500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Marvin Gaye, 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'
Writers: Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield
Released: Oct. '68, Tamla
15 weeks; No. 1
Motown producer Whitfield had a reputation for recording the same song with a number of acts, changing the arrangement each time. This irritated some of the label's artists, but every now and then he would get a golden idea — as happened with Gaye's 1968 version of "Grapevine," which had been a hit the year before for Gladys Knight. Whitfield and co-writer Strong set the track in a slower, more mysterious tempo, and the song — which Gaye initially resisted recording — became the bestselling Motown single of the decade.
Appears on: Every Motown Hit (Motown)