Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, Marvin Gaye released the song as a single in September 1964. It peaked at number 6 on the U.S. BillboardHot 100 chart in January 1965 and at number 3 on U.S. Billboard'sR&B Singles chart. Up to that point, it was Gaye's most successful single with record sales exceeding 900,000 copies. The song's personnel includes Marvin Gaye on lead vocals;The Andantes on background vocals; and The Funk Brothers on various instruments, including piano and percussion. Gaye also released a German-language version of the song entitled "Wie Schön Das Ist".
Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny described the song as a "radiant pop confection," noting that it was unusual for Gaye in being a "straightforward love song" that doesn't reflect Gaye's usual demons. Ankeny commented on the soulfulness of the song, and particularly noted the piano riff.
Gaye's recording has subsequently been released on many greatest hits albums.
Since Marvin Gaye's original 1964 release, "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" has been recorded by artists in a variety of genres including soul, pop, gospel, folk, and country. It was a staple for the Jerry Garcia Band in the 1970s, 1980's and 1990's often used as his opening song.
In 1966, Junior Walker & the All Stars released the song as a single, which reached number 3 on the R&B Singles chart and No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to Jason Ankeny of AllMusic, this version makes up in grit what it lacks in Gaye's grace, increasing the "celebratory" feel of the song. Ankeny described the version as "a rollicking floor-shaker fueled by his smoldering saxophone." The drums are played by James Graves (1941-1967).
Rolling Stone Magazine critic Bud Scoppa described Taylor's version as "a relaxed rendition" and considered it to be Taylor's way of acknowledging Gaye as a source of inspiration for Taylor's romantic point of view at the time. Music critic Robert Christgau regarded Taylor's version as a "desecration of Marvin Gaye." Taylor biographer Timothy White described it as "music for the park on Sunday."
In a web-only exclusive, The Simpsons released a video highlighting the 2016 presidential election. In it, Marge is struggling to sleep because she is frustrated that basic manners are gone from politics. Homer convinces her to imagine a world in which the candidates are cordial with each other. The candidates briefly sing the song before going back to fighting again.