Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

3. Marvin GayeWhat’s Going On

To me, Marvin Gaye is the voice of Motown. I mean, Michael Jackson was amazing as a young boy and throughout his career before all that stuff went on. But that album, What’s Going On, I heard a lot of stuff about that record that I can relate to, like him arguing with the record company over lyrics and getting into trouble over smoking weed. Marvin was a rebel. Like, when he was recording some songs with Diana Ross he got into so much trouble for smoking weed in the studio, and getting high! Everyone knows this record, your mother will know it, but she won’t know all that stuff that went on in the studio while it was being recorded!

When Marvin was feeling the songs and creating these lyrics on tracks like ‘Wholy Holy’, that song is more relevant now that it was then. That whole album from beginning to end is just amazing. And the musicianship on there is something else as well. Some of the stuff that you hear on What’s Going On, is actually stuff that Public Enemy later went on to sample.

I’ve got this album on CD, on my iPod and on vinyl – every time you play it, it just gets better. There’s a loneliness in the guy’s voice. Even though he’s singing all these things about coming together, he’s still so fuckin’ lonely himself, and that’s really sad. Then look what happened to him, he ends up getting shot by his old man.

PreviousNext Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today