Benson later said Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, "added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song... we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it. When Gaye initially thought the song's moody feel would be appropriate to be recorded by The Originals, Benson convinced Gaye to record it as his own song. Watch official video, print or download text in PDF. In 1999, music writers Paul Gambaccini and Kevin Howlett listed the song #74 on BBC Radio 2's Songs of the Century. Lauper's cover was a modest hit worldwide. It is the single version that most often appears on Lauper compilations. On the album version, the song starts off with a series of gunshots in reference to the Vietnam War while the single release is a remix with an alternate vocal used in the intro. [45] The album contains the single along with eight additional remixes. RIP precious Marvin. Before presenting the song to Gordy, he produced a false fade to the song, bringing the song back for a few seconds after it was initially to have ended. [13] Gaye also added his own instrumentation, playing piano and keyboards while also playing a box drum to help accentuate Chet Forest's drumming. [17] The song eventually became a huge success, reaching the top of the charts within a month in March of the year, staying at number-one for five weeks on the Billboard R&B charts and one week at number-one on the Cashbox pop chart. The song eventually sold more than two million copies, becoming then the fastest-selling Motown single at the time. The What's Going On album takes on many issues, including the environment ("Mercy Mercy Me") and poverty ("Inner City Blues"). The song marked Gaye's departure from the Motown Sound of his previous output, towards more personal material. The record was produced by Steve Levine and the executive producers were Fraser Kennedy and Jon Dee. It was his first album to credit him as a producer and to credit Motown's in-house studio band, the session musicians known as Benson, a member of Motown vocal group the Four Tops, was on tour with the band and as their bus arrived in San Francisco, he saw the police attacking a crowd of hippies over a disused urban lot called People’s Park. “What’s Going On” is so much Marvin Gaye’s song, it’s a superfluity to cover it (a sound file in circulation on YouTube and also used hauntingly in Spike Lee’s new film Da 5 Bloods , featuring Gaye’s isolated vocal track, illustrates his extraordinary singing) — but dozens have tried. Looking at this song for a history assignment, it’s really good! However, when he heard it, Gaye was so impressed with the double-lead feel that he kept it, influencing his later recordings where he mastered vocal multi-layering adding in three different vocal parts. [10] The opening soprano saxophone line, provided by musician Eli Fontaine, was not originally intended. [10], sales+streaming figures based on certification alone, The song was reviewed by Slant magazine as a song that presented a contradictory sound, with the song's mournful tone going in contrast to the party atmosphere of the vocal chatter. General CommentThis song means so much to me, not least because my father used to have this playing all the time when i was a kid. All singers who participated in the project are: C. J. Lewis, Andrew Roachford, Yazz, Aswad, Edwin Starr, Peter Cunnah of D Ream, Kim Appleby, MAD Jones of BAD, Rozalla, Tony Di Bart, Paul Young, Paul Carrack, Angie Brown of Ramona 55, Jimmy Ruffin, Omar Lye-Fook, Apache Indian, Worlds Apart, Kaos, The Pasadenas, Gus Isidore, Jools Holland, Mark King of Level 42, Nik Kershaw, Larry Adler and Dannii Minogue. In New Zealand it went Gold for selling over 5,000 units. His tolerance was incredible. Bless Michael Jackson as he tired to help heal the world before he was taken way too soon…Marvin carry on…. [14] Later Gaye brought Lem Barney and Mel Farr as well as Bobby Rogers of The Miracles to record the song's background vocal track. Berry Gordy tried to block its release, calling it “the worst thing I’ve ever heard.” [10], Anxious for Marvin Gaye product, Balk got Motown's sales vice president Barney Ales to release the song, releasing it on January 17, 1971, pressing 100,000 copies of the song and promoting the single to radio stations across the country. Picket lines (Sister) and picket signs (Sister), Picket lines (Brother) and picket signs (Brother), Don't punish me (Brother) with brutality (Brother), What’s Going On is an exquisite plea for peace on Earth, sung by a man at the height of crisis. The song was titled “What’s Up”, despite the phrase not appearing in its lyrics, to avoid confusion with the Marvin Gaye song “What’s Going On”. [3], The song topped Detroit's Metro Times list of the 100 Greatest Detroit Songs of All Time,[4] and in 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the fourth-greatest song of all time; in its updated 2011 list, the song remained at that position. “What’s Going On” is a very powerful political song performed by the late American singer Marvin Gaye. What's going on? He was a gifted song writer/artist who was temporarily down and out when his “father” shot him in cold blood. