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Singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye Image Credit: AP

‘What’s Going On’ makes powerful political statement

1971

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Marvin Gaye Image Credit: Youtube

Marvin Gaye, one of Motown’s most successful artists, released his 11th studio album. The epic ‘What’s Going On’ was inspired by stories his brother Frankie narrated about the Vietnam War.

‘What’s Going On’ is regarded as one of the greatest albums of the 20th century and was the first Motown anti-war record to feature songs with a political statement.

Motown founder Berry Gordy described ‘What’s Going On’ as the ‘most prestigious record’ ever made. Gaye married Gordy’s sister, Anna, who he would later divorce.

Interestingly Gaye only won two Grammy awards, however not with ‘What’s Going On’ but with his 1982 hit, ‘Sexual Healing.’

Chuck Berry records rock and roll’s first mega hit ‘Maybellene’

1955

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Chuck Berry in 2008. Image Credit: AFP

Rock and Roll legend Chuck Berry recorded ‘Maybellene’ which is said to be one of the first rock and roll songs every recorded. The song was adapted in part from the hillbilly tune from the early 50s, ‘Ida Red’.

It was the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s debut single release which he intentionally directed to a white audience. It was a No 1 hit on the R’n’B charts and No 5 on the American Pop Charts.

It is not clear how the song got its title but the two most popular stories around it are that it was named after a cow, while others suggest it was taken from the mascara giant Maybellene.

CSNY release song to protest Kent State massacre

1970

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released the protest single ‘Ohio’ a song about the indiscriminate shootings by the Ohio National Guard that claimed the lives of four students and injured nine.

It was written by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State incident of May 4, 1970 in Ohio where 28 guardsmen reportedly fired 67 rounds at the 300-odd students who were participating in a peaceful rally to oppose the US’s participation in the Vietnam War,