Fox 11 Archives: The Death Of Marvin Gaye

(FOX 11) - On April 1, 1984, one day before his 45th birthday, music legend Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father during a heated argument at his dad's home in South L.A.

The chart-busting singer, musician and composer who scored huge hits over three decades had long had a contentious relationship with his 70-year-old father, Marvin Gay, Sr., a retired minister. In fact, the singer added an "e" to his name, reportedly as a way of separating himself from his old man. Ironically, Gaye had given his dad the murder weapon – intended for protection against intruders at the home in the 2100 block of South Gramercy Place.

In an interview before his trial, Gay insisted he was just trying to defend himself against a son who had become "beastlike" under the influence of cocaine. In court, it came out that before the shooting Gaye had beaten and kicked his father. Gay pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and got five years' probation. He died in 1998.

Were it not for the location, the funeral procession for Marvin Gaye could have been mistaken for a Grammy reception. Stevie Wonder was among the stars performing at the musical send-off. I've included a sampling of the funeral in the video clip, along with shots of Marvin Gay, Sr. as he was being taken away by police, as well as the scene as his son's body arrived at the morgue.

Just last month, as the anniversary of Gaye's murder approached, his survivors won a multi-million dollar copyright infringement battle against "Blurred Lines" creators Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. Their song was judged to have borrowed too heavily from Gaye's composition, "Got To Give It Up."

RELATED | Jury Finds Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke Copied 'Blurred Lines'

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