Marvin Gaye, one of the most soulful music artist of our time.  Marvin had a very successful music career.  One of the peaks in Marvin’s career was without a doubt “What’s Going On.”  Which according to Barry Gordy, was “the worst thing he had ever heard”.   Before this “What’s Going On” Marvin was a great singer of love songs, but definitely a voice of the people. Marvin Gaye’s brother Frankie, who was active in the Vietnam War, inspired “What’s Going On”.  The song was written as meditation on the war and other issues that were present in the world.  Marvin acquired insight through letters his brother and he exchanged while his brother was on active duty.  Marvin knew he had something special with this song, Berry Gordy on the other hand, was not very positive with the idea of the album.  In fact, Stevie Wonder was one of the only stars at Motown to back the project; even Berry Gordy’s sister backed it.  Berry Gordy went so fare at to calling the song “the worst thing he ever heard.”  Gordy refused to invest in the song or release it.  Not only did Gaye pay for and produce the song, but he also presented Gordy with the ultimatum of no other material to be recorded until “What’s Going On” was released.  “What’s Going On” was released and sold 100,000 copies in its first day. “What’s Going On” sounded differently from anything else that had been released on Motown, with it’s reflection of the state of the world and the pressing issues that filled it, Marvin Gaye showed new depth to listeners.  This album also presented a sense of realism, being that it was inspired by the stories of others, which gives listeners a somewhat intimate connection to the albums lyrical content.  I sincerely think of this album as one of the greatest albums of all time.  The musical transitions, lyrics, and overall soul of the album are remarkably moving.

 

References

Edmonds, Ben. “What Went on.” The Guardian. N.p., 7 Dec. 2001. Web. 13 Oct. 2013.