About The Song

Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Happening Brother,” released in 1971, is a poignant and socially conscious soul ballad that reflects on the experiences of African American soldiers returning home from the Vietnam War. Written by Gaye himself along with James Nyx Jr., the song’s emotive lyrics, and Gaye’s soulful vocals convey a powerful message of reflection, resilience, and hope.

With its soulful melody and introspective lyrics, “What’s Happening Brother” explores the challenges faced by returning veterans as they confront the realities of war and the struggle for racial equality. Gaye’s heartfelt performance captures the emotional toll of war and the longing for peace and understanding.

Upon its release, “What’s Happening Brother” received critical acclaim for its social commentary and emotional depth. Its message resonated with audiences, reflecting the social and political climate of the time and cementing Marvin Gaye’s reputation as a visionary artist who used his music to address important issues.

As we revisit “What’s Happening Brother,” we celebrate Marvin Gaye’s enduring legacy and the lasting impact of this powerful soul ballad. Its timeless message of empathy and resilience continues to resonate with listeners, reminding us of the importance of compassion and understanding in the face of adversity.



… Hey baby, what’cha know good
I’m just gettin’ back, but you knew I would
War is hell, when will it end?
When will people start gettin’ together again?
Are things really gettin’ better, like the newspaper said?
What else is new my friend? Besides what I read
Can’t find no work, can’t find no job, my friend
Money is tighter than it’s ever been
Say, man, I just don’t understand
What’s going on across this land
Ah, what’s happening, brother?
Ay, what’s happening? What’s happening my man? Woo
Are they still gettin’ down where we used to go and dance?
Will our ball club win the pennant?
Do you think they have a chance?
And tell me, friend, how in the world have you been?
Tell me what’s out and I want to know what’s in
What’s the deal man, what’s happening
What’s happening, brother?
What’s happening, brother?
Ah, what’s happening, brother?
What’s happening my man?
Woo, ah, what’s happening, brother?
Say it, man, woo
What’s happening, brother?
What’s been shaking up and down the line?
I want to know ’cause I’m slightly behind the times
Woo-hoo, ooh-ooh

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