Who Sings What’s Going On

You are currently viewing Who Sings What’s Going On

Who Sings What’s Going On

The iconic song “What’s Going On” is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences around the world. It was released in 1971 as the title track of Marvin Gaye’s eleventh studio album. The song’s powerful lyrics and soulful melody make it a standout in the music industry. However, many people are often curious about who sings “What’s Going On” and the story behind the song.

Key Takeaways:

  • Marvin Gaye, a legendary American singer-songwriter, performs the original version of “What’s Going On”.
  • The song was written by Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, and Renaldo Benson.
  • “What’s Going On” has been covered by various artists over the years, including Cyndi Lauper, Donny Hathaway, and A Perfect Circle.
  • The song’s powerful message about social issues and unity continues to resonate with listeners today.

Marvin Gaye was the original artist behind the iconic song “What’s Going On.” As a pioneer of soul music, Gaye’s smooth vocals and heartfelt performances solidified his place as one of the greatest artists of all time.

*Did you know? “What’s Going On” was deemed initially too political and controversial by Motown Records, but Marvin Gaye fought for its release, and it became one of his most popular and critically acclaimed songs.

The song was co-written by Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, and Renaldo Benson. Al Cleveland was a prominent songwriter and producer and worked closely with Marvin Gaye throughout his career. Renaldo Benson was a member of the Motown group Four Tops, known for hits like “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”

*Did you know? Al Cleveland was inspired to write “What’s Going On” after experiencing police brutality during a protest in Berkeley, California in the late 1960s.

Chart-Topping Success

Upon its release, “What’s Going On” became a major success, topping the charts and receiving widespread critical acclaim. The song’s timely message, addressing social and political issues of the time, resonated with audiences across the world.

Year Chart Position
1971 #2 (US Billboard Hot 100)
2004 #4 (UK Singles Chart)
2007 #21 (Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time)

Over the years, “What’s Going On” has been covered by numerous artists, each offering their unique interpretation of the song. Cyndi Lauper, Donny Hathaway, and A Perfect Circle are just a few of the artists who have paid homage to this classic.

*Did you know? Cyndi Lauper’s cover of “What’s Going On” was a standout track on her acclaimed album “She’s So Unusual” in 1983.

Legacy and Impact of “What’s Going On”

The enduring legacy of “What’s Going On” lies in its powerful message of social consciousness and unity. The song’s themes of love, peace, and understanding are still relevant today, resonating with listeners from different generations and backgrounds.

Artist Cover Version
Cyndi Lauper 1986 (She’s So Unusual)
Donny Hathaway 1972 (Live Version)
A Perfect Circle 2004 (eMOTIVe)

As one of the most influential songs in music history, “What’s Going On” continues to inspire artists and provoke meaningful conversations. Its impact transcends time, reminding us of the power of music to evoke change and promote understanding.

*Did you know? In 2021, “What’s Going On” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, solidifying its status as an iconic piece of musical history.

So, the next time you find yourself captivated by the soulful sound of “What’s Going On,” remember the incredible talent and vision of Marvin Gaye, who delivered a timeless masterpiece that remains relevant to this day.

Image of Who Sings What

Common Misconceptions – Who Sings What’s Going On

Common Misconceptions

Misconception 1: Marvin Gaye is the original singer of “What’s Going On”

  • Many people mistakenly believe that Marvin Gaye is the original artist who sang “What’s Going On”.
  • However, the song was originally recorded by an American soul group called “Four Tops” in 1970.
  • Marvin Gaye later covered the song and his version became the most well-known and popular.

Misconception 2: “What’s Going On” is a protest song

  • Contrary to popular belief, “What’s Going On” is not specifically a protest song.
  • While it does address social and political issues, such as war and inequality, it is more about empathy and
  • The lyrics encourage listeners to consider what is happening in the world and to approach it with a
    compassionate mindset instead of solely advocating for change.

Misconception 3: Marvin Gaye wrote “What’s Going On”

  • Although Marvin Gaye is often credited as the songwriter of “What’s Going On”, he actually co-wrote the
    song with Motown songwriter Alfred Cleveland and Marvin’s wife at the time, Renalds Benson.
  • Gaye contributed significantly to the lyrics and overall composition, but it was a collaborative effort.
  • The trio came together to reflect the social issues and unrest of the time, resulting in the poignant

Misconception 4: “What’s Going On” was met with immediate success

  • Although “What’s Going On” is now considered a classic and a groundbreaking song of its time, it did not
    initially receive a positive response from Motown Records.
  • The label’s founder, Berry Gordy, was initially hesitant about the song’s unconventional structure and
    subject matter.
  • However, Gaye persisted and eventually released the song, which went on to become a massive hit and a
    timeless anthem.

