At Motown, he was initially used as a drummer, playing behind the legendary Smoky Robinson, in addition to the Miracles and Little Stevie Wonder. However, in 1962, his professional singing career took flight with the single "That Stubborn Kinda Fellow".
Upon release of his 1971 album, What's Going On, he began to approach the music business with songs expressing both social and political thought, while continuing to showcase his talents as an instrumentalist and songwriter.
That album contains the following songs, which all confront the declining standards in society and the natural environment:
He moved from Motown to Columbia records and released his final album, Midnight Love, in 1982, which afforded him praise from the record industry and two Grammy awards.
Nevertheless, during 1984, an unfortunate family conflict cost Gaye his life, as he was tragically killed in a fight with his father.
After Gaye's death, a younger generation of artists expressed a well-deserved admiration for his musical contributions by remixing songs and alluding to him in their own music: