June 10: Marvin Gaye’s Single ‘Mercy Mercy Me’ Was Released On This Date In 1971

0 Posted by - June 10, 2022 - BLACK MUSIC, LATEST POSTS, On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Motown/Tamla

The second single from Marvin Gaye’s landmark album, What’s Going On, is “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).”

It was released on June 10, 1971, according to Album of the Year. This single by Gaye is known as one of the most dramatic songs of sadness over the urban environment after the popularity of the title tune. It went beyond Gaye’s native R&B/soul music genre and became a pop radio staple. Gaye authored the song’s lyrics and performed piano on it. The stringed instruments heard in the song were conducted by Paul Riser and David Van De Pitte.

Additional production by The Andantes, The Funk Brothers’ varied backing instruments, and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore made up the sound components. On Billboard’s Top 100 Pop Singles list, Gaye’s song reached number four. It was number one on the R&B Singles charts for two weeks, from August 14 to August 27, 1971. A wood block smashed by a rubber mallet produced the characteristic percussive sound heard on the track. After that, the sound was saturated in studio reverb. Gaye had one of his few entries on the Adult Contemporary chart with this song.

It reached number 34 in that music chart category. Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” spent two weeks at the top of Canada’s national music chart. From his What’s Going On album, the track became Gaye’s second million-selling hit. It debuted in the top five of the soul album charts before rocketing to the top of the pop music charts.  This song by Gaye quickly became one of his most well-known songs of all time.

It was the late legendary singer’s third single recording to earn a “Grammy Hall of Fame” Award in 2002.


No comments