List of tributes to Marvin Gaye

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Several albums have been released to commemorate Gaye's influence on popular music.

Among the two albums released include Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye, released in 1994 in collaboration with MTV, who previewed the album's contents with the airing of the documentary about Gaye, also titled Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye, that featured vintage Gaye performances, as well as performances of his songs by other artists, notably Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Bono and Gaye's daughter, Nona.

The second tribute album, Marvin Is 60: A Tribute Album, was released in 1999 on Motown in celebration of Gaye's 60th birthday. Released that June, the album featured Erykah Badu, D'Angelo and Will Downing. The respective artists released songs from the tribute album including covers of "Your Precious Love" and "You Sure Love to Ball" to R&B radio stations.

R&B band Frankie Beverly & Maze based their 1989 album, Silky Soul on Gaye, who had served as the band's early mentor following their early years. The title track was recorded as a tribute to Gaye and interpolated Gaye's melody from "What's Going On". The song was released as a single and became a top-ten hit on the R&B chart. Marvin's daughter Nona was featured in the video.

Upon reviewing her albums, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 and janet., David Ritz compared Jackson's switching of topics from social issues to sensual material to that of Gaye's.[1]

Jazz composer Don Byron's album, Don Byron's String Quartet No. 2: Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye, I-IV, A Tribute to the Life of Marvin Gaye was released by the string quartet Ethel on the album, Heavy (Innova, 2012).

American DJ and producer Amerigo Gazaway released an album in 2014, remixing the work of hip hop artist Mos Def with Marvin Gaye's music.[2]


Even before Gaye's death in 1984, Gaye was mentioned by name in a couple of songs. In Spandau Ballet's breakthrough single, "True", one verse cited "listening to Marvin (all night long)/this is the sound of my soul", which was seen as an example of the influence of Gaye's romantic song style. Gaye was also mentioned by name in electro funk outfit R.J.'s Latest Arrival's "Shackles (On My Feet)".

Following Gaye's own death, Lionel Richie composed the song, "Missing You", which he immediately gave to Diana Ross, who was reportedly struggling with her friend's death. The song was released in late 1984 and became Ross' final top-ten single. A day after Gaye's death, new wave band Duran Duran dedicated "Save a Prayer" to Gaye. In 1985, The Commodores issued the ballad, "Nightshift", which was dedicated to both Gaye and Jackie Wilson.

The alternative band Violent Femmes' song "See My Ships" from their 3 album, referenced Gaye's death in a double-entendre to express anxiety about God (the father)'s final judgment: "Mercy mercy me, Marvin Gaye, he was shot by his father, O my father have mercy on me". Prefab Sprout's "When the Angels" from their album, Steve McQueen, was dedicated to Gaye.[3]

Aaliyah's cover version of "Got to Give It Up" features a rap from Slick Rick, samples Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", and was included on her 1996 album One in a Million. It was released as the second single in the UK. Aaliyah's version of "Got to Give It Up" failed to chart in the US when it was commercially released there in January 1997 (although it was not sent to radio stations for airplay, a 12-inch vinyl single was released to record stores), but it was a minor hit in the UK peaking at number 37 in the UK Singles Chart. It reached number 34 in New Zealand. The single's B-side, "No Days Go By", was one of Aaliyah's few self-compositions.

A new remix of Aaliyah's "Got to Give It Up" (without Slick Rick's vocals) was included on her posthumous 2002 compilation album I Care 4 U. The video is a re-edit of the original, which was directed by Paul Hunter. The video was edited to both the album version with Slick Rick, and a remix, without Slick Rick's vocals.

In 2003 and 2004, Gaye was often mentioned in songs by rappers such as Jay-Z and T.I. on their respective songs, "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "Rubber Band Man", while in 2004, the R. Kelly song, "If I Could Make the World Dance" was dedicated to Gaye. That same year, George Michael referenced Marvin's name on his song, "John & Elvis are Dead" from his Patience album. In 2015, singer Charlie Puth released his first single, "Marvin Gaye", with Meghan Trainor as his duet partner, the song referring to Gaye and his 1973 hit, "Let's Get It On", with the chorus line, let's Marvin Gaye and get it on. Songs that paid tribute or mention reference to Marvin Gaye include:

Other tributes[edit]

Marvin's death was referenced in The Sopranos on an episode titled "Members Only", when Uncle Junior shoots Tony Soprano and Vito Spatafore later remarks: "He Marvin Gaye'd his own nephew”. Gaye is referenced as one of the supernatural acts to appear in the short story and later television version of Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes in "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band".

A play by Caryl Phillips called A Long Way from Home, focusing on Gaye's relationship with his father and his last years in Ostend, was broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in March 2008. It featured O. T. Fagbenle as Gaye and Kerry Shale as Marvin Gay Sr., with Rhea Bailey, Rachel Atkins, Damian Lynch, Alibe Parsons, Ben Onwukwe and Major Wiley. It was directed by Ned Chaillet and produced by Chris Wallis.

In 2010, Marvin's sister Zeola Gaye started producing musical plays titled My Brother, Marvin, in which has been played in several cities. In 2012, a similar titled musical play started playing also in tribute to Gaye.

Rapper Tupac Shakur refers to Marvin Gaye in his song Thugz Mansion: Seen a show with Marvin Gaye last night, it had me shook.[5]

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1986 "Can I Get a Witness" -
1991 "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" -
1994 "Lucky, Lucky Me" -
1995 "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" -
2001 "Music"(with Erick Sermon) Francis Lawrence


  1. ^ Ritz, David (1998-10-01), "Sex, sadness & the triumph of Janet Jackson", Rolling Stone, retrieved 2008-04-23 
  2. ^ "Releases". Amerigo Gazaway. 
  3. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The rough guide to rock. Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6. 
  4. ^ "Songtext: Fettes Brot 1 – Hörst Du Mich?". Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "2Pac - Thugz Mansion Lyrics - MetroLyrics".