♫ 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

♫ What’s Going On ♫ (Redux)

Last time I posted this, in May 2020, I said it fit the times we were living in.  Since then, a lot has happened, and the song STILL fits the times perfectly.  The question then becomes … will there ever be a time when we will listen to this song and say, “Wow, I’m glad things have changed since then!”?  I have begun to doubt it.  Still, we can take some pleasure from Marvin Gaye for he knocks this one out of the park!


There’s a lot of history to this song … more than I can cover in a brief blurb here.  The inspiration for the song came from Renaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Four Tops, after he and the group’s tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969. While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as “Bloody Thursday”.

Upset by what he had seen, he discussed what he witnessed to friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who in turn wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson’s concerns. Benson wanted to give the song to his group but the other Four Tops turned down the request, saying it was a protest song.

“I said ‘no man, it’s a love song, about love and understanding. I’m not protesting, I want to know what’s going on.'”

In 1970, Benson presented the untitled song to Marvin Gaye, who added a new melody and revised the song to his liking, adding in his own lyrics. Benson later said Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, “added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song… we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy was against Gaye doing the song, saying …

“Motown was about music for all people—white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone. This was a big risk for his image.”

By some accounts there was a bitter quarrel between Gaye and Gordy over the song, but Gordy denies it.

Two bits of trivia about Marvin Gaye that I did not know until tonight:

  • He was married to Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna, from 1963 until their divorce in 1977
  • Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father on 01 April 1984, after breaking up a fight between his parents.  Gaye was one day shy of his 45th birthday.  His father was given a suspended sentence and probation.

And now … What’s Going On …

What’s Going On
Marvin Gaye

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on brother
Right on babe

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply ’cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
C’mon talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on, ooh ooo ooo ooo
Right on baby
Right on baby

Songwriters: Alfred W Cleveland / Marvin P Gaye / Renaldo Benson
What’s Going On lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Sexual Healing ♫ (Redux)

I am playing this one again tonight for someone special … you know who you are … but I hope you all enjoy it!


A bit of background:

In the winter of 1981, Marvin Gaye had relocated to Ostend, Belgium, following the end of a European tour amid financial difficulties with the Internal Revenue Service and the end of his second marriage. Struggling with depression and cocaine addiction, Gaye had agreed to move to Ostend on the advice of longtime resident Freddy Cousaert. While in Ostend, Gaye began to curb his drug use and recover from his depression, partaking in Ostend’s beaches. Gaye also began cutting ties with his longtime recording label, Motown, following the release of In Our Lifetime, an album the musician did not declare to be finished. He declared that he would never record with the label ever again after he accused the label of betraying his creativity.

Sexual Healing reached number one on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart, where it stayed for a record ten weeks before being replaced by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s duet, “The Girl Is Mine”. The success was similar on the Hot 100 where it peaked at number three. This peak at number three made Gaye the second artist in the history of the Hot 100 chart (after Aretha Franklin) to have a hit song peak at each position from one to ten on the chart.

When Gaye left Belgium and toured to support the Midnight Love album, he started using drugs again and became mentally unstable. He moved in with his parents and was shot and killed by his father after an argument on April 1, 1984 – the day before his 45th birthday, which I have mentioned before.

Now sit back and like you some Marvin Gaye, okay?

Sexual Healing
Marvin Gaye

Oh, baby now let’s get down tonight
Ooh baby, let’s get down tonight

Baby
Baby let’s get down tonight
Ooh

Baby, I’m hot just like an oven
Ooh
Baby now let’s get down tonight

Baby, I’m hot just like an oven
I need some lovin’
And baby, I can’t hold it much longer
It’s getting stronger and stronger

And when I get that feeling
I want sexual healing
Sexual healing, oh baby
Makes me feel so fine

Helps to relieve my mind
Sexual healing baby, is good for me
Sexual healing is something that’s good for me

Baby, I’m hot just like an oven
I need some lovin’
And baby, I can’t hold it much longer
It’s getting stronger and stronger

Baby, I got sick this mornin’
A sea was stormin’ inside of me
Baby, I think I’m capsizin’
The waves are risin’ and risin’

And when I get that feeling
I want sexual healing
Sexual healing is good for me
Makes me feel so fine, it’s such a rush
Helps to relieve the mind, and it’s good for us

