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Inner City Blues

04:49 Download
Urban Funk
08/15/2013
Marvin Gaye

Story

"Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)", often shortened to "Inner City Blues", is a song by Marvin Gaye, released as the third and final single from and the climactic song of his 1971 landmark album, What's Going On. Written by Gaye and James Nyx, the song depicted the ghettos of inner-city America as it discussed how the bleak economic situation would lead to someone wanting to holler and throw ones hands up. The song was recorded in a mellow funk style with Gaye playing piano. Several of the Funk Brothers also contributed, including Eddie "Bongo" Brown, and bassist Bob Babbitt.

The song helped Gaye make history by being one of the few artists to have three or more Top 10 songs off Billboard's Pop Singles chart peaking at #9 and one of the first to have three consecutive #1 hits on Billboard's R&B Singles chart where it stayed for two weeks.[1] Although not certified by the RIAA at that time, all three releases from the What's Going On album gained Gold status by selling over 1,000,000 copies in the United States.

In its unedited version as it appears on the album, the final minute of the song (and of the LP) is a reprise to the theme of "What's Going On", the album's first song, then segues into a dark ending. This final minute was cut off of the single version, as well as other sections of the song so the single edit runs under three minutes--this edit appears on subsequent reissues of the LP.

 

Cover Versions

The song was first covered by Grover Washington, Jr. in 1972 from the album named "Inner City Blues."[4] Also in 1972, on her album A Time In My Life, Sarah Vaughan covered "Inner City Blues" with David Axelrod on the drums. The same year the song was recorded by The Chi-Lites on the album A Lonely Man, and by The Impressions for their album Times Have Changed. Christian alternative band Adam Again did a soulful rendition of the song on 1990's Homeboys. In 1993, guitarist Larry Coryell covered the song from his album "Fallen Angel."[5][6] In 1994, Angela Winbush covered the song and released it as a single and abbreviated the name simply to "Inner City Blues". 1996 saw R&B group Ideal release a cover of the song on the Original Gangstas soundtrack. In 1998, the Mayfield Four released a cover of "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" under its original title on their debut album Fallout. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band also did a cover of this song on their album, What's Goin' On (2006) (Shout Factory). It was also covered by Joe Cocker on his album titled "Cocker".

Etta James covered her for her 1998 album Life, Love & the Blues.

It was also covered by the hard-rock band Sevendust in 2003, and can be found on the DVD included with some versions of their album Seasons, and then was included on their compilation album Best of (Chapter One 1997-2004) which was released in late 2005. In 2004, John Mayer performed the song live and later released on his compilation live album As/Is. The version includes a turntable solo by New York jazz turntable player DJ Logic.

In 1997 the Grover Washington Jr. version was re-released on the compilation Funky Jazz Classics & Original Breaks from the Tough Side, the first of the Pulp Fusion series. In 2007 the Sarah Vaughan cover was also re-released on the compilation Bustin' Loose, the tenth of the Pulp Fusion series.

The original version of the song also was used in the soundtrack of the 2007 film Zodiac, directed by David Fincher.

Lyrics

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Dah, dah, dah, dah
dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
Fore we see it you take it
Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain't livin', This ain't livin'
No, no baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no
Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
I can't pay my taxes
Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Yea, it makes me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands
Crime is increasing
Trigger happy policing
Panic is spreading
God know where we're heading
Oh, make me wanna holler
They don't understand
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah
Dah, dah, dah

Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong
Who are they to judge us
Simply cause we wear our hair long