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Encyclopedia > What's Going On (song)
""What's Going On""
""What's Going On"" cover
Single by Marvin Gaye
from the album What's Going On
Released January 20, 1971
Format Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
Recorded June 10, 1970, Hitsville USA (Studio A)
Genre Soul
Length 3:40
Label Tamla
T 54201
Writer(s) Al Cleveland
Renaldo Benson
Marvin Gaye
Producer(s) Marvin Gaye
Peak chart positions
Marvin Gaye singles chronology
"The End Of Our Road"
(1970)
"What's Going On"
(1971)
"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"
(1971)

"What's Going On" is a song written by Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Al Cleveland, and Marvin Gaye. It was the title track of Gaye's groundbreaking 1971 Motown album What's Going On, and it became a hit single that reached #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the R&B charts. A pondering of the troubles and problems of the world, the song proved a timely and relatable release, and it marked Gaye's departure from the pop stylings of 1960s-era Motown towards more personal material. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the fourth greatest song of all time. Image File history File links Whatsgoingonsingle. ... A collection of various CD singles In music, a single is a short recording of one or more separate tracks. ... Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... Whats Going On is an album by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. ... January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... A gramophone record, (also phonograph record - often simply record) is an analog sound recording medium: a flat disc rotating at a constant angular velocity, with inscribed spiral grooves in which a stylus or needle rides. ... This article is about the year 45. ... June 10 is the 161st day of the year (162nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... Hitsville U.S.A. was the nickname given to Motown Records first headquarters. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Soul music (disambiguation). ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Motown Records, Inc. ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... Al Clevland was an African-American songwriter for the Motown label. ... Obie Benson (third from left) and The Four Tops, on the cover for the UK single release of their 1967 hit Bernadette. Renaldo Obie Benson (June 14, 1936 - July 1, 2005) was an African-American soul and R&B singer and songwriter. ... Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... In the music industry, a record producer (or music producer) has many roles, among them controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, organizing and scheduling production budget and resources, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. ... Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... A record chart, also known as a music chart, is a method of ranking music according to popularity during a given period of time. ... The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. ... Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, formerly known as Top Soul Singles, Top Black Singles, and Top R&B Singles (before the hip-hop term was added in the late 1990s), is a chart released weekly by Billboard in the United States. ... Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) was the second single off Marvin Gayes legendary 1971 album, Whats Going On. ... Obie Benson (third from left) and The Four Tops, on the cover for the UK single release of their 1967 hit Bernadette. Renaldo Obie Benson (June 14, 1936 - July 1, 2005) was an African-American soul and R&B singer and songwriter. ... Al Clevland was an African-American songwriter for the Motown label. ... Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... Motown Records, also known as Tamla-Motown outside of the United States, is a record label originally based out of Detroit, Michigan (Motor City), where it achieved widespread international success. ... Whats Going On is an album by American soul singer Marvin Gaye. ... The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. ... Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, formerly known as Top Soul Singles, Top Black Singles, and Top R&B Singles (before the hip-hop term was added in the late 1990s), is a chart released weekly by Billboard in the United States. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... This article is about the magazine. ...


The song has been covered by multiple artists, notably Cyndi Lauper whose version reached #12 on the pop singles charts in 1987. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

