"What's Going On" - Artists Against AIDS


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Full List of Mixes:

  • What’s Going On (Dupri Original Mix) (4:20)
  • What’s Going On (The London Mix) (3:57)
  • What’s Going On (Moby’s Version) (4:38)
  • What’s Going On (Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix) (5:16)
  • What’s Going On (Mangini / Pop Rox Mix) (5:50)
  • What’s Going On (Mick Guzauski’s Pop Mix) (4:09)
  • What’s Going On (Dupri R&B Mix) (4:45)
  • What’s Going On (The Neptunes This One’s For You Mix) (5:00)
  • What’s Going On (Junior Vasquez’s Club Mix) (9:34)
  • What’s Going On (MK Mix) (6:52)
  • What’s Going On (MK Kinchen Aid Dub) (6:27)
  • What’s Going On (Dupri Alternative Extended Mix) (4:46)

Background Information

In the days surrounding the MTV Video Music Awards show in 2001, Bono organized a recording session from September 5 – 7, 2001 to record a version of “What’s Going On” to support AIDS Awareness. The awards show itself was held on September 6, 2001, and many of the artists appearing at the awards show were also able to appear on this recording. The song itself is the cover of a song recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1971.

The recording sessions yielded multiple versions of the title track, and the main release of the single contained nine different mixes of the song. The main version was the “Dupri Original Mix” which featured a varied line up of performers from across all genres of music. Other versions would concentrate on a smaller audience, such as “The London Version” which featured the Edge, and Chris Martin from Coldplay, with Bono featured on vocals. “Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix” featured a far heavier version of the track, and the “Pop Mix” featured more of the younger artists who appeared on the project. Bono is listed with Leigh Blake as executive producer on the single release. Additional remixes that were never released on CD were released on 12-Inch vinyl.

In the wake of the attacks on New York on September 11, 2001, just days after the artists had gathered in New York to record the song, part of the profits from the song were used towards the September 11th fund of the United Way. The album carried a note “In the wake of the tragic attacks on September 11, we feel compelled to recognize the victims of more than 60 nations and their loved ones as well. The proceeds from the “What’s Going On?” release are intended to benefit the following organizations: The September 11th Fund of the United Way until the end of 2001, Artists Against AIDS Worldwide, The Global AIDS Alliance; and others.”

The artists listed on the front cover as being involved in this recording are: Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Destiny’s Child, Jermaine Dupri, Fred Durst, Eve, Perry Farrell (of Jane’s Addiction), Nelly Furtado, Nona Gaye, Darren Hayes, Ja Rule, Jagged Edge, Alicia Keys, Aaron Lewis, L’il Kim, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Pat Monahan (of Train), Monica, Nas, Nelly, NSync, P. Diddy, T Boz and Chili (formerly of TLC), Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani (of No Doubt), Michael Stipe (of R.E.M.), Usher, and Scott Weiland.

A video was filmed for the “Dupri R&B Mix” to promote the song. It featured the artists singing the song while blindfolded. Each blindfold would have a label (“Man”, “Orthodox”, “White”, “Conservative”, “Believe”) on it that could be unwrapped to view other labels. Bono appears early in the video and his blindfold starts with “Rock” and a star symbol, then “Consumer”, “Irish”, “Protestant”, “Voter”, and we also see that “Catholic” was in the mix. The video was directed by Jake Scott and Malik Sayeed. A second video was released of the artists performing the song, with scenes of the destruction in New York on September 11, 2001 intercut with the artists hanging out and performing. It was felt the video version with the messages on blindfolds would be too heavy handed in some markets following September 11, and thus a second version was filmed.

Liner Notes

What’s Going On: By Renaldo Benson, Alfred Cleveland and Marvin Gaye.

Dupri Original Mix / Dupri R&B Mix:
Produced by Jermaine Dupri for So So Def Productions Inc. Co-Produced by LaMarquis “Remarqable” Jefferson. Vocal arrangements by Jermaine Dupri and Phil Tan except for *Nsync vocals arranged by Robin Wiley. Drums performed by Ahmir “?ustlove” Thompson of the Roots. Percussion performed by Omar Phillips. Keyboards performed by Rickey Johnson and ReMarqable. Guitar Solo performed by Wyclef Jean. Additional guitar performed by Billy Odum. Bass performed by Remarqable. Recording Engineers: Phil Tan and John Horesco IV. Additional Recording by Brian Frye and Franny G. Assistant Engineers: Charles McCrorey, Richard J. Tapper, Shane Stoneback and Yen-Hue Tan. Recorded at Battery Studios, NY, SouthSide Studios, Atlanta and the Record Plant, Hollywood. Mixed by Phil Tan and Jermaine Dupri. Mixed at SouthSide Studios, Atlanta.

The London Mix: Produced by Brian Eno. Engineered by Gary Langan. Mixed by Gary Langan, Brian Eno and J. Peter Schwalm. Assistant engineer: Adrian Hall. Lead Vocals: Bono and Chris Martin. Guitar, Bass and Backing Vocals: The Edge. Keyboard and Backing Vocals: Chris Martin. Kit Drums: John Otto. Violins: Neil Catchpole. Hand Drums and Rythm Mix: J. Peter Schwalm. Keyboard, Treatments and Backing Vocals: Brian Eno.

Fred Durst’s Reality Check Mix: Produced by Fred Durst. Co-Produced by Terry Dale. Digital Editing by Ulrich Wild. Assisted by Anthony Kilhoffer. Recorded by Terry Dale at the Record Plant, Hollywood, CA. Mixed by Andy Wallace at Soundtrack Studios, NY. Assistant Engineer: Steve Sisco. Pro-Tools Engineer: Mike Scielzi.

Mangini / Pop Rox Mix: Produced by Mike Mangini / Pop Rox. Remixed by Mike Mangini / Pop Rox. Scratches by DJ Deetalx.
Mick Guzauski’s Pop Mix: Mixed by Mick Guzauski at Barking Doctor Studios. Additional Engineering and Editing by Tom Bender. Mix Assistant: Dennis Rivadeneira.
The Neptunes This One’s for You Mix: Produced by The Neptunes. Recorded by Andrew Coleman. Mixed by Servan Ghenea.

Junior Vasquez’s Club Mix: Produced by Junior Vasquez for JVM. Mixed by Stephen George.

Executive Producers: Leigh Blake and Bono.

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