Marvin Gaye was honored by USPS this week for his contributions to the Motown sound of the 1960s and R&B music in the 1970s.
During the April 2 dedication ceremony for a stamp honoring Gaye in Los Angeles, he was hailed as one of the most influential performers of his generation.
“The love the world has for Marvin has been evident to us at the Postal Service since we announced the creation of this stamp in his honor. And as we moved closer and closer to today’s ceremony, the excitement has continued to build,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale, who led the event.
Also known as the “Prince of Soul,” Gaye helped shape the buoyant sound of the Motown record label in the 1960s with hits like “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”
He later broadened the scope of R&B music. Released in 1971, his expansive masterwork, “What’s Going On,” is widely considered one of the greatest recordings in the history of American popular music.
The stamp, which is part of the Music Icons series, features a portrait of Gaye (1939-1984) inspired by historic photographs. The stamp is available at Post Offices and usps.com.
The ceremony was held on the 80th anniversary of Gaye’s birth and featured speakers and musical performers who underscored his enduring legacy.
In addition to Barksdale, participants included Smokey Robinson; Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records; Mary Wilson of the Supremes; Kadir Nelson, the stamp artist; singer Kenny Lattimore, who performed Gaye’s hit “Got to Give It Up;” and members of the Gaye family, including son Marvin Gaye III, daughter Nona Gaye, sister Zeola Gaye and brother Antwaun Gay.
Marvin Gaye III praised Nelson’s artistry.
“Bravo, man, for capturing my father’s true essence,” he said. “It immediately drew me in when I first saw it. My father would be so pleased as much or more than I am.”
The Marvin Gaye stamp is the ninth in the Music Icons series. The other honorees are Ray Charles, Lydia Mendoza, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan and John Lennon.
Said Barksdale: “Marvin is still with us. His voice. His swag. His passion. His soul. All those wonderful things that made him the undisputed Prince of Soul. Those things will always be with us.”