50 years ago today, Marvin Gaye released What’s Going On, a landmark LP in pop music history. The concept album flowed with songs written from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to the US, and seeing only hatred, suffering, and injustice.
Regarded as one of the greatest albums of the 20th century, the artist himself produced it—a first for Motown which had resisted any protest themes—yet they finally released it, and it became Motown’s best-selling album to date.
The soaring title track, with its timeless lyric “war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate,” became a smash—and the second single, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), has been credited with pioneering ecological awareness following the first Earth Day, one year earlier.
“Ah, mercy, mercy me – things ain’t what they used to be. Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows…”
The D.C.-born singer of romantic chart-toppers like, Let’s Get it On and Heard it Through the Grapevine, had made his mark on the world. WATCH a segment from the Biography documentary, What’s Going On… (1971)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- The nation of Colombia abolished slavery (1851)
- FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, was founded in Paris (1904)
- Charles Lindbergh touched down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, after taking off from Long Island, New York (1927)
- 70 years ago, the 9th Street Art Exhibition opened—a gathering of notable artists stepping out of the post-war New York avant-garde scene, collectively known as the New York School (1951)
- David Bowie hit No.1 on the US singles chart with Let’s Dance (one of his best-selling hits worldwide), featuring blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a music video made by David Mallet in Australia that included a famous bar scene with locals dancing (1983)
- Susan Lucci, who also authored a memoir, a cookbook, and a fitness video, finally won a Daytime Emmy for her longtime role in the soap opera All My Children, after being nominated 19 times— the longest period of unsuccessful nominations in television history (1999)
140 years ago today, Clara Barton established The American Red Cross to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters.
She worked with the International Red Cross in Germany 11 years earlier when the Franco-Prussian War broke out and wanted to extend the same good works at home. Barton, already known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her work with the sick during the U.S. Civil War, led the American Red Cross until she was in her 80s. (1881)
Also, 216 years ago today, a pharmacist’s apprentice, Friedrich Sertürner, discovered the valuable properties contained in opium.
He named its active ingredient “morphium” after the Greek god of dreams, and later renamed it morphine. This lifelong pharmacist in Paderborn, Germany was the first person to isolate an alkaloid as an active ingredient from a medicinal plant. When other chemists did not believe the initial report of Sertürner’s discovery of morphine he resorted to public experimentation on himself and three friends to prove that the substance he had isolated was indeed the one which was responsible for the actions of opium. By 1820 chemists had isolated other medically important substances such as quinine, strychnine and caffeine. (1805)
Happy 69th Birthday to Mr. T, the actor and retired WWE wrestler known for his tough-guy role in the 1980s TV series The A-Team and his boxing role in Rocky III.
Born Lawrence Tureaud, he is known for his distinctive African Mandinka warrior hairstyle and his gold jewelry, which he stopped wearing temporarily after volunteering to assist in the cleanup for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Describing himself as a born-again Christian from the hood, he battled cancer and came out a winner. (1952)
41 years ago today, The Empire Strikes Back, produced by George Lucas opened in cinemas in UK and North America. Known now as Star Wars Episode V, it was the second film in the Star Wars film series and the sequel to the 1977 original Star Wars.
It is set three years after the climactic ending of the first film. Under the leadership of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, the Galactic Empire relentlessly pursues Luke Skywalker and the rest of the ragtag Rebel Alliance, including Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO. Meanwhile Luke, who recently found out he was a Jedi, goes to study the Force under Master Yoda.
The highest-grossing film of 1980, it is now regarded as the best film in the Star Wars saga and one of the greatest films ever made. Adjusted for inflation, it is the second-highest-grossing sequel of all time and the thirteenth highest-grossing film of all time in North America. COMPARE the oddly-old trailer and the modern one… (1980)
The 2020 trailer…
And, the 40 year-old trailer…
SHARE the Milestones, Memories, and Music…