Marvin Gaye at the recording session for "Let's Get It On"
- Exhibition Label
- Marvin Gaye brought political consciousness and sexual healing to the Motown sound as a soul singer and songwriter. Raised by an abusive father, Gaye first found his voice in gospel and doo-wop groups. While working as a session drummer for Motown, he crafted a vocal style indebted to Frank Sinatra and the black church but with a three-octave range. Whether swinging a raspy gospel tenor or a lover-man falsetto, Gaye expressed both sweetness and grit in the same note. After a series of hit duets for Motown, he rebelled against the label’s apolitical stance and released What’s Going On (1971)—an album of dense Afro-Latin rhythms, black pride and protest, and ambient sounds. In his last decade, he alternated albums of social protest with song cycles of sex and seduction while coping with substance abuse and personal troubles. Rolling Stone ranks Marvin Gaye as number six on its list of greatest singers and number eighteen on its list of greatest artists.
- Data Source
- National Portrait Gallery
- Jim Britt, born 1937
- Marvin Pentz Gaye Jr., 1939 - 1984
- June 1973
- Credit Line
- National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Jim Britt
- Gelatin silver print
- Image: 38.5 × 57.2 cm (15 3/16 × 22 1/2")
- Sheet: 45.1 × 60.4 cm (17 3/4 × 23 3/4")