Friday, 23 August 2013

Whats going on?

 I was listening to a podcast yesterday about the story of 'Marvin Gaye' and his album entitled, 'Whats going on', it's on everyone list of most influential albums, it was the first concept album, which was news to me, as i thought Pink Floyd's, 'Dark side of the moon' was the first concept album.

A quick google search reveals that the 'Dark side of the moon' was released on March 1973, Whats going on hit the shelves on the 13th of July 1970, the concept idea was out in the universe, Marvin got there first.

Marvin's brother Frankie came home from Vietnam and told him the stories, after this the Motown songs seemed irrelevant for the times. He was interviewed in 1976, he said there was 
....lots of pain, no one talked a lot.

So, his idea for the album? Songs with conscience, the album is a conversation, the songs are all mixed together, there is no let up, he's keeping the conversation going, it is an album for all nations, it wasn't just a bunch of singles stuck together.

He did a song called 'Abraham Martin and John', it was this song that ignited the masterpiece

Sounds cheesy, but it was where the idea started, so it's a bit like eating your peas, it's good for you, so just shut up and listen

While making the album he went into another kind of dimension, he later said he remembered nothing about making the album, which is kind of funny, it would be like climbing up Everest and not remembering a thing a few weeks later around the camp fire, the vibe in the recording studio was calm and pleasant too.

'Whats going on' summed up a common feeling, he go the idea after a game of golf, it was based on people greeting each other, 'Whats going on?' and based on his brothers experiences in Vietnam, indeed

Brother, brother, brother, there's too much dying, in fact he wanted to pass the song on to someone else to do, but decided to record and produce it himself, which reminds me about 'Carole King', she didn't think she had much of a voice, and was encouraged to sing her own songs, oh joy!

Now. whats interesting is to record the album, he got a Jazz band, to get away from the Motown vibe, but for the 'Whats going on' song, he got some footballers in to be talking in the background, footballers are good at talking it up, but he was the guy at the side of the party asking the question, 'Do you know whats going on?'

He had David Van DePitte as an arranger writer, most Motown musicians didn't read music, he said...

"As we sat down and started working on these tunes, not only did he not have a concept, but I thought it bizarre that all this material was finished but he didn't have lyrics for all of it," said the arranger. "Then it dawned on me that there were more people involved that I'd been led to believe."
And David  also said...
"Somebody said to me: 'Guess what, you're elected'. After taking a quick poll around the room, I came to find out that nobody else wanted to do it. They had all worked with Marvin before and found him to be such a pain in the fanny,"

When Berrie Gordie (head of Motown records) heard it, he hated it, he thought Marvin was a ladies man and women wouldn't like him singing political songs, and didn't want the album released.
Marvin said, if you don't put the record out, I'm not doing anymore, so they released a single, it was a hit, so the album got released

Much to peoples surprise, the album was a commercial success and went to inspire generations of artists.

One of the messages is 
'If you don't get into your spirit, you won't move forward' 
And he captured his thoughts with the universe, in one of the most inspirational albums ever, and if you've read this far, you might be interested in click on this story about his life

And if your wondering if it all ended well? 

For us, yes, for him no, and if you don't know, now you know........
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