THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
114-Marvin Gaye-What’s Going On.
1971-Has never charted in the UK.
Best Bit-At 1.43.Berry Gordy Jr. founder of Motown records and also the brother-in-law of Marvin Gaye did not want this song released as he thought a protest song would not go down well with Motown’s fan base and the wider general public.
The original idea for the song came from Renaldo Benson(1936-2005) of the Four Tops.He had been on the groups tour bus in Berkeley,California on May 15,1969 when he witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s ‘Peoples Park’ during a protest held by anti war activists in what was later to become known as ‘Bloody Thursday.’Benson took his idea for the song to Motown staff songwriter Al Cleveland(1930-1996) who helped develop the song.
Benson offered the song to the Four Tops(see also best songs 650) but they refused it because of it’s subject matter,so he then took it to Marvin Gaye(see also best songs 723 and 183) who added many of his own ideas.
The song went on to peak at Number 2 on Billboard selling over 2 million copies and became Motown’s biggest selling single up to that point.
‘Picket lines and picket signs,don’t punish me with brutality.’
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The countdown continues tomorrow at 1.0.pm.