A classic live performance by Motown legend Marvin Gaye is being released for the first time on its own this fall.
What’s Going On Live features one of Gaye’s only performances in the wake of the immortal 1971 album, recorded at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in the spring of 1972. At the time, Gaye had not performed live in four years, and, before recording What’s Going On, had struggled with depression after the passing of his close friend and duet partner, Tammi Terrell. “I understood that I’d been punishing myself by staying away so long,” Gaye later told biographer David Ritz. “I’d been denying myself love, and that’s one of the most foolish things a man can do.” The performance was, in fact, the culmination of a day of love for Gaye from his hometown and the nation’s capital: he’d given a speech to his high school, toured various landmarks with his parents by motorcade, and was feted at a ceremony at the House of Representatives, receiving a key to the city. (Gaye only performed one other set in 1972: an abbreviated one in Chicago, filmed for the documentary Save The Children.)
The stunning performance at the Kennedy Center opened with a medley of Gaye’s biggest ’60s hits, then a performance of What’s Going On in full. (Sadly, the performance is incomplete, after a delay in switching tapes during “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).” It was first released nearly two decades ago, for a 30th anniversary deluxe edition of the album; for its first standalone release, it’s been newly remixed by John Morales at M+M Mix Studios and mastered by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering. The package will include rare images from the concert as well as new liner notes by Ritz.
What’s Going On Live will be available October 18 on 2LP (with a turquoise color variant), CD and digital (including hi-res 24-bit/96kHz editions at participating partners).
What’s Going On Live (Tamla/Motown/UMe, 2019)
- Sixties Medley: That’s The Way Love Is / You / I Heard It Through The Grapevine / Little Darling (I Need You) / You’re All I Need To Get By / Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing / Your Precious Love / Pride and Joy / Stubborn Kind Of Fellow
- Right On
- Wholy Holy
- Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
- What’s Going On
- What’s Happening Brother
- Flying High (In The Friendly Sky)
- Save The Children
- God Is Love
- Stage Dialogue
- Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) (Reprise)
- What’s Going On (Reprise)
All tracks recorded at The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. – 5/1/1972. Previously released on What’s Going On: Deluxe Edition (Motown 440 013 404-2, 2001)