The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye
Increasingly Bizarre Behavior
Despite whispers about Gaye's fragile psyche and coke addiction, CBS scambled together a concert tour to capitalize on the success of his new single.
The Sexual Healing Tour opened in San Diego on April 18 and was scheduled to conclude August 14. Few expected him to make it through the dates.
As one sideman told Ritz, "There was more coke on that tour than on any tour in the history of entertainment."
As the tour wore on, Gaye's behavior became increasingly bizarre.
He became ever more obsessed by sex. He invited groups of five or six men and women to have sex in his room while he watched. On stage, he began doing a striptease to his bikini briefs during the finale, "Sexual Healing."
Meanwhile, he was being overwhelmed by paranoia. He hired a phalanx of bodyguards and wore a bulletproof vest except when on stage. He ordered sentries to guard his hotel room doors.
He insisted that a hit man had been hired to kill him, and he worried that he was being secretly poisoned.
During a tour stop in Boston, reporters sat slack-jawed during a press conference as Gaye revealed that he had hired famed attorney F. Lee Bailey to determine how, why and by whom he had been poisoned during his tour. He added that an antidote potion concocted by activist comedian Dick Gregory had saved his life.