About the song

Designed with a somber jazz-inspired tone, "What's Going On" addressed the political and social troubles of the world in a soulful, introspective way, contrasting to the more dramatic socially conscious records made by Sly & the Family Stone and The Temptations over the previous three years. The song originated from an idea by Four Tops member Renaldo "Obie" Benson, who, witnessing stressful conditions while on tour in Europe, began writing a song to express his feelings. Once back in the United States, Benson and Motown songwriter Al Cleveland prepared an initial rough version of the song, and invited Marvin Gaye as a third collaborator on the song. Gaye, depressed from the death of singing partner Tammi Terrell and strongly considering a retirement from performing, planned to produce "What's Going On" as a single for The Originals, but Benson and Cleveland convinced Gaye to record it himself. For other article subjects named Jazz see jazz (disambiguation). ... Sly & the Family Stone was an American rock band from San Francisco, California. ... The Temptations (often abbreviated as The Tempts or The Temps) are an American Motown singing group whose repertoire has included doo-wop, soul, psychedelia, funk, disco, R&B, and adult contemporary. ... The Four Tops are an American musical group, who helped define the Motown sound of the 1960s. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... Tammi Terrell (born Thomasina Montgomery) (April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970) was an American Motown singer in the 1960s, best known for her duets with Marvin Gaye. ... The Originals in a 1960s promotional shoot The Originals were a successful Motown R&B and soul group during the 1960s and 1970s. ...


On the finished track, as Gaye musically ponders on the state of the world and the Vietnam war, a party can be heard going on in the background, from which Gaye's voice is purposely detached. The partygoers are portrayed by Detroit Lions players Mel Farr and Lem Barney, whose acquaintances Gaye had made during his failed 1970 tryout with the team. City Detroit, Michigan Team colors Honolulu Blue, Silver, and Black Head Coach Rod Marinelli Owner William Clay Ford, Sr. ... Melvin Farr (born November 3, 1944 in Beaumont, Texas) is a former American football player. ... Lemuel Jackson Barney (Born September 8, 1945, in Gulfport, Mississippi) is a former American Football cornerback who played for the Detroit Lions. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ...


The song is notable for its heavy use of major seventh and minor seventh chords, a fairly uncommon occurrence in popular music of that era. Also, notably for this record, Marvin Gaye sings both lead and background vocals himself. The process had been used for many years to give parts of a recording extra strength (Motown themselves had used it on such tracks as The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On"), but Gaye took it a step further and sung each of his vocal passes in various harmony parts, creating an ethereal sound that became one of his trademarks. The musical interval of a Major seventh the first note (the root or tonic) and the seventh, the leading tone, in a major scale. ... The musical interval of a minor seventh the first note (the root or tonic) and the seventh in a minor scale. ... The Supremes were a Motown all-female singing group. ... You Keep Me Hangin On is a 1966 hit song originally recorded by The Supremes for the Motown label. ...


This song was completed before the rest of the What's Going On album was finished. Motown chief Berry Gordy deemed the record "uncommercial" and initially tried to block its release as a single. He later relented after Gaye threatened to cease recording permanently. "What's Going On" proved to be a substantial commercial hit paving the way for his forthcoming seminal album release of the same title. "What's Going On" was one of the major hits of 1971 as well as Motown's fast selling single at that point, reaching #2 for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 for five weeks on the Billboard R&B charts. The single would end up to sell over 2,5 million copies and becoming his biggest US Pop hit since "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" hit the charts in late 1968. The single version (available on the deluxe version of What's Going On, the album) differs noticeably from the album version; in particular, there is stronger percussion in the background as well as the other background vocals and noise sounding louder. Also, some of Gaye's vocals have been re-recorded to sound slightly punchier. Berry Gordy, Jr. ... The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. ... Rhythm and blues (or R & B) is a musical marketing term introduced in the United States in the late 1940s by Billboard magazine. ...


Credits

Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... Lemuel Jackson Barney (Born September 8, 1945, in Gulfport, Mississippi) is a former American Football cornerback who played for the Detroit Lions. ... Obie Benson (third from left) and The Four Tops, on the cover for the UK single release of their 1967 hit Bernadette. Renaldo Obie Benson (June 14, 1936 - July 1, 2005) was an African-American soul and R&B singer and songwriter. ... Al Clevland was an African-American songwriter for the Motown label. ...

