Marvin Gaye delivered a soulful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” today (February 13, 1983), during the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles.
Although the performance went without a hitch, just getting Marvin Gaye to The Forum arena to perform had been a challenge.
The singer had been on a coke binge four days prior to his appearance, and Gaye tried, in vain, to get Luther Vandross to take his place.
The day before Marvin Gaye performed, he used a drum machine and a guitar to create the rhythm for his version of the national anthem.
Gaye’s version ruffled the feathers of the NBA during the first rehearsals and he was limited to just two minutes.
On the day of the big performance, Marvin Gaye was hours late for rehearsal.
He arrived just five minutes before CBS’s national coverage was to begin.
When Marvin Gaye opened his mouth to sing, the capacity crowd of 17,505 were awed by his version of the song.