Twenty nine years ago today, at the age of 44, Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father in Los Angeles. His death remains as one of the great tragedies in popular music. To commemorate the death of one of the all time greats, AOL's Boombox did an exclusive interview with Gaye's ex-wife, Janis Gaye. (No, she's not the one Here, My Dear was about, that was Anna Gordy). In the interview Janis Gaye has plenty of nice things to say about Marvin's life and legacy; about how he was friends with Richard Pryor, how the ad-libs on "Got to Give It Up" were spontaneous, and how he was a terrific father.
However, there is one thing she's not pleased with, the play My Brother Marvin that's currently on tour. The play is by Marvin's sister, Zeola Gaye, and tells the story of growing up with Marvin Gay Sr. and stars Lynn Whitfield, Clifton Powell and Keith Washington.
When asked about her feelings on the play, which she admits she hasn't seen yet, she said, "People who are going out spending their hard earned money to buy tickets to go and see this play—they will not hear one note of Marvin's music. I've heard too many people complaining and saying that they feel like they've been scammed and taken advantage of."
She went on further to the play is marketed as being about his life, but it focuses on his death. "It ends with him being shot on stage," said Janis Gaye. "And the smell of gun powder remains in the theater. To me, that's taking it a little too far...That's not what Marvin would want."