[ ]   [ ]   [ ]                        [ ]      [ ]   [ ]
Marvin Gaye — What's Going On
Album: What's Going On
Avg rating:
8.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 3942









Released: 1971
Length: 3:44
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, oh (oh)

Picket lines ''(sister)'' and picket signs ''(sister)''
Don't punish me ''(sister)'' with brutality ''(sister)''
Talk to me ''(sister)'', so you can see ''(sister)''

Oh, what's going on ''(what's going on)''
What's going on ''(what's going on)''
Yeah, what's going on ''(what's going on)''
Oh, what's going on ''(what's going on)''

Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply 'cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today

Picket lines ''(brother)'' and picket signs ''(brother)''
Don't punish me ''(brother)'' with brutality ''(brother)''
Come on, talk to me ''(brother)'', so you can see ''(brother)''

What's going on ''(what's going on)''
Yeah, what's going on ''(what's going on)''
Tell me what's going on ''(what's going on)''
I'll tell you what's going on ''(what's going on)''
Comments (539)add comment
 kingart wrote:
The Creator ought to put this and Mercy Me on a loud, permanent loop in the Oval Office and the 5th Ave. Throne Room of what's his nuts Der Trumper. 

Sorry, that's political. It's oozing out of my pores.
If you're offended, have a beer and email me in the morning.
 
 
Thank you for doing your part to make civil war the answer...  Marvin, were he alive, wouldn't approve. 
Class, absolute class RP. Charlie 'Bird' Parker into Marvin Gaye (14.07.2020). Sheer genius B&R!!!

Gaye intervened in a fight between his parents on the afternoon of April 1, 1984 in the family house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, and he became involved in a physical altercation with his father Marvin Gay Sr. Gay Sr. shot Gaye twice, once in the chest, piercing his heart, and then into Gaye’s shoulder. The shooting took place in Gaye's bedroom at 12:38 p.m. The first shot proved fatal. Gaye was pronounced dead at 1:01 p.m. after his body arrived at California Hospital Medical Center, one day short of his 45th birthday.
 LindyLuv wrote:
Gaye was undoubtedly the greatest soul singer of his generation, but it's also sad that he was developing a social conscience, as in this song, "What's Goin' On," and is soon after gunned down by his own father.
 
His father put up with the drugging. the chaos long enough, and at the end Marvin was violent.
9--->10
If not now, when?
Absolutely appropriate for the times, then and now.
Almost 50 years later and this song means more than ever!! Lets love each other...
Damn, Bill. 
James Jamerson's bass playing was pure genius. 
Father shot him dead this day (April 1st) in 1984.
RIP Marvin Gaye.
timeless. in the days of the corona virus, its curious to see that he died from gunshoot wound back in 1984
Wow,  more "Outstanding" stuff...
Bill!...Amazing segue from  Charlie Parker's Bloomdido to Marvin and this gem!
We need this sentiment today
The correct answer is 10.

"Everything is everything."
Ever notice how musically interesting the bass is in this song? It is both the melodic and rhythmic center of this song (apart from Mr. Gaye, of course). James Jamerson was one of a kind.
Musical and vocal beauty throughout. Glorious.
 cc_rider wrote:
oldviolin wrote:
I get in my time machine and go back and witness that lessonless war and live those race riots all over again and wonder...
...why we're doing it all over again! I wish this song was not relevant anymore! I wish us stupid humans would learn from our history, and not repeat the same savage mistakes. I wish Marvin Gaye was still around, too... c.
 
I wrote a dissertation long ago about the Vietnam War and why it was lost.  The biggest and best documented reason was that America poured more and more money into a cesspool of corruption that they themselves created within South Vietnamese society. 

Documents are now coming out about the ridiculous levels of graft and corruption in Afghanistan during our time there.  No lessons were learned in all that we lost in 'Nam.  So we do it all over again, and again, and again.

The more things change...
There should be a biopic for this national treasure and Jesse L. Martin should play him.
 meatmike wrote:
What's going on?
 
Unfortunately, the same crap. Maybe worse.
The pinnacle of his creativity.
Truly one of the greatest albums of the 70's; and perhaps one of the greatest ever.
Some things just get better with age.
What a great classic song!

Greatgreat segue from John Coltrane's "Naima". Who opened this with the sax? 

Trane died at 40, Marvin was gone at 44--such a shame.
What's going on?
Today (April 1st) is the 35th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's death. 
I just have to say something here, " Father father, we don't need to escalate. "  

 As the story goes, Marvin handed his father the gun that ended his life.