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the cover peaked at number 27, and it additionally reached number 24 on both the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and Rhythmic charts. The album features 185 musicians from 31 countries, and includes performances from Keith Richards, Andres Calamaro, Toots Hibbert from Toots & The Maytals, Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Keb Mo, and Taj Mahal in addition to a song produced by Jackson Browne. Buy it on Amazon. Inspired by tales of the Vietnam War brought back by his brother Frankie, Gaye wrote the lines, “Brother, brother, brother/ There’s far too many of you dying.” In 1994, the song was covered in the Music Relief '94. Respected Motown arranger and conductor David Van De Pitte said later to Ben Edmonds that Jamerson "always kept a bottle of [the Greek spirit] Metaxa in his bass case. On hearing a playback of the song, Gaye asked his engineer Kenneth Sands to give him his two vocal leads to compare what he wanted to use for the song's release. [8] While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city's People's Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as "Bloody Thursday". In March 1987, it was released as the third single from the album. [6] It was also listed at number fourteen on VH-1's 100 Greatest Rock Songs. “What’s Going On” was a response to a war that claimed the lives of over 3 million people – more than half of them Vietnamese civilians. / What’s Going On / All You Need Is Love / Imagine / Man in the Mirror, What’s Going On (Mick Guzauski’s Pop Mix), What’s Going On (Diddy’s Bad Boy OG Remix), Medley II (Live at the London Palladium, 1977). The collaboration was a success worldwide, peaking within the top ten on the charts of Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom and the top twenty on the charts of Flanders, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland. Learn to play guitar by chord / tabs using chord diagrams, transpose the key, watch video lessons and much more. Comment and share your favourite lyrics. This was released as a single on Island Records. The lyrics of the song are inspired by violence and police brutality in America. What's up 25 years and I'm alive here still Trying to get up that great big hill of hope For a destination I realized quickly when I knew I should That the world was made up of this Brotherhood of man For whatever that means Upset, he discussed what he witnessed with friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who in turn wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson's concerns. One question led to another. The remake of "What's Going On" was the first of the Rock Aid Armenia releases in aid of those suffering from the 1988 Armenian earthquake. (At the very least, it was a groundbreaking experiment in collating a pseudo-classical suite of free-flowing songs.) On October 30, 2001, a group of popular recording artists under the name "Artists Against AIDS Worldwide" released an album containing multiple versions of "What's Going On" to benefit AIDS programs in Africa and other impoverished regions. Gaye met the deadline, delivering the album What’s Going On, one of the greatest in pop history. Groove Remix), Love It or Leave It Alone / Welcome to Jamrock, Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down, MasterCard Priceless Surprises Presents Gwen Stefani, Gwen Stefani's You Make It Feel Like Christmas, I'm Gonna Be Alright (Track Masters Remix), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=What%27s_Going_On_(Marvin_Gaye_song)&oldid=994089261, Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs number-one singles, Charity singles following the September 11 attacks, Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, Music videos directed by Jake Scott (director), Pages using infobox song with unknown parameters, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2018, Certification Table Entry usages for United Kingdom, Pages using certification Table Entry with streaming figures, Pages using certification Table Entry with streaming footnote, Album articles lacking alt text for covers, Singlechart usages for Billboardrandbhiphop, Certification Table Entry usages for New Zealand, Pages using certification Table Entry with sales figures, Pages using certification Table Entry with sales footnote, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, June 1, July 6, 7 and 10, September 21, 1970, Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers, The, "What's Going On" (Single Version) - 3:51, "What's Going On" (Dupri Original Mix) – 4:20, "What's Going On" (The London Version) – 3:57, "What's Going On" (Moby's Version) – 4:38, "What's Going On" (Fred Durst's Reality Check Mix) – 5:16, "What's Going On" (The Neptunes This One's for You Mix) – 5:00, "What's Going On" (Junior Vasquez's Club Mix) – 9:34, "What's Going On" (MK Kitchen-Aid Dub) – 6:27, "What's Going On" (Dupri Alternate Extended Mix) – 4:46, "What's Going On" (Dupri Original Mix) - 4:19, "What's Going On" (Moby's Version) - 4:36, "What's Going On" (Moby's Version) – 4:36, This page was last edited on 14 December 2020, at 01:47. 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