The Day Marvin Gaye Saved My Life



I remember 2005 was my “dark year”. Things could not be worse. Unhappy at my job, making little to no money and my wife and I were struggling. My dreams of doing music and acting had gone down the drain. My family and I were on the fritz and I was too broke to hang out with my friends. It was as if the universe was trying to send me a message…what I deciphered was: “Life is a waste…why live?”

Not being able to fulfill my dreams destroyed me. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else in this world but that. There was no path set in front of me to show me the way…I felt completely trapped. One day, I sat in the shower for 30 minutes thinking to myself, “Wow…this is the first time  suicide has crossed my mind.” I got out the shower and went into my room wishing there was another door that would lead to an alternate reality where everything in my life was right. My hand gripped the knob of my closet, swung it open and was utterly disappointed to see no Wonderland, just plain old clothes.

Still rattled by the morbid shower thoughts I experienced, I wanted needed to drown out the dark thoughts in my head. Under the TV stand was my old stereo that I bought back in 1997 (by the way…I still use it today and sounds SICK!!!!!) with a bunch of cd’s. I wanted something smooth and soulful to relax my mind so I dug through a couple of cd’s until I came across a double disc of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits that my wife bought me for my birthday. I only skimmed through the songs once before but this particular day, I wanted to go all in.

The first song that came on was,”What’s Going On?”. I knew the song but never really studied the lyrics. The saxophone was hypnotic and mellowed me out instantly. By the time Marvin started asking what’s going on, I had a smile on my face. Then came the next song entitled, “Sad Tomorrows”.

On this song, Marvin addresses his much publicized drug addiction and how he is well aware of the “self destruction” in his hand. What I heard was a man battling more demons than Gabriel the Archangel, knew he was hurting himself and others but in the end, caved to the realization that he is all alone in his battle for his soul and mind and would most likely lose the war. At the 1:31 minutes in, Marvin sings a bridge so sad and so beautiful that for the first time in my life…a song made me cry…

“I did the best I could/Nobody understood”

I connected with his pain and learned from his tragedy. If I didn’t get my life together and fast, I would continue plummeting down this spiral of depression. One of the last songs on the cd was a live, piano version of “God Is Love“. This song, even with his vocals cracking at times, was an amazing reminder to himself that no matter what, God will love and take care of him but in return…we must give each other that same kind of love…

Tear inducing…beautiful.

I look back and see that my “momentary thought” was nothing more than my fear of not knowing what to do next with my life and feeling sorry for myself for not being famous and doing movies with Eddie Murphy by the age of 26 (I told my high school drama teacher I would be the last week of school back in ’96). From that moment, I got up off my ass, began searching for more inspiration. Marvin set if off but I needed more! Who else was out there from 70’s with soul music that can help me reinvent myself. With that confidence renewed I also figure out ways to get my life back on track.

Music has always been a common denominator in the cosmic equation of my life so I am very grateful that all it took to snap me back to reality was the pain of a lost soul. Not a lot of people are that lucky…thank you Marvin.

2 thoughts on “The Day Marvin Gaye Saved My Life

  1. Great post. Reminds of a time (and it was actually in 2005) when I was still married to my jerk of an ex and things had gotten really, really bad. I picked up a magazine and there was a quote from a Leonard Cohen song (Anthem). I pretty much lost it, but it was cathartic and made me feel much better in the end. I have no musical talent (artwork and writing are my releases) but music can be such a good release sometimes.


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