Cyndi Lauper cover

"What's Going On "
Single by Cyndi Lauper
From the album True Colors
Released 1987
Single Format Vinyl
(7")Vinyl
(12")Vinyl
(10")
Recorded 1986
Genre Pop
Record Label Epic Records
Writer Al Cleveland
Marvin Gaye
Renaldo Benson
Producer Cyndi Lauper, Lennie Petze
Cyndi Lauper singles chronology
"Change Of Heart"
(1986)
"What's Going On"
(1987)
"Boy Blue"
(1987)

"What's Going On" was the third single released by Cyndi Lauper from her second album True Colors in 1987. Image File history File links Laup. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... True Colors is the second album by 1980s icon and singer Cyndi Lauper, released in 1986 (see 1986 in music). ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A gramophone record, (also phonograph record - often simply record) is an analog sound recording medium: a flat disc rotating at a constant angular velocity, with inscribed spiral grooves in which a stylus or needle rides. ... A gramophone record, (also phonograph record - often simply record) is an analog sound recording medium: a flat disc rotating at a constant angular velocity, with inscribed spiral grooves in which a stylus or needle rides. ... A gramophone record, (also phonograph record - often simply record) is an analog sound recording medium: a flat disc rotating at a constant angular velocity, with inscribed spiral grooves in which a stylus or needle rides. ... See also: Musical groups established in 1986 Record labels established in 1986 1980s in music // January 23 - The first induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley) February 11 - Culture Club... Musical genres are categories which contain music which share a certain style or which have certain elements in common. ... For popular forms of music in general, see Popular music. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Epic Records is an American record label, owned and operated by Sony BMG. // Epic was launched originally as a jazz and classical music label in 1953 by CBS. Its bright-yellow, black and blue logo became a familiar trademark for many jazz and classical releases. ... A songwriter is someone who writes either the lyrics or the music for songs. ... Al Clevland was an African-American songwriter for the Motown label. ... Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. ... Obie Benson (third from left) and The Four Tops, on the cover for the UK single release of their 1967 hit Bernadette. Renaldo Obie Benson (June 14, 1936 - July 1, 2005) was an African-American soul and R&B singer and songwriter. ... In the music industry, a record producer (or music producer) has many roles, among them controlling the recording sessions, coaching and guiding the musicians, organizing and scheduling production budget and resources, and supervising the recording, mixing and mastering processes. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Boy Blue was released in 1987 as the fourth single from the True Colors album. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... True Colors is the second album by 1980s icon and singer Cyndi Lauper, released in 1986 (see 1986 in music). ...


"What's Going On" is a cover of Marvin Gaye's classic. On the album version, the song starts off with a series of gunshots in reference to Vietnam; the single release is a remix with an alternate vocal used in the intro. It's the single version that most often appears on compilations. Lauper's "What's Going On" was a modest hit around the world. It even cracked a few dance charts, thanks to its club remixes by Shep Pettibone. Shep Pettibone is a record producer, remixer, songwriter and club DJ, one of the most prolific of the 1980s. ...


The video for the song was also popular and aired heavily on MTV. It was nominated for an award at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1987. An extended mix of the song is used in the music video. MTV (Music Television) is an American cable television network headquartered in New York City. ... The MTV Video Music Awards were established in 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. ... A music video is a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song. ...


Chart performance

Chart (1987) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
U.S. Hot Dance/Music Maxi Single Sales 7
U.S. Hot Dance/Music Club Play 17
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 6
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 52
Chilean Singles Chart 19
Colombian Singles Chart 13
Holland Singles Chart 30
German Airplay Charts 46
New Zealand Singles Charts 30
UK Singles Chart 57
Lauper in the "What's Going On" music video, directed by Andy Morahan.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) is a trade group representing the Australian recording industry. ... Image File history File links 994TDC_Cyndi_Lauper_062. ... Image File history File links 994TDC_Cyndi_Lauper_062. ... A music video is a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song. ...

