♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫ (Redux)

Marvin Gaye.  Motown.  Sigh … they just don’t make it like that anymore, my friends.  I just played this one in April 2021, and I try to put at least the space of 2 years between playing a song, but this one came up in conversation a few nights ago, and … well, it kind of got stuck in my head (along with the cotton that seems to fill the empty spaces of late).  Last time I played it, our friend Clive suggested I listen to the 11+ minute version by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). I’m not typically a fan of really long songs, my attention span seems to be between 3-4 minutes, but surprisingly I listened to the entire thing and liked it!  So, this year I am adding the CCR version to my lineup!  It’s long, but well worth the time spent to listen.

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’s stands out as well, so I have included it here, along with the aforementioned CCR version.

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

18 thoughts on “♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫ (Redux)

  1. For energy, I will go with Gladys. For smoothness I will go for Marvin. CCR Gail and I both found boring. They took 11 minutes to do what they could have done in less than 4 minutes. Their solos were less than inspiring to me.
    Just my thoughts…

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  2. Pingback: ♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫ (Redux) — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  3. It’s Motown but much as I love Gladys I don’t like her version of this. CCR’s version was much closer to Marvin’s once you get over the accents but Marvin’s version just stands head and shoulders above all others..
    CWTCH

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