Many Motown Grapevines

Many Motown Grapevines

Marvin Gaye

December 14, 1968

There are many Motown Grapevines, but Marvin Gaye’s Grapevine is considered the best version. It hit #1 on December 14, 1968. It stayed there until January 21, 1969, ushering in the last year of that turbulent decade.

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, two of Motown Records biggest writers, wrote “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” in 1966.

Gaye’s recorded his single in early 1967, but Motown did not release it until October 1968. In the meantime…

First Motown Grapevine

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles released a version on their 1968 album, Special Occasion.

Many Motown Grapevines

Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight & the Pips released it as a single in September 1967 and which went to number two in the Billboard chart.

Many Motown Grapevines

And back to Marvin Gaye

Many Motown Grapevines
Marvin Gaye’s Grapevine

Marvin Gaye’s Grapevine was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove and released as a single in October 1968. It was one of the  biggest hit single on the Motown label (Tamla).


Rolling Stone magazine placed Marvin Gaye’s Grapevine at #81 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Marvin Gaye’s Grapevine was also inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame for “historical, artistic and significant” value.

Not at Woodstock

Creedence Clearwater Revival did not perform the song at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, but did have a hit with it on their 1970 Cosmo’s Factory album.

Many Motown Grapevines

Commercial grapevines

California raisins

Inevitably, commercialism jumped on the Motown Grapevines bandwagon and we had the California raisins…

Levi’s jeans

…or Levi’s “Launderette” commercial featuring Nick Kamen.

And it continues in various forms to match the times:

Zapp and Roger

Mashed grapevine

Or simply mashed with another song as with Queen Latifah in Paper.

Whatever the year, “I Heard It through the Grapevine” is one hell of a song. Happy Anniversary to all the Motown Grapevines. has a interesting piece about the songs varied history.

Many Motown Grapevines