Motown boss Berry Gordy didn't want to release Marvin Gaye's timeless masterpiece, because he feared songs like "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler" would be too politically provocative. But as a tried and true hitmaker Marvin used all the leverage he could muster to preserve the integrity of the album, which touched on sensitive topics like drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War. The record was also his most musically daring, blending Latin and funk rhythms with the radio-ready R&B Motown was known for. If your vinyl copy of this masterpiece is old and scratchy, rediscover it on Spotify in full digital clarity.
Marvin Gaye, What's Going On (1971)