Marvin Gaye and “Whats going on”


The “What’s going On”album sold 100, 000 copies the first day. This was incredible and at the time everyone had the album. But what was Marvin Gayes’ music like before “Whats Going On”? He was still a chart topper, but his music and lyric were still in the soul area talking about other areas of life rather than whats happening in the world at that time.

However, on the “Whats going On” album the social topics were referenced like the civil rights movement. Other areas of social and political were talked about as well. In “Ecology”, the damage to the environment was talked about, specifically oil spills in the ocean. The Vietnam war was referenced as well, because of Marvin Gayes’ brother being in the military.

“Whats Going on” wasn’t immediately let out to the public as easy as one might think. It was actually difficult to get the album out due mostly the topics it was addressing and Berry Gordy disapproval. Berry Gordy disapproved of the song and called it the worst thing he had ever heard. However, Harry Balk, a creative director at the time, liked “Whats Going On” and passed the acetate up. Later on everyone was able to hear the sounds of “Whats Going On”.

In the music of “Whats Going On” there are two things I’d like to point out about this album that were different in my eyes. The first being the lyrics. They were controversial for an artist to put out lyrics like this on an album at the time that it was all happening. Second, was that within the album there were a lot of jazzy and funky musical content, along with some off the jogging lyrical parts at times.

Both personally, and professionally the music on Marvin Gayes’ “Whats Going On” album has effected my life significantly. When I was younger my parents would play Marvin Gaye songs all the time. So I grew up listening to his music and many others from that time. It guided my taste in music. Professionally, its been a song that seemed to lighten up the minds of people after listening to it, and professionally, and personally thats a goal I feel that music should do. Don’t you?

References for this blog are on the References Page.


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