♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫

Marvin Gaye.  Motown.  Sigh … they just don’t make it like that anymore, my friends.  In some ways, this is a redux, for I did play it here three years ago, but I have added some trivia and two additional versions (Glady’s Knight and the Pips, and Smokey Robinson) to the post.

This song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966.  Strong first came up with the idea and asked the famous Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland to work on it with them, but the team refused to credit another writer (egos, egos everywhere), so Whitfield and Strong it was.

The first recording of the song to be released was produced by Whitfield for Gladys Knight & the Pips and released as a single in September 1967 when it went to number two in the Billboard chart.  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were the first to record the song, but theirs wouldn’t be released until years later on an album called Special Occasion. The Isley Brothers then took a crack at it, but their version wasn’t released. Whitfield and Strong then had Marvin Gaye record the song but still no luck: Motown head Berry Gordy chose Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Your Unchanging Love over Grapevine as his next single. Finally, a new Motown act Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded the song as a gospel rocker. Their version was a hit, entering the Top 40 in November 1967 and going to #2 in the U.S.

The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Motown founder Berry Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968, when it went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label.

Mavin Gaye’s version is, and will likely always be, my favourite, but Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson certainly deserve honourable mention, so I have included them here.

I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Marvin Gaye

Ooh, I bet you’re wonderin’ 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
Heard it through the grapevine

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (American Tour Live) lyrics © Stone Agate Music, Emi Music Publishing France, Jobete Music Co Inc, Stone Agate Music Corp

29 thoughts on “♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫

  1. Marvin Gaye does the definitive version, it’s brilliant, I didn’t mind Smokey’s version, I’m big fan but much as I adore Gladys (and i do) I never want to hear that again. I thought it was a very poor arrangement and the tempo was off for what is a love song.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

  2. But, but, but, you didn’t mention the CCR long version (what, ten, eleven minutes), which also modestly charted. But all these hits based on the same song shows what a great song it is. Funny, but when friends talk about it, people have different recollections of the various hits and are often surprised to hear of other versions.

    Great memories. Cheers

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, for one thing I wasn’t aware there was such a thing until Clive mentioned it in an earlier comment. But even if I had known, I likely would not have included it here, for 11 minutes is just too darned long for one song! Glad you liked the song, even if I left out the CCR version!

      Hugs ‘n cheers!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. For me, Marvin Gaye’s has always been the ‘go to’ version of this song. I love it! So much so that it was one of my Tuesday Tunes a few weeks ago. Now, I wonder why you didn’t mention Creedence’s 11 minute epic version…

    Liked by 3 people

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