2019 55¢ Marvin Gaye – Music Icons Series
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: April 2, 2019
First Day City: Los Angeles, CA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint
Format: Pane of 16
Quantity Printed: 40,000,000
Marvin Gaye (1939-84) rose to popularity at a time when Motown artists did not sing about social and political issues. But Gaye asked, "With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs." His determination to break out of the box transformed not just his own career, but soul music as a whole.
Gaye developed a love for singing when he was four years old. He had a four-octave vocal range (most people have a three-octave) and was a talented songwriter. Gaye had his first number one hit in 1967 with "I Heard it Through the Grapevine."
In 1970, Gaye helped write "What's Going On" in response to police brutality and the Vietnam War. Initially, it wasn't released because his label felt it was too political. So Gaye went on strike until they agreed to release it – and it became a number one hit. The rest of the album, which touched on war, drug abuse, and the environment, was his first to sell a million copies and was credited with redefining soul music.
Gaye continued to evolve, blending soul, jazz, pop, and gospel in such hits as "Let's Get It On" and "Sexual Healing." He later earned two Grammys and induction into the Rock and Roll, Songwriters, and R&B Halls of Fame. For his role as a musical pioneer, Gaye has been dubbed the "Prince of Soul" and "Prince of Motown."