Official versions

  1. Club Version 6:30
  2. Instrumental 6:25
  3. Live Version
  4. Long Version 6:22
  5. Special Version 3:51

Artists Against AIDS Worldwide cover

In October 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.[1] Jermaine Dupri produced the radio single version, whose performers included Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Destiny's Child, Jennifer Lopez, Gaye's own daughter Nona, and many other popular artists. The album contained that single along with 8 additional remixes. The song was recorded shortly before the September 11, 2001 attacks, and it was decided afterwards that a portion of the song's proceeds would benefit the American Red Cross's September 11th fund, as well as Artists against AIDS Worldwide. Jermaine Dupri also known simply as JD (born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin on September 23, 1973) is an American record producer and rapper. ... Gwen Renée Stefani (born October 3, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer and occasional actress. ... Christina Maria Aguilera (IPA pronunciation: [1] born December 18, 1980) is an American pop and R&B singer and songwriter. ... *NSYNC is a five-part pop music vocal group, sometimes referred to as a boy band, formed in Orlando, Florida, USA. The group members are Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Justin Timberlake. ... Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is a Grammy Award-winning[1] American pop singer, dancer, actress, author and songwriter. ... Destinys Child was a three-time Grammy Award-winning American R&B girl group. ... “J. Lo” redirects here. ... A sequential look at United Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center The September 11, 2001 attacks (often referred to as 9/11—pronounced nine eleven or nine one one) consisted of a series of coordinated terrorist[1] suicide attacks upon the United States, predominantly... A WWII-era poster encouraged American women to volunteer for the Red Cross as part of the war effort. ...


