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Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me – 1971

About The Song

“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” is a soulful and socially conscious song by Marvin Gaye, released in 1971 as part of his iconic album “What’s Going On.” The track addresses environmental issues and reflects Gaye’s concern for the state of the planet. Here are five facts about the song:

  1. Environmental Message: “Mercy Mercy Me” is notable for its environmental themes, expressing Marvin Gaye’s distress about pollution and the degradation of the natural world. The lyrics mourn the damage done to the oceans, skies, and the overall ecology.
  2. Album Concept: The song is part of Gaye’s groundbreaking concept album “What’s Going On,” which tackled various social and political issues of the time, including war, poverty, and civil rights. The album marked a departure from traditional Motown sound and was a critical and commercial success.
  3. Instrumentation and Arrangement: The musical arrangement of “Mercy Mercy Me” is characterized by its smooth, jazzy feel. The song features a prominent saxophone solo, and Gaye’s emotive vocals are complemented by lush orchestration and background vocals.
  4. Chart Success: Upon its release, “Mercy Mercy Me” became a hit, reaching the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song’s success contributed to the overall acclaim of the “What’s Going On” album, which is considered one of the greatest albums in the history of popular music.
  5. Legacy and Influence: The song’s enduring relevance lies in its timeless message about environmental consciousness. It has been covered and sampled by various artists across different genres, attesting to its enduring impact on music and its ability to resonate with new generations.



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Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh Jesus, yeah, mercy, mercy me, ah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Radiation underground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Hey, mercy, mercy me, oh
Hey, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na, na, na
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, ooh, woo