Insights provided on the recording of What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye; plus you can enjoy the album!!
Marvin Gaye’s music and image started shortly after he was discharged out of the Air Force for mental issues (The Smoking Gun, 2005). In the 1960’s prior to recording of “What’s Going On” Marvin was more of a Jazz and Doo Wop enthusiast and had no intentions on becoming involved in R&B music. Gaye’s initial musical inspirations came in the form of groups such as The Moonglows. He attributed hearing the song “God Only Knows” as his musical awakening (*1).
There were many social and national concerns that influenced the lyrical content of What’s Going On. Many thought that Vietnam was a meaningless war. Police engaged in beating protestors at an antiwar rally at Berkeley University. Gaye’s brother also had been adversely affected by being in the war (Lynskey, 2011).
While the Four Tops were travelling on tour Obie Benson (one of the members of the group) witnessed the beatings…
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