Year-long celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s seminal 1971 album What’s Going On continue with today’s announcement of Motown/UMe’s December 3 release of the premium vinyl 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition.
The release features direct-to-analog mastering from the original primary album tape reels by the acclaimed engineer Kevin Gray. This is one of the first times that this procedure has been done since 1971, and it offers the listener a unique listening experience.
The full writing and production palette
The bonus LP in the new edition opens up the writing and production palette of the landmark release. Four rare cuts make their vinyl debut on the disc, highlighted by a previously unreleased “stripped” version of the title song. All six original mono single mixes and their B-sides are included, with all of those 7” versions appearing on vinyl for the first time since their original releases. These include alternate versions of “God Is Love” and “Flying High (In The Friendly Sky),” the latter of which was issued on 45 as “Sad Tomorrows.”
The What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition will feature two 180 gram records, a tip-on heavy stock jacket, and the original gatefold with complete lyrics. It also includes printed sleeves with track details, a rare image from the cover sessions, and a brief essay honoring arranger David Van De Pitte.
The main essay in the set is by acclaimed author and poet Hanif Abdurraqib, recently named one of the 25 recipients of the 2021 MacArthur “genius” grant. An e-commerce edition will also include three exclusive lithographs from the What’s Going On photo sessions.
On November 19, Motown/UMe will also release a four-track remix suite from Grammy-nominated producer Salaam Remi, including remixes of tracks from the What’s Going On album and recordings. For example, “No Need” is an unreleased instrumental from the “Sad Tomorrows” sessions, and there is a reinterpretation of the holiday release “I Want To Come Home For Christmas.” This was originally recorded in 1972 and thematically tied to What’s Going On as a tribute to troops in Vietnam who yearned to be with their families for the holidays.
Pre-order the What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition, which is released on December 3.