#ThrowbackThursday! Songs of the Environmental Movement: Mercy, Mercy, Me!

The Number 2 song in my Songs of the Environmental Movement blog is “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye. If you missed my first blog about the meaning behind Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell, read it here!

You may be asking yourself, what was an R&B artist doing singing about the political and social issues like the environment? Supposedly, Berry Gordy, music executive and founder of Motown Records, didn’t know what “ecology” meant. Marvin was soul searching and chose to use the word “ecology” because he wanted to write songs that could have an impact on the world as a departure from the love songs he was known for. “Mercy, Mercy Me” was released on June 10, 1971 as the second of the four singles from Marvin’s critically acclaimed eleventh studio album “What’s Going On,” where Marvin wrote about his frustration with the Vietnam war.

Not coincidentally, “Mercy, Mercy Me” was released a year after the US environmental movement began and people started thinking about the future of our planet with the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 1970. In 2003, the Rolling Stone’s placed “What’s Going On” at the 6th position on their list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Marvin was prophetic about issues including environmental justice, climate change, and water contamination. I wish we would have heeded his warning.

Read more facts about Marvin Gaye’s “The Ecology.”

Join me for my next Songs of the Environmental Movement blog when I take a look at Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.”


Lucy brings more than 30 years experience providing specialized environmental consulting to industry. To help with risk reduction, she has focused on solving clients’ environmental compliance challenges by providing cutting edge hazardous waste management solutions (contingency plans, waste characterization); Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA) and Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) reporting; and NPDES (stormwater, non-contact cooling water and process specific) permitting. Lucy’s thorough and intuitive TURA planning has helped clients improve product quality, establish a more effective safety culture, and enhance their bottom line. Lucy’s passion for the environment is evident. If you would like to explore how to make improvements in your EHS efforts, contact Lucy today!

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