I Heard It Through the Grapevine
|"I Heard It Through the Grapevine"|
|Single by Marvin Gaye|
|from the album In the Groove|
|B-side||"You're What's Happening (in the World Today)"|
|Released||October 30, 1968|
|Recorded||February 3, 8, 13, 15, and April 10, 1967|
|Studio||Hitsville USA (Studio A), Detroit, Michigan|
|Marvin Gaye singles chronology|
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is a song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966. 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. It went to number one on the Billboard R&B Singles chart and number two on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and shortly became the biggest selling Motown single to date.
The Marvin Gaye version was the second to be recorded, in the beginning of 1967, but the third to be released. It was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, a year and a half later, 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 overtook the Gladys Knight & the Pips' version of being the biggest hit single on the Motown label (Tamla).
The Gaye recording has since become an acclaimed soul classic. In 1998 the song was inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant" value. In 2004, it was placed 80 on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, then re-ranked at 81 in 2010. And on the commemorative fortieth anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 issue of Billboard magazine in June 2008, Marvin Gaye's "Grapevine" was ranked sixty-fifth.
In 2018, the Gladys Knight & the Pips version was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In addition to being released several times by Motown artists, the song has been recorded by a range of musicians including Creedence Clearwater Revival, who made an eleven-minute interpretation for their 1970 album, Cosmo's Factory.
The song is composed in E-flat minor. The lyrics tell the story in the first person of the singer's feelings of betrayal and disbelief when he hears of his girlfriend's infidelity only indirectly "through the 'grapevine'".
By 1966, Barrett Strong, the singer on Motown Records' breakthrough hit, "Money (That's What I Want)", had the basics of a song he had started to write in Chicago, where the idea had come to him while walking down Michigan Avenue that people were always saying "I heard it through the grapevine". The phrase is associated with black slaves during the Civil War, who had their form of telegraph: the human grapevine. Producer Norman Whitfield worked with Strong on the song, adding lyrics to Strong's basic Ray Charles influenced gospel tune and the single chorus line of "I heard it through the grapevine". This was to be the first of a number of successful collaborations between Strong and Whitfield.
Producer Norman Whitfield recorded "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" with various Motown artists.
The first known recording is with the Miracles on August 6, 1966, though there may also have been a recording with the Isley Brothers, or at least Whitfield intended to record it with them; however, a track has not turned up – some Motown historians believe that a session may have been scheduled but cancelled. The Miracles' version was not released as a single due to Berry Gordy's veto during Motown's weekly quality control meetings; Gordy advised Whitfield and Strong to create a stronger single. The Miracles version later appeared on their 1968 Special Occasion album, and a slightly different take, possibly from the same session but unreleased, appeared on the 1998 compilation album, Motown Sings Motown Treasures.
Marvin Gaye's version is the second known recording. Whitfield recorded the song with Gaye over five sessions, the first on February 3, 1967, and the last on April 10, 1967. Recordings of this version took more than a month due to Whitfield overdubbing Gaye's vocals with that of the Andantes' background vocals, mixing in several tracks featuring the Funk Brothers on the rhythm track, and adding the string section from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with an arrangement by Paul Riser.
The session featuring Gaye led to an argument between the producer and singer. Whitfield wanted Gaye to perform the song in a higher key than his normal range, a move that had worked on David Ruffin during the recording of the Temptations' hit, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg". The mixture of Gaye's raspy vocals and the Andantes' sweeter harmonies made Whitfield confident that he had a hit; however, despite approval from Motown's Quality Control Department, Gordy blocked the release.
Gladys Knight & the Pips
Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded "Grapevine" on June 17, 1967, in Motown's Studio A, also with Norman Whitfield as producer. After hearing Aretha Franklin's version of "Respect", Whitfield rearranged "Grapevine" to include some of the funk elements of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. According to David Ritz, Whitfield set to record a song that would "out-funk" Aretha. After Whitfield presented the demo tapes, Gladys Knight, Bubba Knight, William Guest, and Edward Patten worked for several weeks on their vocal arrangement. To make the song suitable for Gladys, the first line of the second verse ("I know a man ain't supposed to cry/But these tears I can't hold inside") was altered to ("Take a good look at these tears in my eyes/Baby, these tears I can't hold inside"). After much talk, Gordy reluctantly allowed the Pips' version to be a single on September 28, 1967, on Motown's Soul label.
