1984 — Marvin Gaye killed

Marvin Gaye was one of the greatest singers ever to come out of Motown, possessed of a soulful, sensitive voice with great expressiveness and a vocal range of three octaves. Best known today for such classics as “Sexual Healing”, “Let’s Get It On” and his cover of “Heard It Through The Grapevine”, Gaye also used his music to pursue an activist agenda, creating anthems for the civil rights movement, most notably “What’s Going On?”

He was only 44 years old in 1984, when he intervened in a dispute between his parents. Enraged, his father shot him twice – although the first shot was fatal, and Gaye was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. He was cremated and his ashes scattered near the ocean. His father pleaded no contest to a voluntary manslaughter charge.

Referenced in:
Nightshift — The Commodores

1984 — Jackie Wilson dies

One of the most influential singers in the transition between rhythm & blues and soul, Jackie “Mr Excitement” Wilson was one of the all time greats. Over the span of two decades and change, he recorded more than 50 hit songs, in genres including rhythm & blues, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening. Moreover, he was a dynamic live performer and showman, whose performances inspired those of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and James Brown (to name only the most prominent).

In 1975, he collapsed on stage at a concert from a heart attack, and was raced to hospital. But the damage had been done – Wilson had stopped breathing, and the lack of oxygen damaged his brain. With the exception of a brief period in 1976, he spent the rest of his life in a coma, before dying of pneumonia in 1984.

Referenced in:
Nightshift — The Commodores