Sunday, February 11, 2007

208. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971)

Track Listing

1. What's Going On
2. What's Happening Brother
3. Flyin' High (In The Friendly Sky)
4. Save The Children
5. God Is Love
6. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
7. Right On
8. Wholy Holy
9. Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)


Well, this is a great album, and it probably is the best soul album ever. Marvin Gaye manages to make a very social and politically aware album without making it undanceable or even unsensuous. It is a mark of this man genius that he managed to do this, join the message with beautiful sensuous uplifting music.

Another great thing about this album is its sheer complexity. Not only are the tracks textured to infinity but the way the tracks meld into each other is amazing. Most tracks evolve into the next track with what are deceptively simple shifts, without you realising it you suddenly are in a completely different track, with different lyrics and textures but intimately related to the track that came before. And this is all without even mentioning the brilliant lyrical writing behind the album.

If I am gushing here it is because the album truly deserves it. Weather you are in a mood for some loving, or you are disappointed with the world we live in or you just want some brilliant texture to pamper your ears this is the album to get. Probably the best thing to ever come out of motown and for that you should get it now at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. What's Going On
2. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
3. Save The children
4. Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The critical and commercial success of the album was immediate and significant. What's Going On remained on the Billboard Pop Album Charts for over a year and sold over two million copies until the end of 1972, making it Marvin Gaye's best-selling album to that date, until Gaye broke his own record with the release of Let's Get It On in the fall of 1973.

In addition, What's Going On received the highest ratings from several leading magazines and newspapers, including Time, Rolling Stone (who named it "Album of the Year"), The New York Times, and Billboard, who gave it the Billboard Trendsetter Award of 1971. It was ranked number six on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003, while its title song was ranked fourth on the magazine's 500 greatest singles of all time. A 1999 critics poll conducted by British newspaper Guardian/Observer named it the "Greatest Album Of the 20th Century".

In 1997, What's Going On was named the 17th greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number 97, while in 2001 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 4. In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry, and was ranked as number 6 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

In the forthcoming years, many artists from different musical genres covered songs from the album, most notably live recordings by Aretha Franklin ("Wholly Holy" on Amazing Grace) and Donny Hathaway ("What's Going On" on Donny Hathaway Live) in 1972, among others. "Mercy Mercy Me" was featured as the b-side to The Strokes' 2006 single "You Only Live Once".

Brilliant live performance of What's Going On/ What's Happening Brother:


Anonymous said...


While Marvin had to escape from mister Taxman, he went to Oostende in Belgium. There is a fantastic documetary on his stay. Try to see it.
It his there were he wrote his massive hit "sexual healing" ...

To remember this. In Oostende. Today. A statue of Marvin to remember this is shown for the first time to the public.

Great stuff ....

Francisco Silva said...

Mr. Anonymous: Thanks, I'll look for that.