Other Motown artists
In 1968, Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers recorded a version for their debut album based on Knight's recent hit. But after hearing the Marvin Gaye version, they felt they had made the wrong choice. In 1969, Whitfield produced a version for the Temptations "psychedelic soul" album, Cloud Nine, in which he "brought compelling percussion to the fore, and relegated the piano well into the wings". In 1971, the Undisputed Truth recorded the song in a Gaye-styled version as did Bettye LaVette on her 1982 Motown album, Tell Me a Lie.
Since both the Miracles' and Marvin Gaye's renditions of the song were rejected by Gordy as a single, Gladys Knight & the Pips' version, became the first to be released, on September 28 1967, on Motown's Soul label, with "It’s Time to Go Now" on the B-side. Motown put little support behind it and the Pips relied on connections with DJs across the United States to get the record played. The Pips' version of "Grapevine" reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart on November 25, 1967, and stayed there for six weeks, making it the group's second R&B number one after 1961's "Every Beat of My Heart". It reached number two on the Billboard Pop Singles chart the same month, with the Monkees' "Daydream Believer" holding top spot. It was Motown's best-selling single to that point. The song was later placed on the Gladys Knight & the Pips album Everybody Needs Love.
After this success Whitfield again wanted Gordy to release Gaye's "Grapevine" as a single, but Gordy did not want to release another version after the Pips had already made a hit out of it. In September 1968, Whitfield added "Grapevine" to Gaye's new album In the Groove. On release "Grapevine" became a radio hit and, according to Gordy himself, "The DJs played it so much off the album that we had to release it as a single". So Gaye's version was released as a single on October 30, 1968. Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" eventually outsold the Pips', and until The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" 20 months later, was the biggest hit single of all time on the Motown label. It stayed at the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks, from December 14, 1968, to January 25, 1969. Gaye's "Grapevine" also held number one on the R&B chart during the same seven weeks, and stayed at number one in the United Kingdom for three weeks starting on March 26, 1969. The label was pleased with the success, although Gaye, depressed because of issues such as the illness of singing partner Tammi Terrell (which would kill her less than a year later), was quoted as saying that his success "didn't seem real" and that he "didn't deserve it".
Due to the song's success, In the Groove was re-issued as I Heard It Through the Grapevine and peaked at number two on the R&B album chart and number sixty-three on the album chart, which was at the time Marvin's highest-charted solo studio effort to date. Because of the success of both versions, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was the first and last number one on the Billboard R&B chart in 1968: the Pips version was the first week of January, the Gaye version the last week of December. Gladys Knight was not pleased that Gaye's version usurped her own, and claimed that Gaye's version was recorded over an instrumental track Whitfield had prepared for a Pips song, an allegation Gaye denied. In 1985, one year following Gaye's death, the song was re-released in the UK reaching number eight thanks to a Levi's commercial (starring Nick Kamen).
The Gaye recording has become an acclaimed soul classic. In 2004, it was placed at number 80 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, with the comment that Whitfield had produced the song with a number of artists using different arrangements, and that on the Marvin Gaye recording he had a "golden idea" when he set the song "in a slower, more mysterious tempo". In a new Rolling Stone list published in 2011, the single was placed slightly lower at number 81.
In 1998, the Marvin Gaye version of the song was inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant" value. In June 2008, on the commemorative fiftieth anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 issue of Billboard magazine, the Marvin Gaye version was ranked as the sixty-fifth biggest song on the chart. In 2018, the Gladys Knight & the Pips version was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In addition to being recorded several times by Motown artists, the song has been recorded by musicians including Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose 11-minute version from their 1970 album Cosmo's Factory was released as a single and reached 43 on Billboard's chart, with more modest success in other countries, as well as funk musician Roger Troutman whose extended version taken from his 1981 solo album, The Many Facets of Roger, brought the song back to number one on the R&B chart in 1981, marking the third time the song reached the top spot on that chart. It also made the Billboard Hot 100, but was not a Pop success this time around, peaking at number 79. British punk band The Slits recorded the song in a post-punk style as a bonus track on their 1979 album Cut. Queen Latifah used the music as a basis for her 1998 single "Paper", produced by Pras Michel for her album Order in the Court.
In popular culture
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" has been used twice in television commercials – each time using session musicians recreating the style of the Marvin Gaye version. For the 1985 Levi's 501 commercial "Launderette", featuring male model Nick Kamen, agency BBH and director Roger Lyons, owing to budgetary constraints, brought in Karl Jenkins and Mike Ratledge to recreate the sound of the Marvin Gaye original with Tony Jackson, a Barbadian background singer for Paul Young, handling vocals and P. P. Arnold on backing vocals. The commercial's success prompted Tamla-Motown to re-release Gaye's single with the Levi's 501 logo on the sleeve — "an example of integrated marketing almost before the term was invented". The record went to number eight on the UK Singles chart, marking its second chart performance. A year later, in 1986, Buddy Miles was the singer for the clay animation group The California Raisins which sang it as part of a TV advertising campaign.
