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Saturday, September 25, 2010

"God knows where we're heading.....make me wanna holler...."

He went from a humble beginning as a Doo Wop singer to eventually be crowned "Prince of Soul."

But Marvin Gaye's greatest contribution was an album described by one music critic as " the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices".

1971's "What's Going On" helped break the mold of the Motown Sound so drastically it put Gaye on a collision course with mogul Barry Gordy, who was appalled at a concept album radiating protest over war, pollution, taxes, and poverty.

Gordy was wrong of course.  And I'll never, ever forget the rainy afternoon that my always cool, conscientious sociology teacher Mr. Hamilton announced to our class he was gonna play some music  with a walloping message.

We knew all too well how turbulent things were at the dawn of the '70's.  But this music brought it home even harder.  Searing, emotional, just like Marvin's own troubled persona.

The album's "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and other masterpieces are far more than priceless social artifacts.  They were fateful warnings about the relentless repeat of history.

Nearly 40 years later, our endless war simply relocated from a Southeast Asian jungle to Middle East deserts & mountains.  Oil "wasted upon the oceans and upon our seas" moved to the Gulf.  And as millions of us became jobless and homeless, a report today about some of the Wall Street executives that helped wreck the economy and then bilked us for billions more of our tax dollars--CitiGroup Corp. will be handing out record multi-million dollar bonuses this year to these enterprising execs.

Make you wanna holler again?  

Me too.  

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