Marvin Gaye… “Whats Going On”….The Greatest Gospel Album Ever!!!
Yes…you read that correctly. In my humble opinion, Marvin Gaye gave to us the Greatest Gospel album ever recorded.
“So, you’re saying that drug addict, womanizing, sexual healing, I Sure Love to Ball, Marvin Gaye…much less made a Gospel album, but he made the GREATEST Gospel album ever??” BLASPHEMY!!!!
Well, before you crucify me and my unorthodox thought process…consider these lyrics from the song titled “God Is my Friend” from the What’s Going On album.
Oh don’t go and talk about my father God is my friend Jesus is my friend He made this world for us to live in, and gave us everything And all he asks of us is we give each other love. Oh ya Don’t go and talk about my father Cause God is my friend Jesus is my friend He loves us whether or not we know it Just loves us, oh ya And He’ll forgive all our sins Forgive all our sins
Oh ya Love your mother, she bore you Love your father, he works for you Love your sister, she’s good to you Love your brother, your brother Don’t go and talk about my father, He’s good to us, God is my friend Jesus is my friend For when we call on Him for mercy, Mercy Father He’ll be merciful, my friend Oh, yes He will All he asks of us, I know, is we give each other love
And another element of social consciousness that echo most holy scripture in its concern for justice, peace, and righteousness in our lands…lyrics from “Mercy Mercy Me”…(maybe my all-time favorite)…
Oh, mercy mercy me Oh, things ain’t what they used to be No, no Where did all the blue sky go? Poison is the wind that blows From the north, east, south, and sea Oh, mercy mercy me Oh, things ain’t what they used to be No, no Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas Fish full of mercury Oh, mercy mercy me Oh, things ain’t what they used to be No, no Radiation in the ground and in the sky Animals and birds who live nearby are dying Oh, mercy mercy me Oh, things ain’t what they used to be What about this overcrowded land? How much more abuse from man can you stand? My sweet Lord My sweet Lord My sweet Lord
You see…I can’t explain to you Marvin the adulterer, or Marvin the heavy drug user, or Marvin the womanizer…and I won’t even try to…WHY?? Because it’s not important to this matter…all that I can explain to you is that Marvin gave us arguably the most important musical work of art ever created…again…in my opinion…and I believe that we should appreciate it for what it is…
“But there is no way, Lyndon, that God could give a Gospel album to Marvin…he wasn’t a Gospel singer for starters, and secondly he was an extremely troubled man…his drug addiction and even parental abuse is well documented.”
You are absolutely right…but my question to you is…”What makes Marvin different from Moses?? A murderer…..What makes Marvin different from David whom I’m pretty sure you’ve told his story of defeating Goliath to every child in your Sunday school class?? A murderer, an adulterer, a liar…on that point…I don’t think Marvin murdered anyone…LOL!!
I can go on and on, so I’m pretty sure that you get my point…
A few years back Smokey Robinson was on the Monique Show and he told the story of how he visited Marvin Gaye’s house when he was writing the What’s Going On album and Marvin told Smokey that “God was writing this album.”
I believe that story, because there is no other way that you get the sincerity, passion, transparency, and lyrics like those, on this album, without some type of divine inspiration.
Consider the time in which the What’s Going On album was released as well. It was released in 1971…3 years after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that not only rocked our Nation but the entire world…I’m pretty sure Marvin felt this. This is after the height of the Civil Rights struggle in our country and the Vietnam War. Oppressed people from all over our country were taking to the streets and fighting the oppressive powers of government, at all levels. Consider this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom. -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
And this one…
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This is the context for the What’s Going On album…this was the atmosphere in which Marvin sat at his piano and allowed nothing less than ‘spirit possession’ to take place as he leaned back on his gospel roots, Pentecostal church upbringing, and the countless sermons of his troubled Father and Preacher.
I am convinced…God had a message for America…black, white, brown, red, yellow, and blue(what’s blue)…and he chose to use Marvin in order to get that message to us …
Again…Marvin’s life is well documented like King David’s life is, so we all know the story. But, the work of art on this album is beyond amazing…it’s simply God inspired…it is the Gospel and that’s why I’ve given it the title of “Greatest Gospel Album Ever.”
For Marvin’s sake…I wish that the spirit of ‘What’s Going On’ could have followed him throughout the days of his life…maybe he would’ve given us a ‘What’s Going On’ sequel circa 2013. And, instead of the Vietnam War he would speak of a failing public educational system where countless children are being left behind, or maybe he’d write about the moral decay in our country, that I’m sure would’ve made him and his drug using friends feel like Spirit filled saints on the lower end of the sin totem pole.
Either way…you get my drift…I love this album…I’ve purchased and lost two copies of it already…time to buy a new copy today…I have to play it for my 4 month year old 🙂
My prayer is that God uses me like he used Marvin on ‘What’s Going On’…Lord knows I’m no more righteous than Marvin was…and no more perfect than Marvin may not have been…thank God that, like Marvin, we can all still be used…it’s the heart that matters most!!!
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13:22)
Lyndon- “Looking For Love”
Oh yeah…I almost forgot…Purchase my new single “Looking For Love” on itunes, google play, amazon…you can also listen to it here first on jango…