The Best Song: I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye (and others)


Great song: I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye (and others)

For me, Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is Motown’s greatest record. It may be played to death but I still like it, like it? I love it!  It’s pulsating hypnotic rhythm pattern and the melodic singing hovering above it, it grooves and it’s funky as well.

Marvin Gaye (audio only):

It’s a love  song, where one part pleads to the other part after a break up, but it feels deeper than ordinary pop ditty. It’s about lies, loss, gossip, torment, fear and doubt. Dark stuff hidden in a soul tune.

Marvin Gaye (1968 live version):

The sinister rhythm gives us a taste of dark things ahead, it’s a painful story underscored with a cinematic theme. Marvin is in pain, and he tells us, over and over again. Lovely. Terrible. Terribly lovely.

Marvin Gaye (Montreux 1980) with phone intro, they are sooo cool and they know how to dress, damn!:


And a wonderful acapella version that shows Marvins range and timing in a most spectacular way!

Marvis was second in recording the song beaten by Smokey Robinson, here is his version (audio), also very good:


“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a landmark song in the history of Motown. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966, the single was first recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.

Gladys Knight and the Pips (actually released before Marvin Gaye’s version allthough recorded after):

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 for singer Marvin Gaye, who recorded his version on October 30, 1968.

Creedence Clearwater Revival released their version of the song in 1970, good and very different:

Gaye’s version has since become a landmark in pop music. In 2004, it ranked No.80 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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. It was also inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant” value.

There are hundreds of versions of this song, but none better than those presented in this post.

– Hallgeir