Interview: Berry Gordy Jr. (Part 3) - JazzWax

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June 09, 2011


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jeff helgesen

Interesting that you asked about why there wasn't a question mark at the end of the title to "What's Goin' On".

Seems to me that it would have been odder if there HAD been a question mark, as the phrase isn't really used as a question in the song:

"Picket lines and picket signs, don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see what's going on..."

Jery Rowan

Funny thing about the question of the missing question mark, it never occurred to me there should be one.

In the context of the song, I've always considered "What's Goin' On" as a statement. One of the most profound statements in the history of music.

Keith Henry Brown

Marc, this is easily the finest interview with Berry Gordy I've ever read. You were extremely well prepared and asked probing and crucial questions. I devoured it all like a hungry wolf. Thank you so much for posting!

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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