Marvin Gaye's version of the song is used in the opening credits of The Big Chill (1983) as each of the main characters gets to hear (through the "grapevine") about the death of their college friend, and then travels to his funeral; the song serves in an extradiegetic fashion to both unite the main characters' friendship and to locate it nostalgically for the viewer.
Marvin Gaye version
- Lead vocals by Marvin Gaye
- Background vocals by The Andantes: Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow and Louvain Demps
- Hammond organ by Earl Van Dyke
- Wurlitzer electronic piano by Johnny Griffith
- Drums by Richard "Pistol" Allen (tom toms) and Uriel Jones
- Bass by James Jamerson
- Percussion by Jack Ashford
- Guitar by Dennis Coffey
- Instrumentation by the Funk Brothers and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
- String arrangement by Paul Riser
Gladys Knight & The Pips
- Lead vocals by Gladys Knight
- Backing vocals by Merald Knight, William Guest, and Edward Patten
- Instrumentation by the Funk Brothers
Charts and certifications
- Gladys Knight & the Pips
|Canada RPM Top Singles||3|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|
|US Cash Box Top 100||1|
- Marvin Gaye
|Single by Tiësto|
|Released||26 October 2018|
|Tiësto singles chronology|
One year after the release of "BOOM", Tiësto comes back to the brazilian bass genre with "Grapevine". In the track, Tiësto used a sample of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye. The track was premiered during Tiësto's set at Ultra Music Festival 2018 in Miami.
Fabien Dori from French webmedia Guettapen criticizes the "cruel lack of originality" of the track, affirming that "the drop seems strangely like the one from 'Boom', and this is not the generic vocal which will enhance the whole".
- Digital Download (MF306)
- "Grapevine" - 2:30
- Digital Download (MF306)
- "Grapevine" (Extended Mix) - 3:27
- Digital Download / Remixes (MF319)
- "Grapevine" (Tujamo Remix) - 3:21
- "Grapevine" (John Christian Remix) - 2:30
- "Grapevine" (Carta Remix) - 2:35
|Belgium Dance (Ultratop Wallonia)||14|
|US Hot Dance/Electronic Songs (Billboard)||34|
- "Original versions of I Heard It Through the Grapevine written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong | SecondHandSongs". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
- "Rolling Stone Greatest Songs 2004 list 1-100". Retrieved August 27, 2021.
- "I Heard It Through the Grapevine ranked 81 by Rolling Stone in 2010". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
- "GRAMMY Awards: Here Are the 2018 GRAMMY Hall of Fame Inductees". 1077theend.com. January 16, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- The Song Remains the Same: 800 Years of Love Songs, Laments. Schwartz Books. 2019. p. 16.
- Andy Bennett (December 14, 2005). The Popular Music Studies Reader. Routledge. p. 328. ISBN 9780415307093. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Bill Dahl (February 28, 2011). Motown: The Golden Years. Krause Publications. p. 77. ISBN 9781440227837. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Allan Metcalf, David K. Barnhart (1999). America in So Many Words: Words That Have Shaped America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 147. ISBN 0547563299. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Peter Shapiro (2006). Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco. Macmillan. pp. 122–124. ISBN 9780865479524. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- David N. Howard (June 11, 2004). Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 160. ISBN 9780634055607. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- "Songwriters Hall of Fame – Barrett Strong Biography". Songwritershalloffame.org. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Ralph McLean (April 2003). "BBC Music: Stories Behind the Song: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine"". BBC.co.uk. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Motown: The History, page 56, Sharon Davis, Gullane, 1988
- Joel Francis (September 9, 2009). "Gladys Knight and the Pips – 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'". The Daily Record. Archived from the original on September 25, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- John Covach, Mark Spicer (June 22, 2010). Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music. University of Michigan Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0472034000. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- "Marvin Gaye Session Dates". Soulfuldetroit.com. 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Gerald Posner (2002). Motown: Music, Money, Sex, and Power. Random House. pp. 224–225. ISBN 0-8129-7468-9. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
- Bill Dahl (February 28, 2011). Motown: The Golden Years. Krause Publications. p. 318. ISBN 9781440227837. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Amy Hanson (2012). "Cloud Nine – The Temptations". allmusic.com. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Joel Whitburn (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 330.
