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I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Motown's Greatest Hits
soul motown 60s oldies marvin gaye


"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is a landmark song in the history of Motown Records. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966, the single was first recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. Released on September 25, 1967 as Soul 35039 by Gladys Knight & the Pips, who recorded the third version of the song, it has since become a signature song, however, for singer Marvin Gaye, who recorded the second version of the song prior to the Pips' version but released the song after theirs on October 30, 1968 as Tamla 54176. Creedence Clearwater Revival released their popular version of the song in 1970. Gaye's version has since become a landmark in pop music. In 2004, it ranked #80 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1] On the commemorative 50th Anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 issue of Billboard magazine in June 2008, Gaye's version was ranked as the 65th biggest song on the chart.[2] It was also inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant" value. Early recordings- In 1966, Barrett Strong, a former recording artist for Motown Records and the singer behind the label's breakthrough hit, "Money (That's What I Want)", had begun to work in the songwriting staff after failing to produce a follow-up hit. Motown CEO Berry Gordy hired Strong to work with Norman Whitfield to work on recordings for The Temptations following the success of Whitfield's recording of the group's "Ain't Too Proud to Beg". Strong originally composed "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" due to his own personal relationship. Whitfield began collaborating with Strong on the song and eventually decided to record it with The Miracles, who recorded the song on August 6, 1966. Due to Gordy's strong veto power during Motown's annual Friday meetings at Hitsville USA's Quality Control Department, the Miracles' version was deemed unreleasable. Gordy's thoughts on the song were that he thought the song was "horrible" and advised Whitfield and Strong to create a stronger single, however the duo refused to budge. Years later, a second version by The Miracles, with a similar arrangement to their first version, appeared as an album track on their 1968 Special Occasion LP. Their original recording was issued years later on a compilation album entitled Motown Sings Motown Treasures. The Isley Brothers were rumored to have recorded the song, but there is no evidence that they ever did. Some Motown historians believe that a session may have been scheduled but canceled.[3] Marvin Gaye recording- Whitfield recruited his early collaborator Marvin Gaye to record the song on April 10, 1967. Later recordings of Marvin's version took more than a month due to Whitfield overdubbing Marvin's vocals with that of The Andantes' background vocals, and including several tracks featuring The Funk Brothers on the rhythm track and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on the orchestral background. The session featuring Gaye led to arguments between the producer and singer, particularly over vocal registry. Whitfield struggled to convince Gaye to perform the song in a high rasp, a move that had worked on David Ruffin during the recording of the The Temptations hit, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg". Whitfield was later described by several Motown employees as "cocky" and "arrogant" but "always got what he wanted out of the performer". Marvin eventually agreed to record it in Whitfield's key and the song later led to a change in the singer's vocals, first reflected on the Ivy Jo Hunter-produced "You" and the Frank Wilson-produced "Chained". The mixture of Marvin's bluesy raspy vocals and The Andantes' sweeter harmonies, made Whitfield confident that he had a hit, however, Motown CEO Berry Gordy was not impressed. The label instead released the sweeter "Your Unchanging Love", a song that was included on the singer's 1966 album Moods of Marvin Gaye. This recording was featured on the music video game Band Hero. The Gladys Knight & the Pips recording- Gladys Knight & the Pips was the next Motown act to record "Grapevine". Signed to Motown in 1966, the group had already scored a few hits prior to signing with the label and in early 1967, had a hit with their third Motown single, "Everybody Needs Love". After hearing Aretha Franklin's version of "Respect", Whitfield again rearranged the song to fit its style. According to David Ritz, Whitfield set to record a song that would "out-funk" Aretha. After Whitfield presented the demo tapes for "Grapevine", members Gladys Knight, Bubba Knight, William Guest, and Edward Patten worked for several weeks on their vocal arrangement. To make the song suitable for Gladys, the first line of the second verse ("I know a man ain't supposed to cry/But these tears I can't hold inside") was altered to ("Take a good look at these tears in my eyes/Baby, these tears I can't hold inside"). After much talk, Gordy reluctantly allowed the Pips' version to be a single. Motown put little support behind it and the Pips relied on connections with DJs across the United States to get the record played. The Pips' version of "Grapevine" reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart on November 25, 1967, and stayed there for six weeks, making it the group's second R&B number one after 1961's "Every Beat of My Heart". It reached two on the Billboard Pop Singles singles chart[4] the same month, with The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" holding top spot. It was Motown's best-selling single to that point. Marvin Gaye version's release and reaction- Despite this success, Whitfield felt Marvin Gaye's version was still a hit and he continued asking Gordy to release Gaye's "Grapevine" as a single, but Gordy didn't want to release Marvin's version after the Pips made a hit out of it. In September 1968, Whitfield managed to have Gaye's "Grapevine" added to Gaye's 1968 album In the Groove. The single for In the Groove, "You", made it to 34 on the pop charts, while "Grapevine" became the most-played and requested track from the album. After radio deejays prompted Motown to release it, Gordy finally relented, releasing Marvin's version as a single on October 30, 1968. Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" eventually outsold the Pips', and until The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" 20 months later, was the biggest hit single of all time on the Motown label. It stayed at the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks, from December 14, 1968 to January 25, 1969. Gaye's "Grapevine" also held number one on the R&B chart during the same seven weeks,[5] and stayed at number one in the United Kingdom for three weeks starting on March 26, 1969. The label was pleased with the success, although Gaye, depressed because of issues such as the illness of singing partner Tammi Terrell (which would kill her less than a year later), was quoted as saying that his success "didn't seem real" and that he "didn't deserve it".[6] Due to the song's success, In the Groove was re-issued as I Heard It Through the Grapevine and peaked at number two on the R&B album chart and number sixty-three on the album chart, which was at the time Marvin's highest-charted solo studio effort to date. Because of the success of both versions , "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was the first and last number one on the Billboard R&B chart in 1968: the Pips version was the first week of January, the Gaye version the last week of December. Knight was not pleased that Gaye's version usurped her own. She stated that Gaye's version was recorded over an instrumental track Whitfield had prepared for a Pips song, an allegation Gaye denied.[7] Despite initial disappointment, Gladys and Marvin would later patch things up and in 1983, the two now-former Motown label mates reunited to perform their versions of the single. Overview- "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" has been rendered in different ways, although the theme, a relationship beginning to break up, remains prominent in each. The narrator has no clue that his relationship is in a bad state, and only learns after gossip "through the grapevine" that his lover is cheating. Of the first four versions produced by Norman Whitfield, only the Gaye version makes pain and confusion a clear part of the texture: Whitfield surrounds Gaye with horror-film strings, voodoo drums and percussion, and an ominous Wurlitzer electric piano line doubled by the guitar. The Miracles' version is a mid-tempo number, while Gladys Knight & the Pips' version is built around bravado and a quick-tempo gospel feel. Main article: Psychedelic soul Marvin's recording of the single gave way later on to the soul subgenre known as psychedelic soul, pioneered by Whitfield and Sly Stone the same year Marvin's version was released. Marvin would record in this style until after the release of What's Going On in 1971 before settling into a funk sound in the 1970s. Other artists who recorded in the "psychedelic soul" genre included The Temptations, (Diana Ross &) The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and The Isley Brothers after their Motown tenure fizzled.


Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (2 April 1939 - 1 April 1984) was an American soul and rnb singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, known as "The Prince of Soul", or "The Prince of Motown." Originally a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows, he pursued a solo career after the group disbanded and released many successful solo hits including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Let's Get It On" and "What's Going On". His best albums are still held in extremely high regard, and he is often cited as one of the finest singers of his era. Show more ...

I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

Ooh, I bet you're wond'rin' how I knew
'bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys you know I love you more
It took me by surprise I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don'tcha know that I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
Oh I'm just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh)

I know a man ain't supposed to cry
But these tears I can't hold inside
Losin' you would end my life you see
'cause you mean that much to me
You could have told me yourself
That you love someone else
Instead I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
And I'm just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

People say believe half of what you see
Son, and none of what you hear
But I can't help bein' confused
If it's true please tell me dear
Do you plan to let me go
For the other guy you loved before?
Don'tcha know I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Baby I heard it through the grapevine
Ooh I'm just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Honey, honey, I know
That you're lettin' me go
Said I heard it through the grapevine

Fade
Heard it through the grapevine



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