It's a socially conscious and lyrically reflective piece.
David O'Donnell 2008
At a time when Motown was better known for pop hits than music with a message, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On changed the musical landscape. It's a socially conscious and lyrically reflective piece, considered by many as his greatest work. Amidst initial resistance from his label, the album got a full release in 1971 and was an instant success. A few years later when asked about the process of making the album Gaye replied.
"In 1969 or 1970, I began to re-evaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say. I was very much affected by letters my brother was sending me from Vietnam, as well as the social situation here at home. I realized that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world."
The result was ‘What’s Going On’, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed soul albums of all time. A must have for any collection.