- Berry Gordy (December 1, 1995). To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown. Grand Central Pub. p. 275. ISBN 0472034006. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- "Show 50 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 6] : UNT Digital Library". digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- Joel Whitburn (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 225.
- Marvin Gaye (1976). "1976 interview with Marvin Gaye". BBC Radio 2 (Interview). Interviewed by Paul Gambaccini. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- Mark Robinson (March 1, 2001). The Sunday Times 100 Greatest TV Ads. HarperCollins. pp. 119–121. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2004. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2004. Archived from the original on June 21, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- "500 Greatest Songs Of All Time: Marvin Gaye, 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'". RollingStone.com. December 11, 2003. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- "Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time". Billboard. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
- "GRAMMY Awards: Here Are the 2018 GRAMMY Hall of Fame Inductees". 1077theend.com. January 16, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- "Artists Are Color Blind When Looking At Copyrights". Billboard: 40. January 29, 1972. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- "Creedence Clearwater Revival awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Nick Talevski (August 1, 2006). Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries. Omnibus Press. p. 659. ISBN 9780857121172. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Joel Whitburn (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 499.
- "The Slits: Cut". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
- Lynn Norment (September 1988). "Sounding Off – Review of Order in the Court". Ebony: 22. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Emma Hall (November 22, 2002). "Campaign Screen: Music and Sound Design - Production. Top of the Pops". Campaign.
- Sam Ingleby (May 17, 2004). "Karl Jenkins: Fanfare for the Common Man". The Independent.
- Ron Roker (2009). "Ron Roker - Latest Releases". Archived from the original on November 27, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Janet Bohdanowicz, Liz Clamp (1994). Fashion Marketing. Routledge. p. 73. ISBN 9780415059398. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
- Caroline Marshall (December 20, 1999). "Campaign Hall of Fame". Campaign.
- "Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through the Grapevine". Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Kristina Tunzi (March 15, 2008). "Buddy Miles, 60". Billboard: 60. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Ian Inglis (2003). Popular Music and Film. Wallflower Press. p. 168. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- María del Mar Azcona (July 11, 2011). The Multi-Protagonist Film. John Wiley & Sons. p. 168. ISBN 9781444351903. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- Andrew Ford (2011). The Sound of Pictures. Schwartz Publishing. p. 115. ISBN 9781458762948. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 8: 1968 [liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records
- "Uriel Jones Obituary". telegraph.co.uk. March 29, 2009.
- The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 7: 1967 [liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. December 23, 1967. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 13, 1968
- "I heard it through the grapevine in Australian Chart". Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "I heard it through the grapevine in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "I heard it through the grapevine in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. July 17, 2013. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013. You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Marvin Gaye"
- "I heard it through the grapevine in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on June 2, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2013. Only results when searching "I heard it through the grapevine"
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Marvin Gaye" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
- John Samson. "I heard it through the grapevine in South African Chart". Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Marvin Gaye". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Marvin Gaye awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Cash Box Top 100 1/18/69". Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- "Ultratop.be – Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine". GfK Entertainment Charts.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. February 14, 1976. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles, December 5, 1981
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
- "Top 100 Hits of 1969/Top 100 Songs of 1969".
- Top Records on 1969 (Based on Billboard Charts)", Billboard, December 27, 1969, pp. 16–17. Accessed December 7, 2016.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles: 1969". Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
- "British single certifications – Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through the Grapevine". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 2, 2019.Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type I Heard It Through the Grapevine in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "Tiësto - Grapevine [Musical Freedom]". Guettapen. October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
- "Release : Tiësto Samples Marvin Gaye Classic In New Single "Grapevine" [LISTEN]". Your EDM. October 28, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
- "Release : Tiësto - Grapevine [Musical Freedom]". Guettapen. October 27, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- "Tiësto - Grapevine (Official Video)". YouTube. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
- "Ultratop.be – Tiësto – Grapevine" (in French). Ultratop Dance. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
- "Tiesto Chart History (Hot Dance/Electronic Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- John Covach, Mark Spicer, Sounding Out Pop: Analytical Essays in Popular Music, 2010, University of Michigan Press
- Bill Dahl, Motown: The Golden Years, 2011, Krause Publications
- David N. Howard, Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers and Their Maverick Recordings, 2004, Hal Leonard Corporation
- Gerald Posner, Motown : Music, Money, Sex, and Power, 2002, New York: Random House, ISBN 0-8129-7468-9