CLOSE

Marvin Gaye, Detroit Lions Wide Receiver?

We’ve heard plenty (probably too many) athletes try to become musicians. But what happens when it goes the other way?

Soul singer Marvin Gaye actually considered dropping his musical career at one point to fulfill his dream of playing in the Super Bowl with his hometown Detroit Lions. In the midst of a depression after the death of his longtime singing partner Tammi Terrell, Gaye recorded the single “What’s Going On.”

Appearing as background singers on the track were two of Gaye’s friends, Lions cornerback Lem Barney and running back Mel Farr. Barney had once introduced himself to Gaye by knocking on the door of his Detroit home and the two became fast friends, eventually roping Farr into the friendship. Gaye brought them to the studio when he recorded "What's Going On" and invited them to sing on the track. However, when Motown producers refused to release the politically-charged single, Gaye again turned to his friends to pursue his longtime dream of playing in the Super Bowl with the Lions.

Barney and Farr helped Gaye bulk up and train to become a wide receiver. He approached coach Joe Schmidt and asked him for the chance to try out. When Schmidt asked him for game film, Gaye reportedly said he had never played, not even in high school, but that he always believed he would score a touchdown the first time he touched a football.

According to Schmidt, the first time he met with Gaye he said “If I could sing like you, I certainly wouldn't want to play football.” The second time Gaye approached him for a tryout, Schmidt decided that he couldn’t put the singer in harm’s way and declined to let him on the field.

It probably all worked out for the best. A few months later, “What’s Going On” was released and Gaye was once again catapulted into the spotlight with what would become his most acclaimed album. And the Lions? Well, they're still waiting on that Super Bowl.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
music
Everything You Need to Know About Record Store Day
iStock
iStock

The unlikely resurgence of vinyl as an alternative to digital music formats is made up of more than just a small subculture of purists. Today, more than 1400 independent record stores deal in both vintage and current releases. Those store owners and community supporters created Record Store Day in 2007 as a way of celebrating the grassroots movement that’s allowed a once-dying medium to thrive.

To commemorate this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21, a number of stores (a searchable list can be found here) will be offering promotional items, live music, signings, and more. While events vary widely by store, a number of artists will be issuing exclusive LPs that will be distributed around the country.

For Grateful Dead fans, a live recording of a February 27, 1969 show at Fillmore West in San Francisco will be released and limited to 6700 copies; Arcade Fire’s 2003 EP album will see a vinyl release for the first time, limited to 3000 copies; "Roxanne," the Police single celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will see a 7-inch single release with the original jacket art.

The day also promises to be a big one for David Bowie fans. A special white vinyl version of 1977’s Bowie Now will be on shelves, along with Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78), a previously-unreleased, three-record set. Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and dozens of other artists will also be contributing releases.

No store is likely to carry everything you might want, so before making the stop, it might be best to call ahead and then plan on getting there early. If you’re one of the unlucky vinyl supporters without a brick and mortar store nearby, you can check out Discogs.com, which will be selling the special releases online.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Henson Company
arrow
Pop Culture
Jim Henson's Labyrinth Is Being Adapted Into a Stage Musical
Henson Company
Henson Company

More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.

While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.

As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."

Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."

While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.

[h/t Forbes]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios