1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Ashford & Simpson
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Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye sang to survive.

Gaye’s singing nurtured the soul—both the audience’s and his own. He used his honeyed tenor to explore sexuality and social issues on such sprawling concept albums as the intensely exploratory What’s Going On.

Hall of Fame Essay


Michael Hill

Marvin Gaye embarked on his solo career in 1962, having already played drums for Smokey Robinson and the  Miracles, as well as other Motown acts.

That was when everyone at Motown pitched in to do a little of everything: Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, for  example, contributed backup vocals to Gaye’s chart debut, “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” which reached the R&B Top Ten in late 1962. 

In November of that year, Gaye set off on Motown’s first package tour, the Motortown Revue, which also featured  the Supremes, Mary Wells and Little Stevie Wonder. Forty-five Motowners hit the road in a caravan of one bus and five cars for a tour that opened at the Howard Theater, in Gaye’s hometown, Washington, D .C ., and climaxed, approximately 25 one-night stands later, in a ten-day run at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Program 1987
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There are good singers, there are great singers, and then there are singers that we say have that undefinable quality.

Valerie Simpson

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