Marvin Gaye’s Washington

1 1617 First St. SW

Marvin Pentz Gay Sr., a preacher at the Kentucky-based House of God, moved to Washington with his wife, the former Albert Cooper, a domestic and schoolteacher, the year they married, 1935.

2 Freedman’s Hospital,
525 Bryant St. NW

Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. was born here on April 2, 1939. Today, it houses the Howard University communications school and WHUR 96.3 FM, which occasionally spins the music of the man born there. (He later added the “e” to his last name).

3 Benning Terrace,
46th and F streets SE

The Gay family lived for a time in the early ’50s in a housing project originally known as Simple City that would gain a reputation for stopping gang activity in the 1990s.

4 10 60th St. NE
in the East Capitol Dwellings

The Gay family moved here in 1954. Long gone now, it’s not far from the Watts Branch Playground, where Gaye first performed publicly onstage, which became Marvin Gaye Park years later.

5 Randall Junior High School,
65 I St. SW

Gaye began singing in the school choir and in the hallways, harmonizing with friends. Closed in 1978, it was used as a homeless shelter and then artist studios before plans were unveiled for new development this year.

6 Cardozo High School,
1200 Clifton St. NW

Marvin Gaye was in the Class of 1956 at the school established in 1950. He dropped out in 1955 to concentrate on his singing career. It’s where he formed his first group, the DC Tones. On May 1, 1972, when he returned to do his homecoming concert at Kennedy Center, he stopped in to sing “What’s Going On” for students.

7 The Howard Theatre,

620 T St. NW

The recently renovated landmark, where Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald once performed, was a showcase for the gospel and R&B stars whom the teenage Gaye studied in the 1950s. Later, he performed there first with the Moonglows in 1960 and then when it was the first stop on the inaugural Motortown Revue in 1962, where he was the opening act.

8 2600 Rhode Island Ave. NE

Then home to rock pioneer Bo Diddley in the late ’50s, where Gaye’s group the Marquees recorded their first single in the basement: “Wyatt Earp” backed by “Hey, Little School Girl” for Okeh Records, produced by Diddley.

9 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St. NW

The still new performance space hosted a big homecoming concert for Marvin Gaye on May 1, 1972, on the occasion of his successful “What’s Going On” album. A 40th anniversary event saluting that show is this week, with John Legend and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

10 Marvin Gaye Park, Foote Street and Division Avenue NE

The new name of Watts Branch Park in Deanwood, restored in 2001 after a petition by local children and renamed in 2006 after the entertainer who once sang a cappella there with his friends. A mosaic of his face is a centerpiece of the park, replicating the portrait on the “What’s Going On” album cover.

11 Marvin,

2007 14th St. NW

A popular restaurant dedicated to Gaye with a menu that features Southern cooking as well as Belgian delicacies. It opened in 2008.

12 Madame Tussauds,

1001 F St. NW.

A1966 version of Marvin Gaye in white tie, blazer and chinos, wearing tasseled loafers, is at the D.C. tourist spot, among other music stars that include Duke Ellington, Madonna, Britney Spears and Rihanna.