NEWS & VIEWS > ASK THE GEATOR

Did Marvin’s Dad Go To Jail?

By Jerry Blavat
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 3, 2010

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The late Marvin Gaye and his father.

Once again, greetings and salutations. Here it is, first week in March, and if you’re counting, only 12 weeks away and then it begins all over again — Fridays and Saturdays live at Memories in Margate, Sunday afternoons at La Costa in Sea Isle City, and of course before the opening of Memories, our oldies cruise to Cozumel and then the big anniversary doo-wop reunion at the Kimmel Center. More about all these events in the coming weeks, but meanwhile, let’s ask the Geator.

 

In New Jersey we have a very talented group of musicians and singers called the Infernos, who play and sing all different types of music. Their lead singer, Kenny Simmons, has mentioned he was once the lead singer for the Commodores. When I go to the Commodores site there is no mention of Kenny at all. Can you please settle a little disagreement between my friend and I? You’re the best when it comes to the oldies groups. — Thomas Pastena

 

As with many of the groups whose members left to pursue solo careers or join other bands, the Commodores have had many personnel changes since they started back in 1967 and especially after Lionel left. I don’t know if Kenny was ever their lead singer, but it’s quite possible that he was a member of the group at some time.

 

On your XPN show you played Marvin Gaye and it made me wonder. I know he was killed by his father. Did the father ever go to jail for the killing and is he still alive? — Margaret

 

Marvin’s dad, a former preacher, died of pneumonia in 1998 at the age of 84. Marvin was living with his parents during the last year of his life, and as the story goes, when he was under the influence of drugs, he would lash out at his father and sometimes beat him. During one of those times Marvin Gay Sr. took out a gun and shot his son to death. The investigation concluded that he acted in self-defense and gave him a suspended sentence for manslaughter.

 

What group did the song that went “I’m your vehicle, baby”? and was it just a one-hit wonder? — Carl

 

The group was the Ides of March, out of the Chicago area. They were big fans of Blood Sweat and Tears, and many people first mistook them for that group. “Vehicle” was their only national hit, but their lead singer, Jim Peterik, later founded the group Survivor, who had another huge hit in 1982 with “Eye of the Tiger.” Ides of March reunited in the 1990s and is still together, with several regional hits to their credit. Incidentally, Peterik wrote “Vehicle” about his high school girlfriend, who always wanted him to drive her to all her appointments (and who now is his wife).

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