Michael McDonald Premieres Powerful New Cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ — Listen


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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Today, April 2, would have been the 81st birthday of the legendary Marvin Gaye — so it was the perfect date for “yacht rock” king and all-around music icon Michael McDonald to release a new live cover of Gaye’s classic anthem “What’s Going On”.

A spectacular live recording bursting with soul and passion, McDonald’s treatment of the track is a joy to listen to. Do so below:

“It’s uncanny and somewhat amazing how great songs or poems relevant to a specific time frame in which they’re written only seem to grow in their profound resonance with the years,” said Michael McDonald in a statement. “‘What’s Going On,’ written by the late, great Marvin Gaye, is one of those.”

Rolling Stone noted that McDonald plans to release a series of singles in the coming months, beginning with “What’s Going On,” as he prepares to (hopefully) head out on a big 50th anniversary tour later this summer with the Doobie Brothers — as long as the trek isn’t halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, of course. The band will then be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November.

Earlier this week, McDonald took part in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series, filming an intimate set from his living room in lieu of the actual Tiny Desk studio, on account of social distancing. Watch that mini-set below:


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