble Man, Gaye and his family relocated to Los Angeles, making Marvin one of the final Motown artists to move there despite early protests to stay at the city. creative control from Motown, Gaye spent ten days recording the What's Going On album that March.
Prior to recording the What's Going On album, Gaye recorded a cover of the song, "Abraham, Martin & John", which became a UK hit in 1970. Despite some political music and socially conscious material recorded by The Temptations, Motown artists were often told to not delve into political and social commentary, fearing alienation from pop audiences. Early in his career, Gaye was affected by social events such as the 1965 Watts riots and once asked himself, "with the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?" When the singer called Gordy in the Bahamas about wanting to do protest music,
In August 1973, Gaye released the Let's Get It On album. Its title track became Gaye's second No. 1 single on the Hot 100. The album subsequently stayed on the charts for two years and sold over four million copies. The album was later hailed as "a record unparalleled in its sheer sensuality and carnal energy." Other singles from the album included "Come Get to This", which recalled Gaye's early Motown soul sound of the previous decade, while the suggestive "You Sure Love to Ball" reached modest success on the R&B charts, while also managing to make the pop top 50, its success halted by radio refusing to play the sexually explicit song.
Marvin's final duet project, Diana & Marvin, with Diana Ross, garnered international success despite contrasting artistic styles. Much of the material was crafted especially for the duo by Ashford and Simpson. Responding to demand from fans and Motown, Gaye started his first tour in four years at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum on January 4, 1974. The performance received critical acclaim and resulted in the release of the live album, Marvin Gaye Live! and its single, a live version of Distant Lover, an album track from Let's Get It On.
On June 1, 1970, Gaye returned to Hitsville U.S.A., where he recorded his new composition "What's Going On", inspired by an idea from Renaldo "Obie" Benson of the Four Tops after he witnessed an act of police brutality at an anti-war rally in Berkeley. Upon hearing the song, Berry Gordy refused its release due to his feelings of the song being "too political" for radio and feared the singer would lose his crossover audience. Gaye responded by going on strike from releasing anything until the label released the song. Released in 1971, it reached No. 1 on the R&B charts within a month, staying there for five weeks.
Tammi Terrell died from brain cancer on March 16, 1970; Gaye attended her funeral and after a period of depression, Gaye sought out a position on a professional football team, the Detroit Lions, where he later befriended Mel Farr and Lem Barney. Barney and Farr had gotten gold records for providing backup vocals for the title track of Gaye's What's Going On album. The Lions eventually declined an invitation for Gaye to try out; owing to legal liabilities and fears of possible injuries that could have affected his music career.
Moonglows co-founder Harvey Fuqua later hired The Marquees as employees. Under Fuqua's direction, the group changed its name to Harvey and the New Moonglows, and relocated to Chicago. The group recorded several sides for Chess in 1959, including the song "Mama Loocie", which was Gaye's first lead vocal recording. The group found work as session singers for established acts such as Chuck Berry, singing on the hits "Back in the U.S.A." and "Almost Grown".
In 1960, the group disbanded. Gaye relocated to Detroit with Fuqua where he signed with Tri-Phi Records as a session musician, playing drums on several Tri-Phi releases.
Gaye performed at Motown president Berry Gordy's house during the holiday season in December 1960. Impressed by the singer, Gordy sought Fuqua on his contract with Gaye. uqua agreed to sell part of his interest in his contract with Gaye. Shortly afterwards, Gaye signed with Motown subsidiary Tamla.
When Gaye signed with Tamla, he pursued a career as a performer of jazz music and standards, having no desire to become an R&B performer. Before the release of his first single, Gaye changed the spelling of his surname by adding an e, in the same way as did Sam Cooke. Author David Ritz wrote that Gaye did this to silence rumors of his sexuality, and to put more distance between himself and his father.
His home life consisted of "brutal whippings" by his father, who struck him for any shortcoming. The young Gaye described living in his father's house as similar to "...living with a king, a very peculiar, changeable, cruel, and all powerful king." He felt that had his mother not consoled him and encouraged his singing, he would have killed himself. His sister later explained that Gaye was beaten often, from age seven well into his teenage years.
