Song of the Day: Gladys Knight & The Pips, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" in 1966. Whitfield produced the single for Gladys Knight & The Pips in 1967, looking for a funky sound like Aretha Franklin’s in "Respect." Originally written for a male singer, Gladys and Whitfield had to adjust some of the lyrics, and they came up with a version that Berry Gordy reluctantly released. It was released on Motown’s Soul label and little effort was put into promoting the record, so the Pips relied on their connections with disk jockeys across the country to gain airplay for the record. Needless to say, the song was a huge hit, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the Hot 100 in 1967. Marvin Gaye’s iconic 1968 release of the song did much better, but both versions are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

12 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Gladys Knight & The Pips, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

  1. I haven’t heard many versions of this song that I don’t like… I remember Marvin Gaye’s version the best but CCR did a great job also…just a little too long to me but I still liked the guitar John played.

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      1. I remember singing that song so loud outside our dorm that someone inside told me to shut up. (I think I know who it was.) Of course I was very young at the time. The version by Gladys Knight is very good, but since it is directed at a different gender I doubt I would be singing that version outside my dorm.

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  2. I love this song! It was recorded by several artists – Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I read where it is Motown’s biggest selling single to date.

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    1. Every version is excellent in its own way. CCR’s has some tremendous guitar playing in it. I learned that Marvin’s has a slightly faster tempo (116 bpm vs 112 bpm) than Gladys’s, but hers sounds a whole lot faster. Off to listen to The Miracles’ version now…

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