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Marvin Gaye What's Going On Lyrics

Last updated: 08/02/2013 06:22:09 AM

What's Going On 3:53 Disc 1 Trk 1
(M. Gaye, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson, Al Cleveland)
Marvin Gaye
Lead/dbl lead vocal & piano - Marvin Gaye
Background spoken: Lem Barney, Mel Farr
Elgie Stover & Bobby Rogers, Arrg: David Van De Pitte
Engineers: Steve Smith, Larry Miles, Ken Sands.
Session musicians: Eli Fontaine - alto sax intro
James Jamerson - bass, Chet Forest - drums
Eddie 'Bongo' Brown - conga & bongos, Earl DeRouen: congas, Jack
Brokensha - vibes & percussion
Jack Ashford - tambourine & percussion, Robert White - guitar, Joe Messina -
guitar, Johnny Griffith -celeste & keyboards, Earl Van Dyke - keyboards
Tamla Records Original LP release: Jan. 1971
Album: What's Going On Deluxe Edition (2 disc)
Motown Record Co. 2001 LP MOTD 3404
Transcriber: Awcantor@aol

<background conversations throughout>

'Hey, hey, hey, Robert'
('Hey, what's happenin?')
(I saved a grand)
(Brother, what's happenin?)
'Boy, this is a groove recording, man'
(Hey, how ya doin?)
(Say, it's right on)
'I could dig it'
('Yeah, brother like a fine solid, right on)

(Say hey man, what's your name?)
'Sweet Davis' playin' one set
(Horn man)
'The spirit thing is everything'
(He could get down and play it in one take)

Mother, mother (hoo-ooo)
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother (hoo-ooo)
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today
(God don't feel your lovin' today)

Father, father (father, father)
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer (conquer) hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today
(God don't need your picket line)
So-ooh (long)

Picket lines (sister) and picket signs (sister)
Don't punish me (sister) with brutality (sister)
Talk to me (sister) so you can see (sister)
Oh, what's going on (what's going on)
What's going (what's going on)
Yeah, what's going on (what's going on)
Oh, what's going on
(What's going on?)

Ha (groove to you) huh-huh-huh (right on, baby)
(Smoke this!) (He's sacked down on the floor)
Right on, baby
(Tell her she's hearin' it record)
I'm gonna yell wo-wo-jah, ja-ya-ya-ya-ya
(Yeah, it's so good)
I'm gonna yell wo-wo-jah, ja-ya-ya-ya
(Go on the breaks so long) ha-ha-ha-ha

(Say hey, man what's your name?)
(Smoke this!) (I heard you play the fool)
Right on, fool (ha-ha-ha-ha)
(Walk on) Right on (woo!)
The spirit thing is everything
Aye-ya-ya, ya-ya, ya-ya
(The fool told me I was playin' for one take)
Ya-ya, ya-ya, ya-ya
(Marvin, do one take)
(Let's do it again)

Bip-bip-bi-do, bip-bip-bi-do
(Grown men all a-yous)
Would you please hit bi-do
(What's he goin' around for?)
Ba-ba, ba-ba, da-do
(He's hangin')

Mother, Mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong (we're wrong)
Oh, but who are they to judge us
(Fool, see)
Simply 'cause our hair is long?
(You'll see)
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
Bring some understandin' here today
Oh, (ooh-ooh)
(God don't hear no picket lines)

Picket lines (brother) and picket signs (brother)
Don't punish me (brother) with brutality (brother)
Come on, talk to me (brother)
If you can see, what's
What's going on (what's going on)
Yeah, what's going on (what's going on)
Tell me what's goin' on (what's going on)
I’ll tell you you what's going on (what's going on)

(Brrr-rrr, brr-rrr)
Right on, baby, right on
(Let's hear the fat lady!)
(I hear'd it)
(Hey! slow down)
Aye-ya-ya-ya (aye-ya-ya)
Ya-ya, ya-ya (ya-ya-ya-ya)
(Cause I done said it again)

The world is groovin', you know
(Woo!) (whoa!) (oh, it dictates) the entire world
Right on, baby (groove on, brother)
Screw wrong wit' you
(What's wrong wit' you?)
Ay-ya-ya-ya (ay-ya-ya-ya)

