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What's Going On

Marvin Gaye


Lingua: Inglese


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(1971)

[Marvin Gaye - Al Cleveland - Renaldo Benson]

WhatsgoingonsingleDesigned 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 Clevland 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 Clevland convinced Gaye to record it himself.

On the finished track, as Gaye musically ponders on the state of the world, a party can be heard going on in the background, from which Gaye's voice is purposely detached. The partygoers are portrayed by Mel Farr and Lem Barney, whose acquaintances Gaye had made during his failed 1970 tryout for the Detroit Lions.

Also, notably for this record, Marvin Gaye sings both lead and background vocals himself, essentially creating what is now recognized as modern-day multitracking. The process had been used for many years to give parts of a recording extra strength (Motown themselves had used it on The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On), but Gaye took it one step further and sung each of his vocal passes in various harmony parts, creating an ethereal sound that became his trademark.

This song was completed before the rest of the What's Going On album was finished. Motown chief Berry Gordy tried to block the release of the single, deeming it "uncommercial", but after Gaye threatened to cease recording permanently, Gordy reluctantly had the "What's Going On" single issued. "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.

from Wikipedia
Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today - Ya

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Father, father, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you what's going on - Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby


Lingua: Italiano

Versione italiana di Riccardo Venturi
CHE COSA ACCADE

Madre, madre
ci son troppi di voi che piangono
fratello, fratello, fratello
ci son troppi, troppi di voi che muoiono
sapete che dobbiamo trovare un modo
per portare un po' d'amore qui, sì

Padre, padre
non abbiamo bisogno di escalation
vedi, la guerra non è una risposta
perché solo l'amore può vincere l'odio
sai che dobbiamo trovare un modo
per portare un po' d'amore qui, sì

Picchettaggi e cartelli
non reprimetemi con brutalità
parlatemi, invece, così vedrete
oh, che cosa accade
che cosa accade,
si', che cosa accade
ah, che cosa accade

Nel frattempo
forza, avanti, ragazzo
forza
avanti

Padre, padre, tutti pensano che abbiamo torto
oh, ma chi sono per giudicarci
solo perché abbiamo i capelli lunghi
oh, lo sai che dobbiamo trovare un modo
per portare un po' di comprensione qui, oggi
oh

Picchettaggi e cartelli
non reprimetemi con brutalità
parlatemi, invece, cosi' vedrete
oh, che cosa accade
che cosa accade,
sì, che cosa accade
ah, che cosa accade


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