Marvin Gaye – Single: I Heard it Through the Grapevine
This Motown classic was written in 1966 by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and originally recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1967 when it reached #2. The Miracles recorded a version in 1968, as did Marvin Gaye, and CCR did a sprawling rendition for their 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory. As with Stevie Wonder’s hit For Once in My Life a couple of weeks back, Berry Gordy originally vetoed Grapevine as a single before relenting in October of ’68. It was released this day 50 years ago, and was a #1 smash in the US and UK.
The song went on to become part of the American music fabric, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic, and significant” value. It also had a resurgence in popularity in the 1980’s after it was included in the Big Chill movie soundtrack (1983) and in a California Raisins advertisement in 1986 (this version mirrored Gaye’s, but featured Buddy Miles as the vocalist – something I wasn’t aware of until reading up on the song). In the mid-1980’s Gaye’s version seemed almost as ubiquitous as anything by Michael Jackson or Madonna. It’s one of those timeless tunes that could see another resurgence at any point in the future.
Side A: I Heard it Through the Grapevine
Side B: You’re What’s Happening (in the World Today)