Sexual healing, baby, it’s good for me
Sexual healing is something that’s good for me

You’re my medicine, open up and let me in
Darling, you’re so great, I can’t wait for you to operate
You’re my medicine, open up and let me in
Darling, you’re so great, I can’t wait for you to operate

Baby, open up and let me in
It’s getting stronger and stronger
Baby, open up and let me in
I can’t wait for you to operate
I can’t wait for you to operate, baby
I can’t wait for you to operate
Baby, open up and let me in
I can’t for you to operate

Songwriters: David Ritz / Marvin Gaye / Odell Brown
Sexual Healing lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Just To See Her ♫

Tonight, I am in the mood for some Motown!  I haven’t played this one since 2018, so you probably don’t remember that I played it four years ago, right?  Heck, most of you probably didn’t know I existed four years ago.  Anyway, let’s kick back and love us some Smokey Robinson!


The song written by Jimmy George and Lou Pardini in 1987 and recorded by none other than Smokey Robinson.  Smokey was in a bit of a funk … well, more than a bit, actually … at the time.  His last big hit had been Being With You in 1981, and then in 1984, his friend Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father.  Robinson was already addicted to drugs, and Gaye’s death just put the final straw on the camel’s back.  Then in 1986, he and his wife Claudette divorced.  But this record put him back on top.  Surprisingly, Robinson’s only Grammy win came for this song; he won for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male.

Jimmy George and Lou Pardini would go on to join the band Chicago in 2009.

Apropos of nothing, but I found Smokey’s explanation of how he came by his name fascinating:

Smokey-4“My Uncle Claude was my favorite uncle, he was also my godfather. He and I were really, really close. He used to take me to see cowboy movies all the time when I was a little boy because I loved cowboy movies. He got a cowboy name for me, which was Smokey Joe. So from the time I was three years old if people asked me what my name was I didn’t tell them my name was William, I told them my name was Smokey Joe. That’s what everyone called me until I was about 12 and then I dropped the Joe part. I’ve heard that story about him giving it to me because I’m a light skinned Black man but that’s not true.”

Just to See Her
Smokey Robinson

Just to see her
Just to touch her
Just to hold her in my arms again one more time

If I could feel her warm embrace
See her smiling face
Can’t find anyone to take her place
I’ve got to see her again

I would do anything
I would go anywhere
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
Just to see her again

I can’t hide it no
I can’t fight it
It’s so hard to live without the love she gave to me

Doesn’t she know it
I tried hard not to show it
Can’t I make her realize that she really needs me again

I would do anything
I would go anywhere
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
Just to see her again
She brightened up my everyday
Made me feel so good in every way
If I could have her back to stay
I’ve got to see her again

I want to see her
(Just to see her)
Hold her hold her hold her
(Just to see her) see her
Just to touch her

Touch her
I would do anything
I would go anywhere
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
Just to see her again
She brightened up my everyday
Makes me feel so good in every way
If I could have her back to stay (today)
I’ve got to see her again

it would it would it would
(Just to see her) make me feel so good
(Just to see her)if I if I could only see her again
Just see her again
Just to see her theres nothin’ I wouldn’t do
Just to see her oh don’t you know its true
Just to see her (if I could only see her again oh)

Songwriters: Jimmy George / Louis Joseph Pardini
Just to See Her lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Dancing In The Street ♫ (Redux)

When rawgod mentioned this one tonight, it immediately began playing in my head and, since I was pondering what to do for a music post, I seized upon it!  Hope you guys like it!


I hope you’re in the mood for a bit of something upbeat tonight, for I am greatly in need of what I think of as ‘happy music’, which often leads me to Motown, and tonight is no exception.

This song was written by Motown songwriters Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter, and William “Mickey” Stevenson. It became the biggest hit and trademark song for Martha & the Vandellas.  According to the song’s co-writer Mickey Stevenson, the idea for dancing came to him while riding with Marvin Gaye through Detroit. During the summer, the city would open up fire hydrants and let the water out in the streets so they could play in the water to cool off. They appeared to be dancing in the water.  I actually remember one city I lived in as a child doing that … opening the fire hydrants on hot summer days!

