Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” Celebrates 50th Anniversary

by Mat Dirjish

Celebrating the life and legacy of R&B pioneer Marvin Gaye and to honor the 50th anniversary of the release of his concept record “What’s Going On,” Motown and UMe are releasing a What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2-LP Edition on December 3, 2021. The vinyl release features direct-to-analog mastering from the original album’s tape reels by notable engineer Kevin Gray.

Marvin Gaye What’s Going On – 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition

The offering includes all six original mono single mixes and their B-sides, with all of those 7-in. versions on vinyl for the first time since their original releases. Among them are alternate versions of “God Is Love” and “Flying High (In The Friendly Sky),” the latter issued on a 45 rpm as “Sad Tomorrows.” Also included on the anniversary edition are four rare cuts making their vinyl debut plus a previously unreleased stripped version of the title song.

With two 180-gram records, a tip-on heavy stock jacket, original gatefold with complete lyrics, the release also includes printed sleeves with track details, a rare image from the cover sessions, and a brief essay honoring arranger David Van De Pitte. Complete track lists are as follows:

LP 1: Original LP


1. What’s Going On 3:53

2. What’s Happening Brother 2:44

3. Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky) 3:50

4. Save The Children 4:03

5. God Is Love 1:42

6. Mercy Mercy Me 3:13


1. Right On 7:32

2. Wholly Holy 3:08

3. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) 5:27

LP 2: Bonus Tracks


1. What’s Going On stripped version  3:57

2. What’s Going On  mix one with no strings or horns 3:54 

3. What’s Going On rhythm & strings instrumental mix 3:50

4. Symphony demo version 2:49

SIDE 4 – Original Mono Single Mixes

1. What’s Going On 3:54

2. God Is Love 2:51

3. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) 2:30

4. Sad Tomorrows 2:22

5. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) 2:58

6. Wholly Holy 3:09

Price for the What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2-LP Edition is $59.98. If you have a turntable and can’t wait to get your hands on and ears wrapped around this album, you can preorder your copy today.

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