Today marks the 71st birthday of legendary R&B singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye. Even I, a shy 20-something can recognize the massive influence Marvin Gaye has on today’s music. I represent the scores of young Black Americans who grew up in homes sonically swelled with songs like “Distant Lover,” “Trouble Man,” and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Hollar) playing on vinyl and eight-track tapes.

Amid the contemporary battle of whether Trey Songz, Neyo, Usher or R. Kelly owns the prized R&B King title, the reality is, none of this guys come close to the introspective genius, sheer sexiness and socially awaken music of Marvin Gaye. In fact, it is today’s R&B men who continuously riff off and appropriate the vocal styles of Marvin. Marvin Gaye was undoubtedly before his time. And so today, the ladies of CLUTCH remembers the man, the style and the music that will forever live on. Happy Birthday Marvin, we love you.

Check out this rare footage of Marvin Gaye singing “Come Get To This” on Soul Train.

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