Marvin Gaye killed by father 30 years ago today [Talkback]


Thirty years ago today, Grammy-winning singer Marvin Gaye was fatally shot in a case that shocked the music world.

The gunman was his father, Marvin P. Gaye Sr.

Gaye was killed April 1, 1984, a day before his 45th birthday, at the family home in the Crenshaw district after an argument with his father. Gaye Sr., a retired minister of the House of God Church, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Police said the argument between the father and son began when Gaye was unable to find an insurance company letter that had nothing to do with the singer.


Probation investigators said Gaye had apparently beaten his father shortly before the shooting. Shortly after the arrest, it was discovered that Gaye Sr. had a brain tumor.

The two men reportedly had a troubled relationship, with the son never believing that the father appreciated his success. “I’m sorry.... I loved him,” Gaye Sr. said at his sentencing.

“If I could bring him back, I would. I was afraid of him. I thought I was going to get hurt. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I’m really sorry for everything that happened. I loved him. I wish he could step through this door right now. I’m paying the price now.”

The father died in 1998 at age 83.

Marvin Gaye Jr. had 13 records in the top 10 from 1963 to 1977. Among his best-known hits were “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Sexual Healing,” “Let’s Get It On” and “What’s Going On.”

Do you have memories of that day in 1984? Share them below.