Martha Reeves was the leader of the group.  Back in the early days, she was trying to get her foot in the door at Motown, but they wouldn’t even give her an audition, so she applied for and got a job as secretary.  Part of her secretarial duties was singing lyrics to new songs onto tapes so backup singers could learn the words. This led to fill-in work as a backup singer, where she impressed Motown executives with her voice.  She convinced them to hire her friends, Annette Sterling and Rosalind Ashford, and thus was born Martha and the Vandellas!  After backing up Marvin Gaye on some of his songs, Motown gave them songs to sing on their own, including the hit Heat Wave.

Martha Reeves told the story behind this song …

“Marvin Gaye had recorded ‘Dancing in the Street” when I first heard it, and he had put a real smooth vocal on there, sort of like (jazzy singing) ‘Calling all around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat baby?’ and for some reason, Marvin said, “let’s try this song on Martha.” I was in the office and they let me hear the song, but I couldn’t quite feel it that way. I had been to Rio De Janeiro, I had travelled to New Orleans during Carnival time, so I just knew it had to be somewhere about dancing in the street. I said, ‘Can I sing it the way that I feel it?’ And they said, ‘Go ahead.’

So, I sang it (singing on the beat) ‘calling all around the world are you ready for a brand-new beat,’ and, they loved it. There was all kinds of congratulatory hand slaps and ‘hey man, we got a hit in that window up there,’ and the engineer, Lawrence Horn, looked and said, ‘I didn’t turn the machine on.’

I had to sing it again. So, the second time I sang it, there’s a little bit of anger there because I had to repeat it. It was a straight performance and that’s why it sounds live. I think that’s the secret of the success of the hit – the fact that I had to do it again, and I did it without a mistake or without any interruption, and the feeling was just right on that song.”

The song took on a different meaning when riots in inner-city America led to many young black demonstrators citing the song as a civil rights anthem to social change which also led to some radio stations taking the song off its play list because certain black advocates such as H. Rap Brown began playing the song while organizing demonstrations.

The British press aggravated Reeves one time when someone put a microphone in her face and asked her if she was a militant leader. The British journalist wanted to know if Reeves agreed, as many people had claimed, that Dancing in the Street was a call to riot. To Reeves, the query was patently absurd. ‘My Lord, it was a party song,’ she remarked.

Like many a Motown hit, this song has been covered by many, including The Mamas and The Papas, Val Halen, Grateful Dead, David Bowie & Mick Jagger as a duet, and many more.  But to me, Martha and the Vandellas own this one.

Dancing in the Street
Martha and the Vandellas

Calling out around the world,
Are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right
For dancing in the street.
They’re dancing in Chicago,
Down in New Orleans,
In New York City.

All we need is music, sweet music.
There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing,
Dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear,
Just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl.
Everywhere around the world
They’ll be dancing.
They’re dancing in the street.

It’s an invitation across the nation,
A chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging,
Dancing in the street.
Philadelphia, P.A.
Baltimore and D.C. now.
Can’t forget the Motor City.

All we need is music, sweet music.
There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing,
Dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear,
Just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl.
Everywhere around the world
They’re dancing.
They’re dancing in the street.

Way down in L.A. ev’ry day,
They’re dancing in the street.
(Dancing in the street.)
Let’s form a big, strong line, get in time,
We’re dancing in the street.
(Dancing in the street.)
Across the ocean blue, me and you,
We’re dancing in the street.

Songwriters: Marvin Gaye / William Stevenson / Ivy Hunter
Dancing in the Street lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Carlin America Inc

♫ True ♫ (Redux)

As I was working on my ‘good people’ post late last night, this song kept going through my head.  Needless to say, I couldn’t remember the lyrics, but remembered a snippet … “I bought a ticket to the world …”, so Google helped me come up with the title and group.  AHA!  I thought.  One I haven’t featured here before!  But just to be sure, I checked the archives and … DAMN!  I played this one a couple of years ago.  But, as I listened to it, I found it does something to me … it brings a smile and a nice, happy feeling.  So, you get to hear it again!


