Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)

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256 – Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
Written by Al Cleveland, Marvin Gaye and Renaldo “Obie” Benson
Produced by Marvin Gaye
Label – Tamla

This incredible song proved to be as important to Tamla as it did to the singer’s career. Years of wrestling for greater control of his released output had finally paid of, and Gaye used this to produce his own agenda of world weary socio-political comment and angst at his own complex personal situation. The song and album changed the face of Tamla Motown as it brought about the end of the traditional “Motown” sound. For better, or worse, the label would never be the same again.

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2 responses to “Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)

  1. This was the first 1001 album i reviewed!
    I enjoyed the story about how the label didn’t like it but then it went on to be an all-timer, with this track certainly deserving of a 500 greatest songs inclusion!

    • I agree. I don’t think it’s Gaye’s best song by any means, but in terms of its significance in terms of re-defining the relationship between artist and record company and the singer’s will to release music on his own terms is vital.

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