Artists Against AIDS Worldwide lineup

Gwen Renée Stefani (born October 3, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer and occasional actress. ... Christina Maria Aguilera (IPA pronunciation: [1] born December 18, 1980) is an American pop and R&B singer and songwriter. ... Mary Jane Blige (born January 11, 1971 in The Bronx, New York), is a six-time Grammy Award-winning American R&B, soul, and hip-hop soul singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, and actress who has sold over forty million albums around the world since her career began in 1991. ... Paul David Hewson, KBE[1] (born 10 May 1960), known as Bono (IPA pronunciation: ), is the Academy Award nominated and Grammy winning lead singer and principal lyricist of the Irish rock band U2. ... The Backstreet Boys are a Grammy-nominated male vocal pop group that enjoyed enormous success in the mid-late 1990s and 2000s. ... Destinys Child was a three-time Grammy Award-winning American R&B girl group. ... Beyoncé in 2004 with her five Grammys. ... Kelly Rowland (born Kelendria Trene Rowland on February 11, 1981) is a Grammy Award-winning American R&B singer-songwriter, and occasional actress, she is best friends/ adopted family with singers/acteress Solange Knowles & older sister Beyoncé Knowles. ... Michelle Williams may refer to: Michelle Williams, (born July 23, 1980), an American singer and member of the group Destinys Child. ... P. Diddy Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969 aka P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Sean Puffy Combs) is an African-American record producer, entrepreneur, and rapper. ... Jermaine Dupri also known simply as JD (born Jermaine Dupri Mauldin on September 23, 1973) is an American record producer and rapper. ... Background information Birth name William Frederick Durst Born August 20, 1970 ) (age 36) Jacksonville, USA Genre(s) Nu metal, Rapcore, Hip-hop Occupation(s) Vocalist, Songwriter, Producer, Actor, Director Instrument(s) Vocals, Rapping Associated acts Limp Bizkit William Frederick Durst (born August 20, 1970 in Jacksonville, Florida) is the lead... Eve Jihan Jeffers (born November 10, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), better known as Eve, is an American rapper, singer, and actress. ... Perry Farrell (born Peretz Bernstein in New York City on March 29, 1959) is a musician who, as the frontman of Janes Addiction, was one of the pioneers of alternative rock. ... Nelly Kim Furtado (born December 2, 1978) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, and instrumentalist of Portuguese descent. ... Nona Marvisa Gaye (born September 4, 1974 in Washington, D.C.) is an American singer, former fashion model, and screen actress. ... Darren Stanley Hayes (born 8 May 1972, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) is a singer-songwriter. ... Jeffrey Atkins (born February 29, 1976), better known by his stage name Ja Rule is an American rapper from Hollis, Queens, New York City, New York, United States. ... Jagged Edge is an American R&B singing group that were originally signed through Jermaine Dupris So So Def Records to Columbia Records. ... Alicia Keys (born Alicia J. Augello-Cook on January 25, 1980 in Harlem, New York) is an American R&B and soul singer, songwriter, pianist, and record producer. ... Lil Kim on the cover of her album Notorious Kim Kimberly Ann Jones, professionally known as Lil Kim (also called The Queen Bee, The Lieutenant, and The Queen Bitch such as the QB of all bitches) is a United States rapper who was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood... Aaron Lewis, born April 13, 1972 in Rutland, Vermont, USA, is the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist of the hard rock group Staind. ... Staind is an American alternative metal group[1][2] from Springfield, Massachusetts, United States. ... “J. Lo” redirects here. ... Christopher Anthony John Martin (born March 2, 1977) is the lead singer, occasional lead guitarist and pianist of the popular rock band Coldplay. ... Patrick Monahan is also the name of a British Comedian. ... Train is a Grammy winning alternative band, formed in San Francisco, USA in 1994. ... Monica Denise Arnold (born October 24, 1980), professionally known as Monica, is a Grammy Award-winning American R&B singer, songwriter, composer and occasional actress. ... Mýa Marie Harrison (born October 10, 1979) is an American R&B singer, dancer, and actress. ... This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ... Cornell Haynes Jr. ... *NSYNC is a five-part pop music vocal group, sometimes referred to as a boy band, formed in Orlando, Florida, USA. The group members are Lance Bass, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Justin Timberlake. ... Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is a Grammy Award-winning[1] American pop singer, dancer, actress, author and songwriter. ... John Michael Stipe (born January 4, 1960 in Decatur, Georgia) is the lead singer of the American rock band R.E.M. Stipe has become well-known (and occasionally parodied) for the mumbling style of his early career and for his complex, surreal lyrics, as well as his social and... Tionne T-Boz Watkins is an R&B singer; the lead singer of the successful group TLC. She was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia as a child, and is today one of the spokespeople for Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. ... Rozanda Chili Thomas (born February 27, 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an African American R&B singer, one of the three members of the successful group TLC. Thomas was raised by a single mother in the Atlanta area. ... TLC is a Grammy Award-winning American music group, whose repertoire spans R&B, hip hop and pop. ... Young Shashi Tharoor Shashi Tharoor (Born 9 March 1956 in London) is the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. ... Usher Raymond IV (born October 14, 1978), is an American R&B/pop singer and actor who rose to fame in the mid-late 1990s. ... Scott Weiland (born October 27, 1967 in Santa Cruz, California) is an American musician, lyricist and vocalist. ...

Other covers

U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. ... The date that commonly refers to the attacks on United States citizens on September 11, 2001 (see the September 11, 2001 Attacks). ... The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, also known as Amerithrax from its FBI case name, occurred over the course of several weeks beginning on September 18, 2001 (a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks). ... The rock band U2s Elevation Tour took place in 2001 in support of their album All That You Cant Leave Behind. ... Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953 in Great Lakes, Illinois) is an American singer best known for her 1984 cover of Princes I Feel For You, for her smash hit Im Every Woman and as a member of the funk band Rufus, with whom... The Funk Brothers were a group of Detroit, Michigan musicians who performed on the backing tracks to most Motown Records recordings from 1959 until 1972, when the company moved to Los Angeles. ... The Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance has been awarded since 1999. ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a 2002 documentary film about the story of The Funk Brothers, Motown Records primary studio band from 1959 to 1972. ... shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A Perfect Circle (often referred to as APC) was an alternative rock band, formed by guitarist Billy Howerdel. ... eMOTIVe is the third album by the American rock band A Perfect Circle. ...

External links

  • Lyrics What's Going On

 
 

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