True was composed by group leader Gary Kemp, who wrote the song at his parents’ house while living there. It is a song that in part pays tribute to the Motown artist Marvin Gaye, who is mentioned in the lyrics, and the sound he helped to establish. According to Kemp …

“I think I wanted to write a song that was a bit like a Marvin Gaye, Al Green song, a blue-eyed soul song. It was at a time when it was me concentrating on melody first rather than the sort of riff and the groove. ‘True’ became a song about writing a love song. Why ‘Why do I find it hard to write the next line? I want the truth to be said?’ Because I didn’t want to write it down—because there’s nothing more embarrassing.”

The song was partly about Kemp’s platonic relationship (and unrequited love) with Altered Images singer Clare Grogan …

“I was infatuated with Clare Grogan. I met her on Top of the Pops and, at one point, travelled up to Scotland to have tea with her and her mum and dad. Although my feelings were unrequited and the relationship was platonic, it was enough to trigger a song.”

Some phrases in the lyrics were adapted from the novel Lolita, a copy of which Clare Grogan had given Gary Kemp.

“The lyrics are full of coded messages to Clare.  I’m still berated for the line ‘Take your seaside arms’ but it’s straight out of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which she had given me as a present – although in the book, it’s ‘seaside limbs.’ The line ‘With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue’ is also a bastardisation of Nabokov.”

Kemp did an interview with The Guardian back in 2014 that you might find interesting:  Spandau Ballet: We wanted to design the next decade’s pop culture

Released in 1983, this is the only song by the British group to make the top ten in the U.S.  It hit #1 in Canada, Ireland and the UK, and #4 in the U.S.

True
Spandau Ballet

So true, funny how it seems
Always in time, but never in line for dreams
Head over heels when toe to toe
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound

I bought a ticket to the world
But now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
I want the truth to be said

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true

With a thrill in my head and a pill on my tongue
Dissolve the nerves that have just begun
Listening to Marvin (all night long)
This is the sound of my soul
This is the sound

Always slipping from my hands
Sand’s a time of its own
Take your seaside arms and write the next line
I want the truth to be known

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
Ooh, I know this much is true, I know this much is true

I bought a ticket to the world
But now I’ve come back again
Why do I find it hard to write the next line?
I want the truth to be, I want the truth to be said

I, I-I-I, I
I know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I
Ooh, I know this much is true, I know this much is true

This much is true

This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true
This much is true

I, I-I-I, I, I
Know this much is true
I, I-I-I, I, I
Know this much is true
This much is true
This much is true
I know, I know, I know this much is true

This much is true
This much is true
This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
I know this much is true

This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
Know this much is true
This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
Know this much is true
I know, I know, I know this much is true

This much is true (I, I-I-I, I, I)
This much is true
I know this much is true
This much is true

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gary Kemp
True lyrics © Reformation Publishing Co Ltd

♫ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ♫ (Redux)

Since today is Juneteenth,  I thought it only appropriate to play some Motown — in my book some of the best music produced in the U.S.!  Of course, since I feature Motown songs and artists pretty often in these posts, I’ve already played most of my favourites at one point or another … some of them twice.  This one I’ve played only once twice before, so it will be new to many of you.   And Happy Juneteenth!


Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an R&B/soul song written by the husband/wife songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla label, a division of Motown.  Nick Ashford was inspired by an experience when he first moved to New York. He was walking down a Manhattan thoroughfare, determined that New York City would not get the best of him; the words “Ain’t no mountain high enough” popped into his head.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recorded the original version, which peaked at #19 US in 1967. Uriel Jones of The Funk Brothers, who played the drums on Gaye and Terrell’s original version, recalled …

“Ashford and Simpson had written the song and they always came to the studio with charts. This time was no exception; they came with the song fully written out. The lyrics were written out too. They were one of the few producers and writers who had full charts and made us work from them. They knew 95 percent what they wanted to hear. Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua were the actual producers in charge of the recording. We did the rhythm track first, then they put the horns on second. Then they recorded Tammi Terrell’s vocal, then they did Marvin Gaye’s next. Each vocal was done separately, the singer in the studio with the producer on their own, and they put it all together at the end. You know, I never heard the finished song until I switched on the radio and it was playing.”

British soul singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song but Ashford & Simpson declined, hoping it would give them access to the Detroit-based label. As Valerie Simpson later recalled, “We played that song for her (Springfield) but wouldn’t give it to her, because we wanted to hold that back. We felt like that could be our entry to Motown.”