A self fulfilling prophecy?
 benhardt57 wrote:
Theme song for ultra gun controlled Chicago.
 

Only Chicago?

307 mass shootings across the US in first 312 days off 2018, i.e. one each day.
https://www.businessinsider.co...

Give that gun control nonsense a rest.

True yesterday.

True today.

True tomorrow.
1232 songs rated
Only 28 are a perfect 10.
This is one of them. 
 Tang2 wrote:
Ah Marvin... every line you sing is so sexy and true.  Rest in peace. {#Daisy}
 
I agree  I lower my rating 3
The rating system is broken.  It needs 1-10 and then Marvin Gaye.  This song doesn't fit in 1-10.

This entire album is transcendental.
Pure perfection! I miss MG.
Ah Marvin... every line you sing is so sexy and true.  Rest in peace. {#Daisy}
Theme song for ultra gun controlled Chicago.
 the_jake wrote:
Back to Back?  It played for me that way today.  Never happened before.  But I do have it rated at 10, so its good with me.
 
Yep...clearly worth playing twice ! {#Yes}
 the_jake wrote:
Back to Back?  It played for me that way today.
 
Okay, weird....I’m watching twilight zone and listening tonRPBduring commercials. One song ended and the same song started again....
dun dun dun!!!
 the_jake wrote:
Back to Back?
 
So very nice we got to hear it twice.


OR


"Was it the same cat?"


Back to Back?  It played for me that way today.  Never happened before.  But I do have it rated at 10, so its good with me.
 Sloggydog wrote:

For me its a godlike timeless classic and part of an album that is a touchstone for it's era politically.  I already loved it and then I saw a documentary about Marvin doing a concert days after a nearby riot and despite warnings from police his gig might start a riot.  Instead his gig was credited with easing tensions.

 
I'm with you on this one, Sloggydog....make LOVE not WAR, right?  Hell....I've been at 9 too long on this GEM...so 9→10.

PEACE and LONG LIVE RP!!

Ahhhhh...how good is this song? An absolute masterpiece!
 Tomasni wrote:
To me this is 7 - Quite Likeable

 
For me its a godlike timeless classic and part of an album that is a touchstone for it's era politically.  I already loved it and then I saw a documentary about Marvin doing a concert days after a nearby riot and despite warnings from police his gig might start a riot.  Instead his gig was credited with easing tensions.
To me this is 7 - Quite Likeable
Can not be overplayed, sweet Soul Groove, Eternal Verity of Smooth Humanity.    Listen to this and then this.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDTXljIqxRE


Hard to believe Barry Gordy didn't want to release this album...  One of the all time greats, RIP Marvin!
 handyrae wrote, way back when:
The ratings graph about says it all!
 
So true!
 willmcnaught wrote:
Timeless! {#Notworthy}

 
Timeless, yes!  What a great message, and really too bad that this isn't the 'default' thought process for EVERYONE on earth.  Why should we kill each and destroy when we can love and create instead?  (unfortunately I think $$ has a lot to do with it)

This is a 10 rated track for me


look at that photo of Marvin while diggin' this so seriously gorgeous piece of classic music, does that not grab you
 zedstation wrote:
1971 and 1972; did the music released in those two years create the template for generations/decades to come?

 
frantically bobbing positive emoji
1971 and 1972; did the music released in those two years create the template for generations/decades to come?


 GProkopo wrote:

Lem Barney, too.

 
HOF #20.

56 career INTs.  Many of them off Minn. QBs.
 WonderLizard wrote:

Jamerson's bass on this track is iconic. The story is that he came in from a night of carousing, hung over, read through the charts once, and played the most amazing bass track ever. Years later after Motown moved to LA, a local wise guy—having heard the story about how it was invented—bet Jamerson a good deal of money that he couldn't recreate it on the spot. Jamerson collected.

 
Yes, that is really an outstanding bass track, very melodic and tasty without "over-doing it": perfect.

The Creator ought to put this and Mercy Me on a loud, permanent loop in the Oval Office and the 5th Ave. Throne Room of what's his nuts Der Trumper. 

Sorry, that's political. It's oozing out of my pores.
If you're offended, have a beer and email me in the morning.
 
 Skydog wrote:
Detroit Lions Mel Farr was in the back with the other voices
 

 
Lem Barney, too.
 Skydog wrote:

CKLW in the 1960's was the best AM radio in the land. 
Motown and Beatles and everything in between.

