What's Going On

Release date
14 Jan 2003
Running length
11 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 What's Going On 9:40 474,134
2 What's Happening Brother 2:43 146,146
3 Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky) 3:50 92,652
4 Save the Children 4:01 111,628
5 God Is Love 1:42 138,435
6 Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) 2:33 256,793
7 Right On 7:33 105,383
8 Wholy Holy 3:08 96,647
9 Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) 2:58 198,967
11 Sad Tomorrows (Single Version / Stereo) 2:23 281

About this album

The first Marvin Gaye album credited as produced solely by the artist himself, What’s Going On is a unified concept album consisting of nine songs, most of which lead into the next. It has also been categorized as a song cycle; the album ends on a reprise of the album’s opening theme. The album is told from the point of view of a Vietnam War veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing nothing but injustice, suffering and hatred.

What’s Going On was the first album on which Motown Records’ main studio band, the group of session musicians known as the Funk Brothers, received an official credit. The album features introspective lyrics and socially-conscious themes about drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War. What’s Going On was both an immediate commercial and critical success and has endured as a classic of early-1970s soul.

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  • Cassandra-Leo

    It's sad that most of the problems Gaye sings about on this album are just as relevant as they were when he recorded it, if not more so. A masterpiece.

    14 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Haddonfield69

    Classic review at http://www.therealmusic.net/marvin-gaye-whats-going/

    17 Sep 2014 Reply
  • arthurabatti

    It's so... beautiful

    17 Jul 2014 Reply
  • TylerSymes

    So good.

    23 Jun 2014 Reply
  • BenzoMay44

    This album will never stop being important, the messages in these songs will always need hearing. Musically and sonically this album sounds as fresh as it was when it came out over 40 years ago. This album is easily the greatest thing that Motown brought into the world, when they brought meaning and a powerful message into popular music.

    2 May 2014 Reply
  • pitrafilla

    viva el soul....

    18 Mar 2014 Reply
  • CowboyFunk

    Slowly becoming my most favorite album. Such a complex work.

    3 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Avant-gard

    Changed my life.

    5 Jan 2014 Reply
  • shangoyal

    Music that heals, and brings you up when you are feeling down... it moves you from within, in an intelligent and compassionate manner, acknowledging your pain and offers the subtle relief that only a man who felt the pain himself could...

    1 Jan 2014 Reply
  • icetune

    I'd be utterly lost without this music.

    24 Jun 2013 Reply
  • hungarianpaprik

    everything is everything

    15 Jun 2013 Reply
  • hungarianpaprik

    shout out 2 reece_sim , he knows what he's talkin about

    15 Jun 2013 Reply
  • Necrobuddha

    This album is on another level. Perfection.

    7 Jun 2013 Reply
  • WS9167

    Don't listen to this kind of stuff, really, but I have to say that this album is flawless. I gave it the first listen in quite a long time yesterday, and I must say it left an even bigger impression on me than when I bought it.

    5 May 2013 Reply
  • mk741

    Wasn't aware of the album's conceptual underpinnings. Just makes me respect it even more I suppose.

    25 Apr 2013 Reply
  • Isco91

    I partly take back what I said previously...IWY is still my favorite Marvin album, but this has grown on me a lot over the past few months. It's finally clicked for me.

    19 Jan 2013 Reply
  • Harry_01

    The album is nothing but marvellous. A soul masterpiece.

    11 Jan 2013 Reply
  • tomvecc

    all time great album

    24 Dec 2012 Reply
  • metawirt

    Why the fuck does last.fm list all those live tracks here and the studio versions @ What's Going On (Deluxe Edition)?

    6 Oct 2012 Reply
  • boehj

    a masterpiece.

    4 Oct 2012 Reply
  • All 115 shouts