Lyric of the Day: What’s Goin’ On – Marvin Gaye

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In a time of great instability, Marvin Gaye took a chance and wrote an anthem of peace that has stood the test of time and is one of the great songs ever written. Barry Gordy told Gaye he was making a huge mistake in recording a protest record during the Vietnam War. The album of the same name is now considered one of the greatest recordings of popular music.

Why I like these lyrics:

I love the fact that he made this personal by writing to his “mother” and “father” even if they may have only been metaphorical. It gave the song a sense of familiarity as if he didn’t need to convey these feelings to anyone but those closest to him – almost like he was confiding, not complaining.

Favorite Line:

Father, father, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long

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

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