Years before global warming was big news and going green was the new black, soul legend Marvin Gaye wrote “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” off of the now classic album What’s Going On in 1971. Gaye seemed to get the connections between the soul, the environment, justice and equality. Here’s what Marvin Gaye had to say about “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and his spiritual quest in a 1976 interview with Sounds:
I would love to quit show-business and go after that knowledge and that power that the truly gifted sorcerer has. The power’s here, it’s in the rocks, it’s in the air, it’s in the animals. There are men of knowledge who could take these forces and elements and cause mysterious things to happen to the body, transform themselves and do many, many marvelous things. I would like to become a man of power, and I would like to use it in a good fashion.
The knowledge that we have is enough to catapult ourselves over the hurdle into super-knowledge, where we become superbeings. But at that point we always destroy ourselves. That will always happen because super-knowledge is only for the chosen few. But the few can be of a greater number, that’s why I talk about it. If only we would adhere to certain laws that Mother Nature…THAT’S THE KEY!
We appear to have reached the bottom line. And, just like Bunny says (here he’s referring to the Jamaican musician Bunny Wailer), it’s in obeying the laws of nature that this wisdom and freedom lies. Those songs aren’t written for nothing. A lot of the time, they don’t even know it as writers, but they’re just forced to put Mother Nature into the picture, like in ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.’” -Marvin Gaye, 1976