MotownMotown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. says he’s “extremely happy” Marvin Gaye convinced him to release the 1971 smash “What’s Going On,” because it became the label’s biggest record at that time.

In an interview with TMZ, Gordy, whose Motown label released music from The Jackson 5, Diana Ross & the Supremes and Smokey Robinson, confirms he advised Gaye to not release “What’s Going On” because it was too political. But Gordy says even though he advised against it, Gaye was determined to see it through.

“I was extremely happy that I released it because it was the biggest record at that time,” Gordy tells the gossip site. “But Marvin was so determined, and such a beautiful person was Marvin. And he fought everything that he thought was injustice and he wanted to speak about — he had a brother in Vietnam — and he convinced me that we should try it. But I didn’t think it was going to work.”

The 86-year-old record executive then adds, “But it did and it was very successful. He was a very true artist and I miss him a lot.”

“What’s Going On,” now considered a landmark recording, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, sold more than two million copies, and became one of Gaye’s most successful Motown songs ever. It’s routinely included on various lists of the Greatest Songs of All Time.

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