Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio
Mass floods in Texas. Earthquakes in Mexico. Hurricanes in Barbuda, Dominica and Puerto Rico.
The past few weeks have been a poignant reminder that Mother Nature can be terrifying.
Debates continue to rage around the world about the impact human intervention has had in all of these tragedies. Global warming remains a contentious subject but more and more are paying attention to the discussion. Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Leonardo Dicaprio, Bette Midler and Don Cheadle have all added their voices to the call for policy action on the issue of climate change.
But decades before the environment would become a hot topic for Hollywood heavyweights, R&B soul singer Marvin Gaye wrote arguably the most beautiful R&B song ever created on the environment.
"Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" is the second single from Gaye's landmark album What’s Going On. The entire record was a tremendous shift for Gaye as he turned away from the tried-and-true topic of love and focused his pen instead on social issues that occupied the headlines of the day.
Written by Gaye, "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" is a sorrowful requiem to a planet in disarray and on the verge of environmental destruction. Upon it's release it was a chart-topping hit. It found a new audience again in the early '90's when Motwon Records released a music video for the song that featured a wide array of celebrities including Big Daddy Kane, Debbie Harry, Bobby Brown, Diana Ross, David Bowie and Wesley Snipes.
Listening to the song today, you realize that Gaye was prophetically asking many of the questions that are finally preoccupying the thoughts of so many across the planet.
Marvin's Room playlist for Sept. 29, 2017:
- Jidenna, "Little Bit More"
- Zaki Ibrahim, "Do the Thing Right"
- In Essence, "I.E."
- Lais, "Mine Only"
- Curtis Mayfield, "So in Love"
- Yuri Koller and Asheley Turner, "All Eyes on You"
- Ashanti, "Foolish"
- Drake feat. Rihanna, "Take Care"
- Sampha, "Timmy’s Prayer"
- Beyonce feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Freedom"
- Marvin Gaye, "Mercy, Mercy Me"