Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye's What's Going On

In 1971, Marvin Gaye made a career left turn with the album What's Going On, adopting a socially conscious sound that addressed war, racism, and drugs. 45 years later, What's Going On remains as relevant as ever. Jim and Greg present a Classic Album Dissection of the iconic protest record.

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Marvin Gaye What's Going On

In 1971, Marvin Gaye released his iconic album What's Going On, that is beloved by many critics and fans alike. The record is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, and there are countless reasons why What's Going On is worthy of a Classic Album Dissection. This album marked a huge departure for Gaye, as most of his catalogue at the time had mostly consisted of love ballads and upbeat tracks. On What's Going On, Gaye wrote and sang about polarizing and controversial topics at the time, like racism, the environment, drugs and the Vietnam War. He also wrote about his personal struggles, such as difficulties within his marriage and the heartbreaking death of his duet partner and close friend Tammi Terrell. Along with the powerful lyrical messages he delivered, the sonic elements of record are just as impactful. Marvin Gaye enlisted talented musicians such as The Funk Brothers and also the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to create a magnificent blend of sounds that could evoke emotion from a brick wall.

Greg and Jim explain what was going on in the country at the time of the album's creation and release, and talk about what Gaye was dealing with personally. They'll also chat with NFL Hall of Fame member and retired Detroit Lion Lem Barney about his experience working on the title track which led him to receive a gold record.

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Common Black America Again

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Greg

“Angel From Montgomery”John Prine

Dylan is not America's only great literary songwriter. John Prine, now 70, has been championed by legendary figures from Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, and Dylan himself. Born in Maywood, Illinois, Prine moved to Chicago as a young man, performing three times a week at an open mic night at a club called The Fifth Peg where he was discovered. Even at that young age, Greg feels his songs featured an astounding amount of empathy. That's best seen in "Angel From Montgomery," written from the perspective of a 47-year-old woman trapped in a marriage. Greg nominates Prine's 1970 live performance at the Fifth Peg, when he was still an unknown, to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Featured Songs

  1. Marvin Gaye, What's Going On, What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  2. Marvin Gaye, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You, Tamla, 1964
  3. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, You're All I Need, Tamla, 1968
  4. Gladys Knight & the Pips, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Everybody Needs Love, Soul, 1967
  5. Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, In the Groove, Tamla, 1968
  6. Marvin Gaye, Abraham, Martin & John, That's the Way Love Is, Tamla, 1970
  7. Curtis Mayfield, (Don‘t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below We're All Going To Go, Curtis, Curtom, 1970
  8. Marvin Gaye, What's Going On - Rhythm ‘N’ Strings Mix/The Foundation, What's Going On (Deluxe Edition), Tamla, 2001
  9. Marvin Gaye, God Is Love, What's Going On (Single), Tamla, 1971
  10. Marvin Gaye, Chained, What's Going On - 40th Anniversary (Super Deluxe), Tamla, 2011
  11. The Supremes, Come See About Me, Where Did Our Love Go, Motown, 1964
  12. Marvin Gaye, What's Happening Brother, What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  13. Marvin Gaye, Flyin' High (In The Friendly Sky), What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  14. Marvin Gaye, Save The Children, What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  15. Marvin Gaye, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  16. Marvin Gaye, Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  17. Marvin Gaye, Doing My Thing, What's Going On - 40th Anniversary (Super Deluxe), Tamla, 2011
  18. Stevie Wonder, You Haven‘t Done Nothin’, Fulfillingness' First Finale, Tamla, 1974
  19. Michael Kiwanuka, Love & Hate, Love & Hate, Interscope, 2016
  20. Solange, Don't Touch My Hair, A Seat at the Table, Columbia, 2016
  21. Marvin Gaye, Symphony - Demo Version, What's Going On - 40th Anniversary (Super Deluxe), Tamla, 2011
  22. Common, Black America Again, Black America Again, Def Jam, 2016
  23. Common, Letter to the Free, Black America Again, Def Jam, 2016
  24. Common, Pyramids, Black America Again, Def Jam, 2016
  25. John Prine, Angel From Montgomery, The Singing Mailman Delivers, Oh Boy, 1970
  26. Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), That Motown Sound, Motown, 1965
  27. Tommy Sands, Ring My Phone, Steady Date with Tommy Sands, Capitol, 1957
  28. The Handsome Family, Hunter Green, Last Days of Wonder, Carrot Top, 2006
  29. Atmosphere, Became, The Family Sign, Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2011
  30. Peter Gabriel, Darkness, Up, Geffen, 2002