Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
|"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"|
|Single by Marvin Gaye|
|from the album What's Going On|
|Released||June 10, 1971|
|Format||Vinyl record (7", 45 RPM)|
|Recorded||Hitsville USA (Studio A); March 1971|
|Marvin Gaye singles chronology|
"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" was the second single from Marvin Gaye's 1971 album, What's Going On. Following the breakthrough of the title track's success, the song, written solely by Gaye, became one of the most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment. Led by Gaye playing piano, strings conducted by Paul Riser and David Van de Pitte, multi-tracking vocals from Gaye and The Andantes, multiple background instruments provided by The Funk Brothers and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore, the song rose to number 4 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart and number one for two weeks on the R&B Singles charts on August 14 through to August 27, 1971. The distinctive percussive sound heard on the track was a wood block struck by a rubber mallet, drenched in studio reverb. The song also brought Gaye one of his rare appearances on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it peaked at number 34.
In 1991, a music video of the song was released by Motown Records, featuring appearances by celebrities such as Smokey Robinson, Johnny Gill, Big Daddy Kane, Holly Robinson Peete, Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Rosie Perez, Bell Biv Devoe, Wesley Snipes, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Rozalla, Debbie Harry and Vanessa L. Williams.
As the single became his second million seller from What's Going On, the album started on the soul album charts in the top five and began charging up the pop rankings. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" soon became one of Gaye's most famous songs in his extensive catalogue. In 2002 it was his third single recording to win a "Grammy Hall of Fame" Award. Like "Inner City Blues", Bob Babbitt, not James Jamerson, plays the bass line.
In 1991, Robert Palmer combined the song in a medley with Gaye's 1976 hit "I Want You". Palmer's single reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1991.
- Marvin Gaye – lead and background vocals, piano, mellotron
- The Andantes – additional background (harmony) vocals
- William "Wild Bill" Moore – tenor saxophone solo
- David Van DePitte – string conduction
- The Funk Brothers – other instrumentation
"Hot Pants (Pt. 1)" by James Brown
|Billboard's Hot Soul number one single
August 14–21, 1971
"Spanish Harlem" by Aretha Franklin