WAINAO N°27 - THE VOICE OF GOD
WHY NOW? BECAUSE MARVIN GAYE SHOULD NOT BE ONLY EMEMBERED FOR BEING ONE OF THE SWEETESTE VOICE VER. WITH "WHAT'S GOING ON", HE TOOK THE SOULN MUSIC TO THE NEXT LEVEL. For the first time political content was incorporated in soul songs, that paved the way for generations. It was a big step back then, the obsatcles he had to face gave him the courage to try that, although, many people was saying that it was a mistake.
" what makes a singer special is not his voice nor his songs... But the level of truth and how much of him... He puts in both."
“I met an angel one day and he told me one of GOD’s best secrets. When HE wants to send a message to the world….sometimes, he just hide it in a song.!!”
MAY 21st 1971: The MOTOWN label finally released WHAT’S GOING ON, by Marvin Gaye. This album is now regarded as one of the greatest albums of the 20th century.
Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s.
17-year-old Gaye dropped out of high school and following his return in the United States Air Force as a basic airmanGaye he formed the vocal quartetThe Marquees. In 1960, the group disbanded. The Motown president Berry Gordy, Impressed by the singer, signed him a contract. with Tamla, he pursued a career as a performer of jazz music and standards, Gaye changed the spelling of his surname by adding an e, in the same way as did Sam Cooke.
In 1962, Gaye started to find as co-writer of the Marvelettes hit, and In 1964, Gaye recorded a successful duet album with singer Mary Wells titled Together, Then after,
After scoring a hit duet, "It Takes Two" with Kim Weston, Gaye began working with Tammi Terrell on a series of duets, mostly composed by Ashford & Simpson, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Your Precious Love", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By". In October 1967, Terrell collapsed in Gaye's arms during a performance in Farmville, Virginia. not long after, she died from brain cancer on March , 1970; Marvin was devastated by the death of Tammi Terrell.
A protest song written in response to police brutality committed during the riots of Berkeley by "Obie" Benson, a member of the Four Tops will help Marvin to come out depression (it was originally for Joan Baez but he declined).
Gaye returned to Hitsville U.S.A., where he recorded his new composition "What's Going On. Upon hearing the song, Berry Gordy refused its release due to his feelings of the song being "too political" for radio.
Vietnam veteran returning coming back to his country and witness all kind of issues, drugs, hatred, racism... that's the concept. Marvin was determined to do it and he finally was allowed to record a full album. The album became Gaye's first million-selling album launching two more top ten singles, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues".
Before What's Going album, Motown artists were not allowed to focus on political and social issues. for marketting and financial reasons the label didn't want to create any controversies. Gaye was aware of all the social events such as the 1965 Watts riots. he said himself that he confused by his place and his role in this world. "with the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?" . mr GAYE supported the efforts by the Black panther party to give free meals to poor families and all their message about education even if he did not support the violent tactics.
When "What’s Going On” was released, the Vietnam War was still raging in 1971 and Martin Luther King Jr had been assassinated Three years before. In a sense, this album was his contribution to the world, and his way to adress certain situations.
He needed a lot of courage because, at the time Marvin gaye was a sex symbol and it was very risky to change his image. Berry Gordy even said that it was "the worst record he's ever heard." BUt nothing could change Marvin gaye 's mind .
What's Going On was an immediate success, is regarded as one of the landmark recordings in pop music history, and one of the greatest albums of the 20th century.
To know more about the subject:
What's Going On Album Review". Rolling Stone. May 5, 1971. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
Marvin Gaye". GRAMMY.com. June 4, 2019. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
Williams, Chris (October 1, 2012). "'The Man Was a Genius': Tales From Making Marvin Gaye's Final Album". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
Marvin Gaye Biography". The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
Charnock, Ruth (2015). "Things Aint Like What They Used to Be: Marvin Gaye and The Making of What's Going On" (PDF). United Academics Journal of Social Sciences. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 20, 2015.
Adelle Platon (July 14, 2016). "Marvin Gaye's Family on Board for 'What's Going On?' Documentary". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 15, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
Dyson, Eric Michael (2004). Mercy Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye. New York/Philadelphia: Basic Civitas
Berry, William Earl (February 1, 1973). "Marvin Gaye: Inner City Musical Poet". Jet.