Song of the Day: Marvin Gaye “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”
The heavy groove and social commentary on “Inner City Blues” comes from one of Marvin Gaye’s most politically-charged albums, What’s Going On. The record was released in 1971 on Detroit’s Motown records and is a richly textured and seamless musical montage that brought many of America’s social and political ills to light. So many universal issues including war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction are dealt with on this monumental album. Interwoven throughout this masterwork is a call to all humanity to invoke the spirit of love, compassion, human rights & justice, and respect for the earth. Gaye’s fight to create, produce and eventually get this album released is a whole story in and of itself. The status quo at Motown was that ‘music with a message’ didn’t sell. This album, one of Motown’s best-selling and most enduring of all-time proved that progressive political themes and messages of social change do indeed “sell.”
Marvin Gaye was born in Washington DC in 1939 and was singing, harmonizing and playing piano in Doo-Wop groups by his early teens. While still a teen, a move to Chicago and Detroit shortly thereafter, brought him to the attention of Motown’s Berry Gordy. Gaye quickly recorded hit after hit, most of the early gems being penned by staff song writers. Never one to be held back, he quickly established himself as a songwriter, and a producer of the highest order. He went on to become one of the most iconic and influential musical artists of all time. Marvin Gaye, we salute you!