I Heard It Through the Grapevine (3:13)

Cover of The Very Best of Marvin Gaye

From The Very Best of Marvin Gaye and 421 other releases

“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.


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