 
I grew up in burbs of Detroit, fond fond memories of CKLW,  and growing up in the Motown sound. A very good documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" amazing video! Worth seeing. {#Notworthy}
Timeless! {#Notworthy}
 
Posted: Sep 24, 2015 - 07:52
 

 oldsaxon wrote:

Where are today's voices? We have fallen into the trap and I wish...hope, really...that someone will stand up and say these things again.

  Proclivities wrote:

There are probably still a lot of people saying "these things"; whether or not anyone is listening is another story.

 

so true
 Skydog wrote:
so sad so sad
45 years later and the lyrics sound like they were written today 
 
Too true. This one and Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) also.
 Skydog wrote:
CKLW in the 1960's was the best AM radio in the land. 
Motown and Beatles and everything in between.
 
Have to agree. Didn't hear much beyond top 40 on WJR back then.

This is one of those songs I remember hearing blare from a car speaker hanging from the visor on the school bus with an AM radio sitting precariously on the dashboard.

This is sweet music to my soul. 
This album is soul music's Sgt Pepper
 Agreed. In my top three albums of all time.

kimschoice wrote:

Right on....Another 10 is Mercy Mercy Me on my short list

 


 dduncan wrote:
One of the very few that rates 10, without reservation.

 
Right on....Another 10 is Mercy Mercy Me on my short list
{#Notworthy} TEN
 Skydog wrote:
Detroit Lions Mel Farr was in the back with the other voices
 

 
"Right on, brutha!"
 Skydog wrote:
so sad so sad
45 years later and the lyrics sound like they were written today 

 
Not entirely

Everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply 'cause our hair is long

but replace hair with beard and it will hold for at least another decade
 Skydog wrote:
so sad so sad
45 years later and the lyrics sound like they were written today 

 
So true. Composed by Obie Benson
 Skydog wrote:
Detroit Lions Mel Farr was in the back with the other voices
 

 
Cool!
Detroit Lions Mel Farr was in the back with the other voices
 
One of the very few that rates 10, without reservation.
so sad so sad
45 years later and the lyrics sound like they were written today 
Ten.
Fashions, moral and cultural norms, and even tides of senseless persecution, violence, and war come and go, but this song resonates!
 fitmartin wrote:
Memories of CKLW Windsor/Detroit radio at the cottage!
 
CKLW in the 1960's was the best AM radio in the land. 
Motown and Beatles and everything in between.
Just don't get better. . . .
 We all miss you dude.
{#Laughing}
we know about guns and violence here. What's goin on?
 LizK wrote:

Marvin & his drugs had made his father's life a living hell. And no one regretted that shooting more than he.

 
This is not really true.  Marvin Jr. was no saint and had problems with paranoia and drug abuse, but his father shot him in cold blood.

Marvin's father was an abusive man and it was his abuse of Marvin's mother that lead Jr to confront him physically.  Shortly after the physical altercation, Marvin Sr. returned to Jr's room and shot him in the heart.  Then he fired another round into his son from point blank range.  Marvin Sr. swore if any child of his ever put a hand on him he would kill him/her.  And so he did.




Right on. Right on, bother.

Right on baby. 
 jchrise wrote:
Such prophetic words he wrote in this song...

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate

Sadly, his father didn't heed the words. Makes me shiver.

 
Marvin & his drugs had made his father's life a living hell. And no one regretted that shooting more than he.
44 years gone!
Is this song ONE MINUTE past its expiration date?
Just how stupid, or how brilliant, can human beings be? 

 
The ratings graph about says it all!
 STLBubbles wrote:
{#Roflol}Never never never ever get tired of this...thank you.

 

Yes. I believe this classic will live through the test of time.  So wonderful.  What a fantastic artist Marvin was, and so missed.
 oldsaxon wrote:

Where are today's voices? We have fallen into the trap and I wish...hope, really...that someone will stand up and say these things again.

 
There are probably still a lot of people saying "these things"; whether or not anyone is listening is another story.
About the sax intro (wiki):

Fontaine's open alto saxophone riff on the song was not originally intended. When Gaye heard the playback to what Fontaine thought was simply a demo, Gaye let him go. When Fontaine said he was "just goofing around", Gaye replied, "well, you goof off exquisitely. Thank you."

So the sax intro we hear was "just" a loose warmup. I like that.
And I generally love when artists go with what works and breathes, instead of holding on to a thoughtout plan.
Heart over mind.

