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Old 07-16-2018, 03:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Classic Albums We Have All (Probably) Heard

Okay, this is not going to be anything like MB Classics, or any of its countless (well, four) spin-offs. There's no voting here; we're not deciding on whether or not these albums are classics. That judgement has been made, by critics, fans, other musicians - hell, history itself has voted and decided these albums are all-time classics, and who are we to argue with that?

But let's talk about them. Anyone can suggest an album, as long as it is universally recognised as a classic. I'll kick it off with this, an album I doubt anyone would disagree is a true legendary classic.



What's Going On - Marvin Gaye - 1971

I'm somewhat ashamed to say that though I knew of this album, I had not listened to it until a few years back, when I featured it in my Classic Albums I Have Never Heard journal (cos, you know, I hadn't) and it'll be no surprise to anyone I was totally knocked out by it.

It would of course be overly simplifying things to suggest that "black music" (for want of a better term, so forgive me) up until the release of this album had been basically in one of four categories: jazz, blues, soul/funk (which would kind of metamorphose during this decade into disco) and gospel. I'm sure there were other genres, but when we think of black music around this period, that's what comes to mind.

Blues dealt with the bad side of life, but generally (and again this is open to correction/education) was a more personal thing - my life has gone to crud, I can't get a job, my woman done left me etc - while jazz was, well, jazz, and being mostly (again, sorry if I'm oversimplifying or stereotyping; I don't mean to) instrumental, didn't have a lot to say about politics or the state of the world. Gospel was all, naturally, praise God and He is mighty, and while it certainly arose from and reflected the time of slavery, again it did not tackle any real-world issues. And funk and soul? Hey, they were all about havin' a good time, brother!

So for an artist like Gaye to come out with a record like this in his chosen genre was, well, pretty mindblowing and earth-shattering. Certainly, it wasn't the first collection of songs to protest against the Vietnam War (Dylan, for one, had been doing this since the late sixties, and would continue to do so) but mostly, that kind of thing seemed left to the folk and indeed “hippy” generation. Black folks didn't seem to have an opinion on the war, or if they did, they were keeping their mouths shut about it. Gaye set out to challenge this very mindset, asking everyone – but especially his black brothers and sisters - to “look around and see what's going on”. And they did.

The album didn't quite start a revolution, but it could be argued that political consciousness in black music had its wellspring here. Later artists like Gil Scott-Heron would take that baton and run with it, as would others, and of course Gaye himself would be taken from us a short thirteen years later, though he would have firmly made his mark on music by then, though not so much as a political commentator, with songs like “Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Sexual Healing” becoming his legacy. But it all started here, brothers and sisters. This was the clarion call, one man looking around and asking himself how could not only the world be as it was, but nobody care?
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey, TH, why don't you tell us how black Marvin Gaye was some more. Way more interesting than the music.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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azz, and being mostly (again, sorry if I'm oversimplifying or stereotyping; I don't mean to) instrumental, didn't have a lot to say about politics or the state of the world.
Disagree vehemently

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Black folks didn't seem to have an opinion on the war, or if they did, they were keeping their mouths shut about it.




MLK was very outspoken against the war.

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The album didn't quite start a revolution, but it could be argued that political consciousness in black music had its wellspring here. Later artists like Gil Scott-Heron would take that baton and run with it,
Pieces of Man slightly predates What’s Going On.


But you’re right about one thing that album was a ****ing game changer. Despite my corrections I think that was a good review.
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Disagree vehemently







MLK was very outspoken against the war.



Pieces of Man slightly predates What’s Going On.


But you’re right about one thing that album was a ****ing game changer. Despite my corrections I think that was a good review.
I admitted I could be wrong about certain things. Thanks for clearing that up.

@ Batty: he was very black
@ Frownland: yeah by all means do it but it's certainly not the only classic album. No reason why it can't be discussed though.
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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MMLP2



thas right folks... the second one!


is Eminem coming back to give us a hiphop album with MMLP3?
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Old 07-16-2018, 08:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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MMLP2



thas right folks... the second one!


is Eminem coming back to give us a hiphop album with MMLP3?
Since when is that album a classic? Did I listen to the wrong album? I mean its not bad but...classic?
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Black folks didn't seem to have an opinion on the war, or if they did, they were keeping their mouths shut about it.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Since when is that album a classic? Did I listen to the wrong album? I mean its not bad but...classic?


It's not but I would also say Eminem doesn't have any classic albums.
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