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Gordon was born in Norfolk, VA. He was preceded in heavenly rest by his parents, Frank Banks, Jr. and Connie Banks, his brothers, Gregory Banks. Sr., Gerald Banks, DDS, Grainger Sutton, and Sister Velorcia Banks.
Angels arrived just before sunrise, early Thursday, July 21, 2023, and escorted Gordon home safely to his heavenly resting home, where he was greeted and welcomed with open arms and music galore. During his earthly time of service, he matriculated through the Norfolk City School System, and spent his early walk of faith in Mount Olive Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church. Later in life, Gordon became a faithful member of Calvary Revival Baptist Church, under Bishop Courtney McBath, where he served his church with a heart of gratitude, praise and joy as a staff member, AV Specialist, volunteer and youth ministry music teacher. Additionally, he served as an AV Specialist at Tabernacle of Worship (formerly Pleasant Grove Baptist Church), Virginia Beach, VA.
Gordon, better known as Gordon “Guitar” Banks, started his music career at the early age of 12 with his first band, “The Showmen”. During that time, he had an opportunity to play guitar for Norman Johnson on “Give Me Just a Little More Time”. With one magic word “Yes”, his music career took off after graduation from Granby High School. That “yes” took him on tours to countries he never expected at such an early stage in his life.
Gordon was a Master Guitarist, song writer, backup singer, music director, and producer. He went on to become the lead guitarist, producer, and music director for the Prince of Motown, Marvin Gaye. In between tours and down times, he went back to Norfolk and attended Norfolk State University, majoring in Music, to further his musical career. After NSU, he moved to California. There he played for and worked with such groups as The Gap Band, New Birth, Unifics and Mandrill. Gordon also worked with a few major performers such as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Sheila E, Prince, Eddie Murphy, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Edwin Hawkins, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Barry White, Larry Graham, Eric Sermon, Gene Chandler, Peaches, not Herb, L.T.D., Natalie Cole, McFadden and Whitehead, The Temptations, and High Energy.
His biggest collaborations were with Marvin Gaye from 1977 to 1984. He quickly became the rock and heart of Marvin’s musical direction with his classy and smooth R & B style. After helping with the musical direction in 1977 for Marvin’s album “Here My Dear”, Gordon became Marvin’s music/band director and performed with him all over the world.
After Marvin’s death in 1984, Gordon finished production of the posthumous album, “Dream of a Lifetime” which was released in 1985. That year, Rolling Stone magazine voted Gordon, one of the top 100 guitarists in America. Known for collections from “Grandma Mollie’s Studio”, hits appeared like I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Make Me Want to Holla, Let’s Get It On, Father Father, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Funky Reincarnation, My Love is Waiting, Got to Give It Up and Mercy Mercy Me. In 2012, the recording of Midnight Love and Sexual Healing were his biggest pride and joy!
In 2017, as a music Legend in his own right, Gordon was honored by the City of Norfolk and was inducted into the Legends of Music Walk of Fame, and received his own star in front of the Roper Center 340 Granby Street, downtown Norfolk. He played that night with Inter City Blues crew…what a night!
The past 10 years, Gordon has been a dedicated member of the Dee Polite & Phenomenal Sounds Band where he served as the musical director the past 3 years.
Gordon “lived his best life” to say the least and leaves a light and a legacy to be remembered by all.
To cherish his memory, he does not leave but says see you later to his daughter, Constance Banks of San Antonio, TX, his brother Godfrey Banks (Lydia) of Norfolk, VA, his sister, Valerie Gilbert (Harold) of Chesapeake, VA and a host of faithful nieces, nephews, family, extended family and friends.
Until we see you again, “God Is Awesome and Amazing”!