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69 | Top 100
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Marvin Gaye
He may not have been the first to take it into the charts, but there’s no doubt that it’s Marvin Gaye’s majestic version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” that will forever be remembered.
Marvin Gaye
Song facts
Composer Barrett Strong/Norman Whitfield
Genre Soul
Album In The Groove
Year of Release 1968
UK Chart Position 1
Written in 1967 by the Motown hit-making team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the song had already been recorded by The Miracles, The Isley Brothers and Gaye himself before Gladys Knight And The Pips first scored chart success with it. Spurred on by that success, Whitfield persuaded Motown’s boss, Berry Gordy, to give Gaye a second chance at recording it. And the rest, as they say, is history. The combination of Gaye’s wonderfully tortured delivery with Strong and Whitfield’s unsettling production and simple lyrics lends the song a striking realism it’s easy to believe in Gaye’s pain here. The public obviously agreed, as the single eventually sold more than two-and-a-half million copies, becoming Motown’s most successful hit and taking Gaye’s career to another level.

Marvin Gaye talks about Gladys Knight recording "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".
Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye on artists' rights: "I don't know why Gladys is labouring under that misapprehension . . . I love Gladys very much, she's great"


That opening 'bom-bo-bo-bom-bom' is enough to make the hairs stand up on my neck


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