What’s Going On, By Marvin Gaye, 1971 . . . Mercy Mercy Me

What’s Going On, By Marvin Gaye, 1971 . . . Mercy Mercy Me

‘Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)’ is a track about environmental destruction from what is considered to be one of, if not the best, record album ever made, What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye recorded in 1971. Human rights, save the children, war, drugs and pollution are themes of songs from the album whose title asks, what’s going on? The tracks are:-

WHATS GOING ON – About the Vietnam war and replacing hate with love

WHAT’S HAPPENING BROTHER – plight of war veterans retuning home

FLYIN HIGH (IN THE FRIENDLY SKY) – about drug addiction.

SAVE THE CHILDREN – saving disadvantaged children

GOD IS LOVE – lyrics reflect the title

MERCY MERCY ME (THE ECOLOGY) – a plea for the environment

RIGHT ON – inspirational coming together and appreciation of life

WHOLY HOLY – about congregations and communities joining to praise god.


50 years ago Marvin Gaye was seeking to inspire people to address issues which loom as large as ever in society today, across the world. What was going on in 1971 is still going on!

Interestingly Marvin Gaye's album was voted No. 1 Rolling Stone Magazine's 2020 list of 500 Greatest Albums of all time, but has actually sold probably less than 10 million copies. Best selling individual albums have sold north of 40 million copies!

Popular culture today is defined through the media – social, musical, film, digital, in all its forms. We see ourselves as a small part of that creative culture in the ways we are trying to use our bands as a way of inspiring change for the better. 

It's hard to know how much impact What's Going On has hard in terms of raising awareness of the issues Marvin Gaye sings about; imagine if he had planted 10 trees for each album sold. That's why we plant our trees, to have at least one numerical measure of our impact.  

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