Diana Ross & The Supremes recorded a version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough which was more faithful to the Terrell-Gaye original version as a duet with The Temptations. That song was an album cut from a joint LP released by Motown Records in 1968 on the two superstar groups, titled Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations.

In spring 1970, after the Top 20 success of her first solo single, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand), Ashford and Simpson had Ross re-record Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

Motown chief Berry Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. It was not until radio stations nationwide were editing their own versions and adding it to their playlists that Ashford and Simpson were able to convince Gordy to release an edited three-minute version as a single. Ross’ version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough rose up to number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. Ross received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

I prefer the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell version, but the Diana Ross version is good, as well, so I proffer both!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

Listen baby, ain’t no mountain high
Ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough baby
If you need me call me no matter where you are
No matter how far don’t worry baby
Just call my name I’ll be there in a hurry
You don’t have to worry

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Remember the day I set you free
I told you you could always count on me darling
From that day on, I made a vow
I’ll be there when you want me
Some way, some how

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Oh no darling
No wind, no rain
Or winters cold can stop me baby, na na baby
‘Cause you are my goal
If you’re ever in trouble
I’ll be there on the double
Just send for me, oh baby, ha

My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be there on the double
Just as fast as I can
Don’t you know that there

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Don’tcha know that there
Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
Ain’t mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough

Songwriters: Valerie Simpson / Nickolas Ashford
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)♫

I can’t believe I haven’t already played this one, but I’m thankful that I haven’t.  It came to me this morning while performing morning chores like brushing teeth, taking meds, making the bed … and before it could scramble away as my ideas for music posts often do, I made a note in my phone so I could remember it 12 hours later when sitting down to find just that right song!

Many years before global warming became a hot topic, Marvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth. For his What’s Going On album (1971), Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy (to whose daughter Gaye was married at the time!), who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable. The success of the title track proved otherwise, and Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) became a #1 R&B hit and soared to #4 on the Hot 100.

Gaye elaborated on this song and his spiritual quest in a 1976 interview …

“I am a student of Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda. I’ve read many books by many authors. My idea of living is, I would love to become an impeccable warrior, one who has no need for earthly things such as the wine, the women, the clothes and the diamonds, and the fine things to wear. I’d love to develop a distaste for those things and become only interested in knowledge and power that this earth will give us, if we’re only willing to put in the time and effort.

I would love to quit show-business and go after that knowledge and that power that the truly gifted sorcerer has. The power’s here, it’s in the rocks, it’s in the air, it’s in the animals. There are men of knowledge who could take these forces and elements and cause mysterious things to happen to the body, transform themselves and do many, many marvelous things. I would like to become a man of power, and I would like to use it in a good fashion.

The knowledge that we have is enough to catapult ourselves over the hurdle into super-knowledge, where we become super-beings. But at that point we always destroy ourselves. That will always happen because super-knowledge is only for the chosen few. But the few can be of a greater number, that’s why I talk about it. If only we would adhere to certain laws that Mother Nature… THAT’S THE KEY!

We appear to have reached the bottom line. And, just like Bunny says (here he’s referring to the Jamaican musician Bunny Wailer), it’s in obeying the laws of nature that this wisdom and freedom lies. Those songs aren’t written for nothing. A lot of the time, they don’t even know it as writers, but they’re just forced to put Mother Nature into the picture, like in ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.'”

Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father while trying to break up an argument between his parents in 1984, at the age of only 44, one day short of his 45th birthday.

This song, written solely by Gaye, became regarded as one of popular music’s most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment.  The song rose to #4 in the U.S. but I cannot find whether it charted in Canada or the UK.

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Marvin Gaye

Here we have something for you folks, we hope
You enjoy it as we enter our social section, thank you

Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh Jesus, yeah, mercy, mercy me, ah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Radiation underground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Hey, mercy, mercy me, oh
Hey, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na, na, na
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, ooh, woo

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gaye Marvin P

♫ You’re All I Need To Get By ♫

There are days … nights … when only Motown will do.  Those nights seem more and more frequent for me of late.

