“What’s Going On” is a song by American recording artist Marvin Gaye, released in 1971 on the Motown subsidiary Tamla. Originally inspired by a police brutality incident witnessed by Renaldo “Obie” Benson, the song was composed by Benson, Al Cleveland, and Gaye and produced by Gaye himself. The song marked Gaye’s departure from the Motown Sound towards more personal material. Later topping the Hot Soul Singles chart for five weeks and crossing over to number two on the Billboard Hot 100, it would sell over two million copies, becoming Gaye’s second-most successful Motown song to date.
It is hard, and also a bit sad, that Gaye’s song written in 1971 would be so relevant today, almost 50-years later. But listen to the words closely. I have also placed the song lyrics below for you to follow along. Powerful message – and yes, we have a ways to go Marvin, but thanks for the reminders. -Rick Bella, Merrillville Town Councilman
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye released 1971