{#Cool} 
Memories of CKLW Windsor/Detroit radio at the cottage!
Right On Brother - Right On
 idiot_wind wrote:
Very timely to hear this song; Thinking of what happened in the church in S. Carolina last week,
 
Hard to believe that sh*t is still going on.
Very timely to hear this song; Thinking of what happened in the church in S. Carolina last week,
Rock & Roll
 Pedro1874 wrote:
Just checked my original album (vinyl) bought on release, 1971 Bill.  It was recorded in 1970 but according to Wiki "Berry Gordy refused its release due to his feelings of the song being "too political" for radio.Gaye responded by going on strike from recording until the label released the song.Released in 1971, it reached number one on the R&B charts within a month, staying there for five weeks." 42/43 years old - still sounds so fresh and original and sadly, an indictment on the world, the lyrics are still very pertinent in 2013.{#Notworthy}

 
can you dig it
 Steely_D wrote:

Solid.

 
Right on brother, right on
 Steely_D wrote:
Solid.
 
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/Mod_Squad_1971.JPG/200px-Mod_Squad_1971.JPG
 dragon1952 wrote:
Anybody ever count how many times 'right on' is said over this entire album? {#Cheesygrin}
 
Solid.
Okay, I see there actually exists precisely one individual here on RP who believes Marvin's masterpiece is "sucko barfo." Precisely one. Pray tell nave, explain thyself. Come on, sate my morbid curiosity! Hahahaa.
 mkrueck wrote:


Why would it be 'sad that he was developing a social conscience'?
Please enlighten us. 

 
I think she meant that what was "sad" was that he was killed shortly after "developing a social conscience".  However, Marvin was killed about thirteen years after this song was released, not "shortly after".
 LindyLuv wrote:
Gaye was undoubtedly the greatest soul singer of his generation, but it's also sad that he was developing a social conscience, as in this song, "What's Goin' On," and is soon after gunned down by his own father.
 

Why would it be 'sad that he was developing a social conscience'?
Please enlighten us. 
Such prophetic words he wrote in this song...

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate

Sadly, his father didn't heed the words. Makes me shiver.
{#Roflol}Never never never ever get tired of this...thank you.
Gaye was undoubtedly the greatest soul singer of his generation, but it's also sad that he was developing a social conscience, as in this song, "What's Goin' On," and is soon after gunned down by his own father.
Anybody ever count how many times 'right on' is said over this entire album? {#Cheesygrin}
This song is part of a suite that needs playing in its entirety, daily.
 bokey wrote:
This is song is timeless.

 
Where are today's voices? We have fallen into the trap and I wish...hope, really...that someone will stand up and say these things again.
 bokey wrote:
This is song is timeless.

 our global message!
This is song is timeless.
Just like an Old Milwaukee, Just doesn't get any better than this.
After debating a 9 or 10 for the Wheel earlier, I wondered just who rates a 10 for me, and then this came on…question answered.
Everybody in my alien space craft loves this classic song...
 oldfart48 wrote:
almost makes up for that bowie blatt

 
Nothing could make up for that.
almost makes up for that bowie blatt
Truly, this is a great, great song. 
Ha. I only marked this a 9. What was I thinking? Error rectified.
Marvin, still on my mind, and just wondering how he's not in RP's
top classic 60.
10, next
Love Marvin, love Marvin & Tammy, but this is my favorite album of his and one of my all-time faves…grabs my heart and soul, love the vinyl and the liner notes and driven to pull it out and read them again. Ah, the joys of liner notes! Thank you 2rkwood for the link to the insightful Mental Floss article back in 9/13.  I think many of us do know "What's Going On". We just don't know what to do about it.                  Yes, Love . Peace . RP
 kcar wrote:
The saxophone intro on “What’s Going On” was a fluke. When saxophonist Eli Fontaine heard the song for the first time, he improvised the riff for fun. When Fontaine then signaled that he was ready for a real take, Gaye told him to go home; they already had what they needed on tape. Fontaine protested that he’d just been goofing around. “Well,” Gaye replied, “you goof exquisitely.”
 
!!
 2rkwood wrote:
Really interesting-- and somewhat sad-- history of this song here:

https://mentalfloss.com/article/30341/101-masterpieces-marvin-gaye%E2%80%99s-what%E2%80%99s-going

 
I had no idea Berry Gordy was such an obstacle to this song and record's release. It makes you wonder what Marvin would have been able to accomplish if his life had been less troubled.
I was fortunate to see him in Oakland a few decades ago... maybe early '70s. It was awesome, for sure! {#Cheers}
{#Notworthy}
Marvin Gaye. 'Nuf said.
Just as this started to play I came across this post on Gawker, wow.   https://gawker.com/marvin-gayes-lost-passport-found-in-record-bought-at-g-1515865752?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_facebook&utm_source=gawker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow
Lovelove this song, but we could hear a bit more of Marvin's work?