Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

1970, the World starts to care about the environment’s future establishing the first Earth Day on April 22. A year later the single Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) was released...

1970, the World starts to care about the environment’s future establishing the first Earth Day on April 22. A year later the single Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) was released from Marvin Gaye’s most successful album What’s Going On, instantly becoming one of the anthems of the environmental movement, reaching #1 of the R&b hit and #4 of the Billboard Pop chart.

During the production of the album, Gaye actively participated in the songwriting process for the first time, adding political and social statements to the songs and stepping back from the love songs he was known for.

Gaye wrote the music of the song in collaboration with other two Motown hitmakers Al Cleveland and Four Tops member Renaldo “Obie” Benson, while the lyrics were written solely by Gaye, who was inspired by the stories that his brother Frankie told him when he came back from the Vietnam War.

Also in 1991, Robert Palmer combined the song in a medley with Gaye’s 1976 hit I Want You. Palmer’s single reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1991.

Named as “The number-one purveyor of soul music”, Marvin Gaye has given the environment a voice, letting it become the protagonist of our era. In this song he fears the oil in the ocean, he celebrates the blue sky, he speaks in the name of animals which are dying , he warns on the overpopulation of the planet and even if more than forty years have passed, his words remain, unfortunately, so very present.

 

Lyrics

Woo ah, mercy mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me
Ah 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…
My sweet Lord… No
My Lord… My sweet Lord

 

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
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Sounds from the Bucket
Francesca Aloisio

Francesca is both an International Relations graduate and a dancer living in Rome. She is particularly interested in international issues, intercultural learning and culture sharing, as well as music and arts. She is currently a consultant for the UN agency IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) in the communication division.
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