What’s Going On

~ Release group by Marvin Gaye

Album

ReleaseArtistFormatTracksCountry/DateLabelCatalog#Barcode
Official
What’s Going OnMarvin Gaye12" Vinyl9
  • US1971-05-20
TamlaTS310[none]
What's Going On (Quadraphonic)Marvin GayeVinyl9
Tamla Motown (for non-US releases only)CD4W-7092
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
MotownMOTD-5339050109533923
What's Going OnMarvin GayeVinyl9
MotownWL726110035627261114
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
Motown3746353392737463533928
What’s Going On (pink/blue CD)Marvin GayeCD9
Motown530 022-2731453002227
What’s Going On (black/gold CD)Marvin GayeCD9
Motown530 022-2731453002227
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
  • US1994-06-07
Motown31453-0022-2731453002227
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
Motown, BMG (the former Bertelsmann Music Group, defunct since 2004-08-05; for releases dated 2008 and later, see annotation)31453-0022-2, D104913
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
  • US1998-04-07
MotownMOTD-0883250100070000
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
  • US1998-04-07
Motown530 883-2731453088320
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
  • JP1998-08-05
Polydor (Japanese domestic releases only!)POCT-19544988005219176
What’s Going On (made in Germany by PMDC)Marvin GayeCD9
Motown530 883-2731453088320
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD9
Motown314530883-2731453088320
What’s Going On (made in Germany by Universal M&L)Marvin GayeCD9
Motown530 883-2731453088320
What’s Going On (deluxe edition)Marvin Gaye2×CD19 + 16
  • US2001-02-27
Motown440 013 404-2044001340420
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD11
Tamla Motown (for non-US releases only)0640222044006402222
What’s Going On (deluxe edition)Marvin Gaye2×CD19 + 16
Motown, Tamla Motown (for non-US releases only)013 404-2044001340420
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD11
Motown064 022-2044006402222
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD11
  • CA2003-01-14
Motown4400640222044006402222
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD11
  • US2003-01-14
Motown440 064 022-2044006402222
What's Going OnMarvin GayeDigital Media11
Universal Music AB (Swedish subsidiary of Universal Music Group)[none]
What’s Going OnMarvin Gaye12" Vinyl9
  • US2008-02-01
Mobile Fidelity Sound LabMFSL 1-314821797131414
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeHybrid SACD (CD layer) + Hybrid SACD (SACD layer, 2 channels)9 + 9
  • US2008-12-30
Mobile Fidelity Sound LabUDSACD 2038821797203869
What’s Going On (deluxe edition)Marvin Gaye2×SHM-CD19 + 16
  • JP2009-04-09
MotownUICY-94036/74988005554901
What’s Going On (deluxe edition)Marvin Gaye2×CD19 + 16
  • FR2010-10-25
Motown, Tamla0044001340529, 0044001340628, 0600753279557600753279557
What’s Going On (40th anniversary edition)Marvin Gaye2×CD + Vinyl19 + 18 + 9
  • GB2011-06-27
Universal Music (plain logo: “Universal Music”)27682270602527682273
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD11
Motown533 557-90600753355794
What's Going OnMarvin GayeCD11
Motown533 557-90600753355794
What’s Going On (96kHz / 24bit)Marvin GayeDigital Media12
  • XW2012-05-12
Motown00602537046638
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeCD15
  • JP2013-02-25
UICY-757714988005782304
What’s Going On (mini‐LP)Marvin GayeSHM-CD15
  • JP2013-09-25
MotownUICY-400104988005782205
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeBlu-ray9
  • XE2013-10-04
Motown, Tamla0600753444504600753444504
What’s Going On (192kHz / 24bit)Marvin GayeDigital Media12
  • XW2014-02-22
Motown602537809899
What’s Going OnMarvin Gaye12" Vinyl9
  • XE2016-05-26
Tamla0600753534236, TS-310600753534236
What’s Going On (2018 MQA x UHQCD)Marvin GayeHQCD15
  • JP2018-06-20
Motown, Universal Music (plain logo: “Universal Music”)UICY 402164988031277591
What’s Going OnMarvin Gaye2×12" Vinyl6 + 3
  • US2019-01-11
Motown, Universal Music Special Markets, Mobile Fidelity Sound LabB0026761-01, UD1S 2-008821797200820
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeDigital Media9
  • XW2020-11-13
Motown602435428147
What’s Going OnMarvin GayeDigital Media9
  • XW2020-11-13
Motown602435428277
What’s Going On (deluxe edition 50th anniversary)Marvin GayeDigital Media21
  • XW2021-01-22
Motown00602435679075
What’s Going On: The Detroit MixMarvin GayeDigital Media9
  • XW2021-01-22
Motown00602435683645