Misconception 5: “What’s Going On” was Marvin Gaye‘s only successful song

  • While “What’s Going On” is undeniably one of Marvin Gaye‘s most iconic songs, it is certainly not his only
    successful track.
  • Gaye had a successful career with numerous chart-topping hits, including “Sexual Healing”, “Let’s Get It
    On”, and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”.
  • His musical prowess and influence extended far beyond “What’s Going On”, solidifying him as one of the
    greatest artists of all time.

Image of Who Sings What

Marvin Gaye’s Discography

Marvin Gaye was a renowned American singer and songwriter. Here is a breakdown of his discography, showcasing some of his most notable albums.

Album Year Released Certification
What’s Going On 1971 2x Platinum
Let’s Get It On 1973 3x Platinum
I Want You 1976 Gold
Here, My Dear 1978 Platinum

The Impact of “What’s Going On”

Released in 1971, “What’s Going On” is considered one of Marvin Gaye‘s greatest achievements. This album went on to become an iconic piece of musical history. Let’s take a look at its impact on the charts and its lasting influence.

Chart Peak Position Weeks on Chart
Billboard 200 6 63
Billboard R&B Albums 1 97
UK Albums Chart 56 12

Marvin Gaye’s Songs

Marvin Gaye captivated the world with his soulful voice and powerful lyrics. Here are some of his classic songs that have stood the test of time.

Song Year Released Genre
Sexual Healing 1982 Soul
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 1967 R&B
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) 1964 Pop

The Message in “What’s Going On”

“What’s Going On” was more than just an album; it was Marvin Gaye‘s protest against social and political issues. Explore the songs and their thought-provoking messages.

Song Theme
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) Environmental concerns
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) Urban decay and poverty
What’s Happening Brother War and disillusionment

Marvin Gaye’s Awards and Recognitions

Marvin Gaye‘s talent was celebrated with numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. Take a look at some of his notable achievements.

Award Year Received
Grammy Hall of Fame 1998
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1987
Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame 2016

Marvin Gaye’s Collaborations

Marvin Gaye‘s talent extended to collaborating with other musical legends, creating memorable and unique tracks. Here are some notable collaborations.

Collaborator Song Year Released
Tammi Terrell Ain’t No Mountain High Enough 1967
Kim Weston It Takes Two 1966
Mary Wells What’s The Matter With You Baby 1964

Marvin Gaye’s Sales Records

Marvin Gaye‘s music resonated with audiences worldwide, leading to impressive sales records. Take a look at his best-selling albums.

Album Copies Sold
Let’s Get It On 3,600,000
What’s Going On 2,860,000
I Want You 1,500,000

Marvin Gaye’s Legacy

Marvin Gaye‘s contributions to music continue to be celebrated long after his passing. His profound impact on the industry and the world will never be forgotten.

Legacy Description
Cultural Icon Marvin Gaye’s music has become synonymous with the soul and R&B genres, influencing countless artists.
Social Activist His album “What’s Going On” remains a powerful tool for social awareness and change.
Timeless Music Gaye’s songs continue to resonate with audiences across generations, staying relevant even today.

Marvin Gaye‘s immense talent, thought-provoking lyrics, and soulful voice cemented his place as one of music’s greatest legends. His discography, impactful songs, renowned collaborations, and enduring legacy will forever inspire and resonate with listeners worldwide.

Who Sings What’s Going On – Frequently Asked Questions

Who Sings What’s Going On – Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Who originally sang the song “What’s Going On”?

The song “What’s Going On” was originally sung by Marvin Gaye.

Question 2: What year was the song “What’s Going On” released?

The song “What’s Going On” was released in 1971.

Question 3: Are there any cover versions of “What’s Going On”?

Yes, there have been several cover versions of “What’s Going On” by different artists over the years, including Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, and A Perfect Circle.

Question 4: Who sings the version of “What’s Going On” featured in the movie “What’s Going On?”

The version of “What’s Going On” featured in the movie “What’s Going On?” is sung by Alesha Dixon.

Question 5: Has “What’s Going On” won any awards?

Yes, “What’s Going On” has won several awards, including Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and Grammy Hall of Fame induction.

Question 6: Are there any remixes of “What’s Going On”?

Yes, there have been remixes of “What’s Going On” by various DJs and producers. Some notable remixes include the one by DJ Muro and the one by DJ Rashad.

Question 7: Is “What’s Going On” considered a protest song?

Yes, “What’s Going On” is considered a protest song due to its socially conscious lyrics and themes addressing issues such as war, social inequality, and environmental destruction.

Question 8: Can I find the sheet music for “What’s Going On” online?

Yes, you can find sheet music for “What’s Going On” online on various music websites, such as Musicnotes.com and SheetMusicPlus.com.

Question 9: Was “What’s Going On” a commercial success?

Yes, “What’s Going On” was a commercial success, reaching high positions on music charts around the world and becoming one of Marvin Gaye’s signature songs.

Question 10: Are there any famous live performances of “What’s Going On”?

Yes, there are several famous live performances of “What’s Going On,” including Marvin Gaye’s performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1980 and Alicia Keys’ rendition at the BET Awards in 2019.