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My Favourite Track and Album "Whats Going On"

I would like to share the origin of my favourite track of all time Marvin Gayes "Whats Going On"

The initial idea for “What’s Going On” came to Four Tops member Obie Benson when he was in San Francisco in 1969.

Benson shaped his tune with fellow Motown writer Al Cleveland before approaching The Four Tops amongst others before Marvin was considered. This was simply because "Whats Going On" was a protest song and the record companies generally at this time thought it was inappropriate in the atmosphere of the Vietnam war.

The spring of 1970 was a dark time for Marvin Gaye. His beloved duet partner Tammi Terrell had died after a three-year struggle with a brain tumor. His brother Frankie had returned from Vietnam with horror stories that moved Marvin to tears. And at Motown, Marvin was advised against Social issues in his music.

Marvin Gaye however thought otherwise he embraced the song contributing and leaving his own inimitable stamp all over it. Strangely enough the lyric at the intro was a mistake whereby 2 separate intros were mistakenly played at the same time overlapping each other. Marvin heard this and insisted it stay in the final master copy. The Detroit Lions football team contributed with the street chatter on "Whats Going On" the distinctive chatter in the background was a resounding success. Ironically Berry Gordy (Motown Boss) did not like the song lol however Stevie Wonder supported Marvin and the track was released on Jan 20th 1971 selling 100,000 copies in the first week .The single paved the way for my favourite album of all time which was released in May 1971.

I remember the first time I saw the album it was in my bedroom I shared with my brother who had just bought the album. I was 13 and my brother 15 at the time. I do not feel that I will ever experience a track or an album that has had such an impact on my life. RIP Marvin who died on the 1st of April 1984.



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