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Flashback: Marvin Gaye grooves up national anthem at 1983 NBA All-Star game

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That honor belongs to the late Marvin Gaye, who stepped up to a microphone at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. before the 1983 All-Star Game and delivered what can only be described as a unique rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Smooth, sexy, and marked with unusual phrasing and timing, Gaye’s reimagined version blew the crowd away with its cool and assured delivery.

Things, of course, were not as smooth for the Motown legend behind the scenes. He was riding high on the massive success of his 1982 hit “Sexual Healing,” but was also coasting an unstable road with a growing cocaine addiction. Rehearsals prior to the game were uneven, and the show’s organizers were reportedly terrified he wouldn’t be able to pull the anthem off.

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