What's Going On?: Marvin Gaye and the Last Days of the Motown Sound

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Canongate U.S., 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 284 pages
2 Reviews
Arguably the most important soul album ever made, What's Going On established Motown star Marvin Gaye as a unique and maverick musical talent and simultaneously helped to re-define the Motown sound. Gaye's determination and vision resulted not only in inspirational, pioneering grooves but, in the era of Vietnam and Civil Rights protests, an album that challenged America to take a long hard look at itself.By focusing on the story behind the recording of this seminal work, Ben Edmonds has produced a riveting and truly original take on Marvin Gaye. He examines in detail the making of this masterpiece - initially rejected by Motown's quality control department - interviewing many of the artists and record company employees closest to the singer, to arrive at a deeper understanding of what the album means and of Gaye himself. It is a brilliant yet tragic story.

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Review: Marvin Gaye: What's Going On? and the Last Days of the Motown Sound

User Review  - Matt - Goodreads

I would've liked it more if it concentrated on the making of What's Going On more and what was going on with Berry Gordy less. But if you're obsessed with Marvin it's worth the short time it takes to read. Read full review

Review: Marvin Gaye: What's Going On? and the Last Days of the Motown Sound

User Review  - Brian - Goodreads

The first case I've had where the RECORD is better than the book. I personally just wanted it to be more about the context of the album in relation to the era. Still, a solid document of the making of one of my top 10 albums of all time. Read full review

Selected pages


His Own Dark City
The Prince Of Motown Plots
For Real
Americas Sweethearts
Whats Happening Brother?
Stubborn Kinda Fella
Come Together
Into The Light
Here In The Going Going Gone
Cant Forget The Motor City?
Come And Get These Memories
Los Angeles

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About the author (2002)

When Ben Edmonds met the MC5 in the Back Room of the New York art bar Max's Kansas City in December 1968, they advised the impressionable young New Englander to burn his underwear and move to Detroit. This he did (at least the Detroit part), becoming an editor on the fabled Creem magazine. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, NME and the Los Angeles Times; he's also done artist management (The Doors), production (Iggy's Kill City) and all manner of record company work. Ben is currently MOJO's man in America.

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