Facts about “What’s Going On”
- “What’s Going On” was written by songwriters Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland.
- “What’s Going On” was produced by Marvin Gaye.
- The song was released on January 21, 1971 as the first single from Gaye’s eleventh studio album of the same name (What’s Going On). In 2003, Rolling Stone placed the album at number six on their list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
- The song is one of the most famous protest songs of all time.
- No official music video was ever produced for the song.
- Gaye initially wanted the song to be recorded by the Motown R&B The Originals, but Benson suggested that Gaye sing the song.
- The song’s background vocals were sung by Gaye along with American football players Mel Farr and Lem Barney.
- “What’s Going On” peaked at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B/Soul Singles.
- In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the song at number 4 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. In 2010, the song was placed at the same position on the same list.