Perhaps the effect I least expected my trip to New York to have on me this week was a newfound appreciation for Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” thanks to a talented group of old men performing on a subway platform. When it comes to soul, I tend to go more for mid-1960s albums like Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul or Smokey Robinson’s Going to a Go-Go, both released in 1965. As such, I had previously discounted Marvin Gaye’s 1971 What’s Going On as too late for my tastes, despite the album’s reputation as a masterpiece. When I heard the eponymous track from that album being performed while I waited for the subway, I began to enjoy it before I recognized the track, breaking my prejudices against the song and giving me a new appreciation for it. Check out the original below.
Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”