Carly Simon, Donna Summer and Martyn Ware hail Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’


The 40th Anniversary deluxe edition of Marvin Gaye’s classic longplayer ‘What’s Going On’ has just been released. We’ve been sent several brand quotes from artists such as Carly Simon and Donna Summer, all hailing his inspiration and influence of the album upon them. Watch below.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s seminal Motown classic What’s Going On, Universal are proud to present this exclusive Super Deluxe Edition. A meditative act of artistic rebellion, What’s Going On broke the Motown mould. The album introduced Marvin Gaye, the company’s sexy prince, as an uncompromising singer, songwriter and producer. From the first day of release, the unique concept album was recognized as a masterwork; his lyrics, stories and grooves remain timeless. This 40th Anniversary edition has coupled the much adored music with the wonders of modern day mastering to produce an unparalleled and previously unattainable insight into Marvin’s showpiece.

KIM CARNES: A couple of years ago, I was over in the UK at the BBC doing an interview for my latest album. They asked me to give them a list of my Top 10 all-time favorite songs and over the next couple of weeks they would play them. “What’s Going On” was in that Top 10. The first time halfway through that album you were like, “Oh my God. What is this? It’s amazing.” It just raises the bar so high for anything else out there. It just doesn’t get any better. It’s timeless music by an artist with so, so much soul. What’s Going On blows me away whenever I hear it now. I’m not left with a feeling of hopelessness. I am definitely left with a feeling of hope. There’s a place at the top of the ladder for an artist like Marvin Gaye. He’s at the very top. To encompass all that he was, that doesn’t come along very often. The truly great artists know who they are, so an album is going to be cohesive. They won’t let themselves write a song or record a song that doesn’t reflect who they are. Start to finish, What’s Going On is cohesive. Those songs in particular were timeless.

GEORGE JOHNSON / The Brothers Johnson: Such a loving and spiritual insight for all people, Marvin Gaye was given to us to reveal “What’s Going On” in the world. It’s way ahead of its time and still holds up today. Yes, Marvin really cared and left this concept of life in all of our hearts. “Save the Children”!

MARGIE JOSEPH: When What’s Going On came out, it was during the Vietnam War. I knew a lot of people who had been deployed in the service. I lost a lot of classmates. Back then, we still were dealing with civil rights. I believe it means a lot to all of us but especially to the oppressed people at that time. It was an in-season, right-on-time type of album. I think Marvin was pouring out his soul and his heart. Marvin was asking not just a rhetorical question but a direct question for all of us to think about — do we really know what’s going on? It was a beautiful, wonderful melody. The tempo was out of sight. It was a remarkable song. When I hear it now, it’s almost like everything in the world has repeated itself. I’m seeing this happening again. When we have loved ones and soldiers who are dying, the question is still unanswered — what’s going on?

MELBA MOORE: Marvin sang and wrote songs that still hold the test of time in 2011. Marvin was way ahead of his time. His vision never failed him. “What’s Going On” is my favorite Marvin Gaye recording to date. It was Powerful.

CARLY SIMON: I remember standing on the Sunset Strip waiting to get into the Troubadour and feeling the street pounding with the rhythm section playing on “brother brother brother”. It’s as if the electric bass had just been born, and sound systems in cars had been catapulted into a new era. Marvin Gaye had forged so many political, musical and sonic revolutions with this album. We were all in awe and thrill. Still are.

DONNA SUMMER: As a freedom fighter and song writer Marvin Gaye had the soul of a revolutionary drenched in the passion of a poet. It seemed every word was gleaned and processed through the spectrum of love, desire and pain. There is an urgency in his music that resounds in every heart that has ever heard it. MARVIN made me know the power of the spoken word. MARVIN knew that war never wins and LOVE never fails. His words still hold true when we see the world in all of its complexity. It still leaves us asking, OH WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!!! WHAT’S GOING ON!!!!!!!!!!?

MARTYN WARE / Heaven 17: Having had the pleasure of covering the magnificent “I Want You’ as a producer for BEF, I can honestly say that my creative life would have been entirely changed for the worse had I not been guided by the brilliance of Marvin Gaye’s work. His honesty, his concern for his fellow man, his social conscience, his daring, his musicianship and, above all, the amazing tool of direct communication between his soul and ours – his voice – all enriched our lives and gave us so much to aspire to. I am still in complete awe of his mastery of his craft, and in particular, What’s Going On is such a fantastic piece of beauty and relevance that it must be in most people’s top 5 soul albums of all time – it’s certainly in mine. Marvin, thanks for enriching my life.

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