Relationships

covers:What’s Going On by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
included in:Volume Three: 1971–1981
part of:Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2020 edition (number: 1) (order: 1)
The Guardian 100 Best Albums Ever (number: 1) (order: 1)
15 Most Influential Albums... (... Not Recorded by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis or the Rolling Stones) (SPIN magazine, 2003-04) (number: 4) (order: 4)
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2003 edition (number: 6) (order: 6)
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 6) (order: 6)
Prix Soul (Académie du Jazz) (number: 1972) (order: 8)
Absolute Radio's The 100 Collection (number: 11) (order: 11)
Discogs:https://www.discogs.com/master/66631 [info]
reviews:https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/n825 [info]
https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/pq9p [info]
other databases:https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/marvin_gaye/whats_going_on/ [info]
https://www.musik-sammler.de/album/64924/ [info]
Allmusic:https://www.allmusic.com/album/mw0000651085 [info]
Wikidata:Q901648 [info]

CritiqueBrainz Reviews

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Most Recent

Easily one of the greatest albums of all time, What's Going On is nothing short of a masterpiece. Like Bob Marley's Exodus, it mixes gritty social commentary and anguished dissatisfaction with expressions of religious devotion; indeed, the singer once stated that the album had been written by God, with Gaye merely the vehicle selected to deliver its messages. And like Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, its non-standard musical arrangements, which heralded a new sound at the time, gives it a chilling edge that ultimately underscores its gravity, with subtle orchestral enhancements offset by percolating congas, expertly layered above James Jamerson's bubbling bass. For a singer that had built his career on pop records written by others, What's Going On was a very bold departure, and considering that Motown boss Berry Gordy was flatly against issuing it, Gaye's determination in seeing the project to fruition is certainly something to be celebrated.

Ten years ago, for the 30th anniversary reissue, Universal unearthed the album's alternate early mix, done in Detroit, shortly before Marvin and Motown shifted camp to Los Angeles; this less-cluttered mix is highly instructive, allowing listeners to hear the disc from a new vantage point. The 30th set also had a live bonus set, taken from a 1972 performance; but this time around, the collected bonus tracks include original mono mixes of the album's 45 RPM single releases, plus some unreleased outtakes from the LP, as well as an entire second CD of funk jams Marvin cut with Hamilton Bohannon's band. Much of this material has never been released before. This time around, the Detroit mix of the album has been relegated to vinyl only (good news for those who prefer that format to compact disc), while the accompanying LP-sized booklet has brief essays by biographers David Ritz and Ben Edmonds, giving a bit of context to the proceedings.

In any form, What's Going On is an album that everyone should have in their collection; no matter how many times you play it, there is always something else to discover, from the post-Vietnam psychosis of What's Happening Brother to the pusher's ode of Flyin' High; from the terror of Mercy Mercy Me to the hopefulness of Right On and the righteous indignation of Inner City Blues. If you've already got both mixes of What's Going On, the funk jams make this release a welcome package; if you haven't heard the album for a while, or never got your hands on the Detroit mix, this 40th anniversary edition is a must-have.