(Seen a young girl in someone's house)
(You can't see me-he-he-here, wee-ooo)
Bi-do-bi-do (say, please) bip-bip-bi-do
<inhaling sound>
(Fool in someone's house)
(Would you please don't tell Marvin)
(Same girl come to my place, don't tell him)
'Heard-about-that-da-da-damn you'

<inhale sound>
Right on, baby (woo-woo!)
Fuck you, right?
(Hey, now you find out)
(Now, you take it home)

Ay-ya-ya, ya-ya, ya-ya, ya-ya-ya
Wednesday, he's home
Let's go on home and see him play the full time
(Marvin, he's on!)
(Woo! woo! woo! woo!)
Surprise comin' out
(Get the football in)
(Back to the football)
(You won, you lost)
You'll see
Ay-ya-ya, ya-ya, ya-ya, ya-ya-ya)

(If you want get out of here)
Ay-ya-ya-ya (ay-ya-ya-ya)
Ay-ya-ya-ya (ay-ya-ya-ya)
It's cool
It's cool.
Bip-bip-bi-do, bip-bip-bi-do
(What's goin' on, this is too long?)
Ah, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.


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A time for peace | Reviewer: Jet Navarrette | 8/2/13

As I sit here, I wonder if you're still a friend mine?
Marvin's music has touched so many people from so many generations. I spoke with a guy at a party and we were discussing music, he told me that while he was in Viet Nam he would listen to What's going on when he got out of the mud. It gave him hope that just maybe people back home were tired of all the horrible problems around the world and just take care of their own, well here it is 40 years later and we still face the same tragedies that were happening then. His music has touched me in ways I can't explain. His words still remain in my soul, he was years ahead of his time. His untimely death was a tragedy for all mam kind. Who knows he may have come up with the insight and vision that if we only listened to, may have changed our lives, for the betterment. I know he is a friend of mine. I know he sees us, he hears us. When are we going to really move forward and love one another. Peace brother Marvin, peace to all my brothers. Jet...

I was impressed | Reviewer: AMLM | 6/4/10

I was Impressed by the comment from reviewer Col. Santo A.Chase USA to the Song and Marvin.

Honesty, I may not understand the comment in the true meaning because I'm in the middle of still studying English.

But, I felt something new after I read the review,
My way of feeling was much better than before.

I felt there is an important background.

That was an important experience for me.

Thank you very much, Col. Santo A.Chase USA.
Thank you very much, Marvin.

Prophet indeed... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/18/08

...I remember this song so well, living in the inner city, fighting a war all of our own, wondering every single day What's going on. Marvin's words hold so very true still...the tears are flowing now...yes, a Prophet indeed!

Ms. G

"Like It Is, Like I Wass" | Reviewer: Col. Santo A. Chase, USA(Ret.) | 11/9/07

It has been said;" The more things change,the more they stay the same". These words that Marvin wrote in 1971 are more relivant now in the 21st century than whenfirst released. Marvin was not only a Master Composer but a "Prohpet". Today, we still have mothers crying over sons dying in foreign lands far away. Today the enviornment is in greater danger now more than ever. If an alien from another planet were to listen to this song now he would think that it was about 2007 not 1971. We as Americans had better wake-up and pay attention to these words and problems of today. In 1971 I was a high school student and I was worried about being drafted. Now I worry about our sons & daughters dying in an immoral & illegal war based on deception, lies & greed. In 1971 Ireally liked Marvin, now I love & miss him. What's gone wrong?

still the same! | Reviewer: Laura Berry | 3/12/06

this song captures the confusion and frustration of the times, that so many felt and still feel. this song convays in a very subtle way the non-violent protests methods, which were so popular in the times. this song still has such a great impact on people all around the world because the same confusion and frustraction still exists today.


Brilliance for a dark day. | Reviewer: Komodo | 9/12/05

This song shall stand the test of time, as shall so much of Marvin's other work. Seriously this is the sort of music that comes along once in a lifetime - and when it hits you at the core, it stays for good. You never forget how it made you feel that first time... and you never forget what it meant to you inside when you were first struck by it. Magic defined in music.
Thanks so much, Marvin.