The song “Mercy Mercy Me” is from the classic album What’s Going On. It was released in 1971 post Vietnam war. Gaye’s brother was actually in the military during the Vietnam war. This album was inspired by Post America Vietnam war. The album is said to be the story of America post Vietnam war through Gaye’s brother, Frank, eyes. The economy was actually doing bad. Many of the veterans from the war were out of work when they returned home from war. While the entire album is about America post Vietnam war the song “Mercy Mercy Me” is specifically about the environment.
Gaye’s message is clear in this song that he has a genuine concern for our environment and eco-system. This is evident in the lyrics written by Marvin Gaye, “ Mercy mercy me, ahh things aint what they used to be, no no where did the blue skies go? Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east”. Another reference to the environment is “Ahh things aint what they used to be, no no Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury.
During this time so many Americans where torn between a war that many didn’t believe was justified. This album happen to be Gaye’s most notable album. Although originally Berry Gordy didn’t approve of this album. He didn’t believe that these social conscious songs where as marketable as the love ballads that Gaye would originally do. Marvin is specifically talking about the greed of man that causes damage to mother nature and our natural resources. In one of Gaye’s interview he talks about how being one with mother nature is very important.
Gaye specifically references this when referring to “Mercy Mercy Me”. This album inspired the whole music industry. Many artists covered these songs. Many of them even saw Gaye in a different light. Miles Davis is even quoted saying He wanted to record a few records with Gaye after the release of this classic album. I believe this is one of the great protest songs of all times.
Marvin Gaye. The Gift Of Soul. Retrieved November 7, 2012, From http://afgen. com/marvin. html