Released in 1968, this was one of the last songs Marvin Gaye recorded with his ailing duet partner Tammi Terrell, (who would die of a brain tumor in 1970).  Like most of their collaborations, it was written by the songwriting team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.  Marvin and Tammi recorded the song at Hitsville. Ashford & Simpson later stated how the session was hard as Terrell was recovering from surgery on the malignant brain tumor that ultimately caused her death.

During moments in the recording, Gaye can be heard encouraging Terrell to sing her verses, ad-libbing come on Tammi several times. A year later, Gaye was performing this song with Stax vocalist Carla Thomas at the Apollo Theater, when Terrell, who was seated in the front row in her wheelchair, began singing along, prompting Gaye to leave the stage and sing the song with Terrell, who was offered a microphone. It was Terrell’s final performance before her death in March 1970. The song was played during Terrell’s funeral while Gaye gave a brief, tearful eulogy.  Awwww shoot … speaking of tears …

This song hit #7 in the U.S. and #19 in the UK where it stayed for 19 weeks.

You’re All I Need to Get By
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

You’re all I need to get by.
Like the sweet morning dew, I took one look at you,
And it was plain to see,
You were my destiny.
With my arms open wide,
I threw away my pride
I’ll sacrifice for you
Dedicate my life for you

I will go where you lead
Always there in time of need
And when I lose my will
You’ll be there to push me up the hill

There’s no, no looking back for us
We got love sure ‘nough, that’s enough
You’re all, You’re All I need to get by.
I all, you’re all I want to strive for and do a little more
All, all the joys under the sun wrapped up into one
You’re all, You’re all I need to get by.

You’re all I need to get by.
Like an eagle protects his nest, for you I’ll do my best,
Stand by you like a tree, dare anybody to try and move me
Darling in you I found
Strength where I was torn down
Don’t know what’s in store but together we can open any door

Just to do what’s good for you and inspire you a little higher
I know you can make a man out of a soul that didn’t have a goal
Cause we, we got the right foundation and with love and determination
You’re all, You’re All I need to get by.

I all, you’re all I want to strive for and do a little more
All, all the joys under the sun wrapped up into one
You’re all, You’re all I need to get by.

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Ashford Nickolas / Simpson Valerie
You’re All I Need to Get By lyrics © Universal Music – Careers, Ramecca Publishing, Inc., Wu Tang Publishing, Inc.

♫ You’re So Vain ♫

I last played this one in April 2019 and had a lot of fun with it back then.  So, tonight being one of those nights when there isn’t a song in my heart and I’m too tired to try to put one there, I’m replaying it! 


An old friend sent me a text message yesterday:

Got a song that you may want to delve in. “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. A good investigating song. Try and figure out who the three men are that it’s about.

Well, me being me … half deaf and never paying much attention to music trivia until recently … I had no idea that the song was actually ‘about’ anybody, but his challenge piqued my curiosity.

The song, written by Carly Simon herself in 1971, was released the following year, and apparently each of the three verses is about a different ‘vain’ man.  In 2015, she admitted that one of the men was Warren Beatty, but other than that she has only given clues, such as that one of the men’s name contains ‘A’, ‘E’, and ‘R’.  She has also said it is not about Mick Jagger, who contributed uncredited backing vocals to the song, or her ex-husband James Taylor.  Wait … what???  I never knew that James Taylor was married to Carly Simon!  And here I thought James Taylor was saving himself for me!  Where have I been all my life?

In 2015, Simon published her memoir titled “Boys in the Trees”, but she gave away no answers to the puzzle there, either, and the book is largely about her often tumultuous relationship with Taylor.

In short, I don’t know the answer.  Howard Stern does, for she reportedly told him, but swore him to secrecy.  But here are some of the possibilities:

  • Sean Connery
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Terrence Malick  (who???)
  • Bob Rafelson (again, who???)
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Cat Stevens

It is said that during each of the verses, you can hear a whisper of the name that verse is about.  Now, since I do well to even hear the words that are sung, I’ll leave it up to you guys to listen for the whisper.  And thank you, J.R., for issuing the challenge … it was fun!

You’re So Vain
Carly Simon

You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse, naturally, won
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend,
Wife of a close friend, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Songwriters: Carly E. Simon
You’re So Vain lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group