Gaye attended Syphax Elementary School and then Randall Junior High School. Gaye began to take singing much more seriously in junior high, and he joined and became a singing star with the Randall Junior High Glee Club.
In 1953 or 1954, the Gays moved into the East Capitol Dwellings public housing project in D.C.'s Capitol View neighborhood. Their townhouse apartment (Unit 12, 60th Street NE; now demolished) was Marvin's home until 1962.
In October 1967, Terrell collapsed in Gaye's arms during a performance in Farmville, Virginia. Terrell was subsequently rushed to Farmville's Southside Community Hospital, where doctors discovered she had a malignant tumor in her brain. The diagnosis ended Terrell's career as a live performer, though she continued to record music under careful supervision. Despite the presence of hit singles such as "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By", Terrell's illness caused problems with recording, and led to multiple operations to remove the tumor. Gaye was reportedly devastated by Terrell's sickness and became disillusioned with the record business.
On October 6, 1968,
Gaye briefly attended Spingarn High School before transferring to Cardozo High School. At Cardozo, Gaye joined several doo-wop vocal groups, including the Dippers and the D.C. Tones. Gaye's relationship with his father worsened during his teenage years, as his father would kick him out of the house often. In 1956, 17-year-old Gaye dropped out of high school and enlisted in the United States Air Force as a basic airman. Disappointed in having to perform menial tasks, he faked mental illness and was discharged shortly afterwards. Gaye's sergeant stated that he refused to follow orders. Gaye was issued a "General Discharge" from the service.
Following his return, Gaye and his good friend Reese Palmer formed the vocal quartet The Marquees. The group performed in the D.C. area and soon began working with Bo Diddley, who assigned the group to Columbia subsidiary OKeh Records after failing to get the group signed to his own label, Chess. The group's sole single, "Wyatt Earp" (co-written by Bo Diddley), failed to chart and the group was soon dropped from the label. Gaye began composing music during this period.
The tour helped to enhance Gaye's reputation as a live performer. For a time, he was earning $100,000 a night (US$518,421 in 2019 dollars) for performances. Gaye toured throughout 1974 and 1975. A renewed contract with Motown allowed Gaye to build his own custom-made recording studio.
In October 1975, Gaye gave a performance at a UNESCO benefit concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall to support UNESCO's African literacy drive, resulting in him being commended at the United Nations by then-Ambassador to Ghana Shirley Temple Black and Kurt Waldheim. Gaye's next studio album, I Want You, followed in March 1976 with the title track "I Want You" becoming a No. 1 R&B hit. The album would go on to sell over one million copies.
Gaye released his first single, "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide", in May 1961, with the album The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye, following a month later. Gaye's initial recordings failed commercially and he spent most of 1961 performing session work as a drummer for artists such as The Miracles, The Marvelettes and blues artist Jimmy Reed for $5 (US$43 in 2019 dollars) a week.
Gaye had two number-one R&B singles in 1965 with the Miracles–composed "I'll Be Doggone" and "Ain't That Peculiar". Both songs became million-sellers. After this, Gaye returned to jazz-derived ballads for a tribute album to the recently-deceased Nat "King" Cole. After scoring a hit duet, "It Takes Two" with Kim Weston, Gaye began working with Tammi Terrell on a series of duets, mostly composed by Ashford & Simpson, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Your Precious Love", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By".
Gaye's recording of I Heard It Through the Grapevine became Gaye's first to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached the top of the charts in other countries, selling over four million copies. However, Gaye felt the success was something he "didn't deserve" and that he "felt like a puppet – Berry's puppet, Anna's puppet...." Gaye followed it up with "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" and "That's the Way Love Is", which reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. That year, his album M.P.G. became his first No. 1 album on the R&B album charts. Gaye produced and co-wrote two hits for The Originals during this period, including "Baby I'm For Real" and "The Bells".
In 1964, Gaye recorded a successful duet album with singer Mary Wells titled Together, which reached No. 42 on the pop album chart. The album's two-sided single, including "Once Upon a Time" and 'What's the Matter With You Baby", each reached the top 20. Gaye's next solo hit, "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", which Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for him, reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 and reached the top 50 in the UK. Gaye started getting television exposure around this time, on shows such as American Bandstand. Also in 1964, he appeared in the concert film, The T.A.M.I. Show.