Sunday, June 24, 2018

Marvin Gaye Asks "Who Really Cares?" In His 1971 Song "Save The Children"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about Marvin Gaye and showcases his 1971 song "Save The Children".

The content of this post is presented for cultural, motivational, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Marvin Gaye for his musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these examples on YouTube.
Click for a 2012 pancocojams post entitled "Five Songs From Marvin Gaye's 1971 "What's Going On" Album". A link to a 2017 pancocojams post showcasing two Marvin Gaye songs is also included in that post.

"Marvin Gaye born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984)[2] was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including "Ain't That Peculiar", "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles "Prince of Motown" and "Prince of Soul".

During the 1970s, he recorded the albums What's Going On and Let's Get It On and became one of the first artists in Motown (joint with Stevie Wonder) to break away from the reins of a production company. His later recordings influenced several contemporary R&B subgenres, such as quiet storm and neo soul.[3] Following a period in Europe as a tax exile in the early 1980s, he released the 1982 Grammy Award-winning hit "Sexual Healing" and its parent album Midnight Love.

On April 1, 1984, Gaye's father, Marvin Gay Sr., fatally shot him at their house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.[4][5] Since his death, many institutions have posthumously bestowed Gaye with awards and other honors—including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[6]

"What's Going On is the eleventh studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, released May 21, 1971, on the Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records.[1] Recording sessions took place in June 1970 and March–May 1971 at Hitsville U.S.A., Golden World and United Sound Studios in Detroit and at The Sound Factory in West Hollywood, California. What's Going On was the first Marvin Gaye album for which Gaye is credited as producer and Motown Records' main studio band, the session musicians known as the Funk Brothers, received a credit.

What's Going On is a concept album consisting of nine songs, most of which segue into the next. It has been categorized as a song cycle; the album ends with a reprise of the album's opening theme. The story is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing only hatred, suffering, and injustice. Gaye's introspective lyrics discuss themes of drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War. He has also been credited with promoting awareness of global warming before the public outcry against it had become prominent.

What's Going On was an immediate success, both commercially and critically. Having endured as a classic of 1970s soul, a deluxe edition set was released on February 27, 2001, and featured a recording of a May 1972 concert shot at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Worldwide surveys of critics, musicians, and the general public have shown that What's Going On is regarded as one of the landmark recordings in pop music history, and one of the greatest albums of the 20th century.[2] The album was ranked number six both on Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", and in the magazine's update nine years later.[3]"

(Marvin Gaye)

[Verse 1]
I just want to ask a question:
Who really cares, to save a world in despair?
Who really cares?
There'll come a time (There'll come a time)
When the world won't be singing (When the world won't be singing)
Flowers won't grow (flowers won't grow, no)
Bells won't be ringing (the bells won't be ringing)
Who really cares? (Who really cares?)
Who's willing to try? (Who is willing to try?)
To save the world, (to save the world)
That's destined to die (that is destined to die)
When I look at the world (when I look at the world)
It fills me with sorrow (it fills me with sorrow)
Little children today (children today)
Are really going to suffer tomorrow (really suffer tomorrow)
(Oh!) What a shame (what a shame)
Such a bad way to live (such a bad way to live)
Oh, who is to blame? (Who is to blame?)
We can't stop living, (when we can't stop living)
Live, (Live)
(Live for life) Live for life
(But let live everybody)
Live life for the children (live life for...the children. Oh, for the Children)
You see, let's...let's save the children
Let's...let's save all the children, (Save the babies, save the babies!)
(And if you want to love, you got the babies)
(Oh you've got the feeling, you've got the feeling)
(You will save the babies, all of the Children)


Example #1: Marvin Gaye - LIVE Save The Children 1972

Nicolas Bouhelier, Published on Sep 14, 2017

Marvin Gaye LIVE Save The Children
At The Kennedy Center

Example #2: What's Going On + Save the Children LIVE

ClassicSoulRadio, Published on Feb 1, 2012

From his Live in Amsterdam 1976 concert.

Example #3: Save The Children Marvin Gaye

showzono100, Published on Feb 22, 2011

Example #4: What's Going On + Save the Children LIVE

ClassicSoulRadio, Published on Feb 1, 2012

From his Live in Amsterdam 1976 concert.


  1. The title of Marvin Gaye's song "Save The Children" and particularly its "Who really cares?" lyrics are poignantly relevant now because of Trump's interment of migrant children in baby jails/concentration camps and because of the saying on the jacket that Melania Trump wore during her visit to a children's shelter which wasn't actually one of those baby jails/concentration camps:

    "A US clothing company is taking a sartorial swipe at Melania Trump, selling jackets bearing the slogan “I really care, don’t you?” in response to the “I really don’t care” jacket the first lady wore to visit migrant children separated from their parents.

    All proceeds from the jackets, selling for $98, will be donated to a Texas-based refugee and immigrant advocacy group, said Emma McIlroy, chief executive of the Wildfang clothing company in Portland, Oregon.

    The first lady’s visit on Thursday to a Texas shelter housing migrant children was overshadowed by the jacket she wore with the words: “I really don’t care, do u?” scrawled in white brush strokes on the back. The jacket prompted a maelstrom on social media.

    Trump’s spokeswoman said the jacket had no hidden message but President Donald Trump tweeted that it referred to “fake news".


    The first lady’s visit to Texas came a day after her husband signed an executive order to modify his administration’s practice of separating children from their migrant parents when they illegally enter the US.

    The practice caused an outcry and was condemned abroad by leaders such as Pope Francis."... US clothing firm takes swipe at Melania Trump with 'I really care' charity jacket

    Reuters in Portland, Oregon, Sun 24 Jun 2018 03.44 EDT

  2. Here's some information that I just happened upon about the motto "I don't care":
    "Posted byu/random_human_being_
    2 years ago [2015 or 2016]
    Why was "Me ne frego" ("I don't care") chosen by Mussolini as one of his mottoes?

    I know that italian Fascism put a strong emphasis on that "machismo" kind of attitude, but being a totalitarian state, wouldn't that phrase go against the idea of the citizen being continuously involved in activities organized by the party (and therefore sort of "caring" about the fascist party)?

    [This is the only reply:]


    2 years ago
    "The catchphrase originated (not linguistically, but for this context) with the "warrior-poet" Gabriele d'Annunzio and became popular among Italian soldiers in World War I. It was an expression of courage and bravado, not carelessness: "we might die tomorrow, but me ne frego." After the war, it continued to be used by Mussolini's squadristi (strike busters) and after he came to power it became the motto of the Black Shirts.

    This song from 1920 may shed some light on the rhetorical gist of the catch phrase:

    The key point is obviously the chorus, "me ne frego di morire per la santa libertà"--"I don't mind dying for sacred liberty." It's all part of the cult of machismo that Fascism cultivated."
    Since reading that, I've found other online references to "me ne frego" and Mussolini, including this article: The fascist movement that has brought Mussolini back to the mainstream"
    Thu 22 Feb 2018; Last modified on Mon 12 Mar 2018 Tobias Jones

    "With his shaved head and thick beard, he looked a bit like a Hells Angel. He had “me ne frego” (“I don’t care” – the slogan used by Mussolini’s troops) tattooed diagonally across the left side of his neck."