“People say believe half of what you see, Son and none of what you hear, But I can’t help but be confused”
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye is by far one my most favourite songs of all time, its a true classic indeed! The other day I found myself looking up this song just to hear it again, again and again! Ha. I don’t know what it is but I just love the whole sound of this song. It was written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield and of course sung by Marvin Gaye. Though I don’t really connect with the content of the song at first glance, however its written so well that you do feel for the man in question; the story of the song is about a man who finds out his girlfriend has cheated on him through someone else telling him, hence “through the grapevine” and throughout the song he portrays his complete disbelief and hurt over the news;
“People say believe half of what you see, Son and none of what you hear, But I can’t help but be confused, If it’s true please tell me dear, Do you plan to let me go, For the other guy you loved before?”
Because the song is sung beautifully and written brilliantly it really does touch you, even if you haven’t been in that particular situation yourself on either end. The combination of Marvin Gaye’s amazing voice, the great production and the brilliant story telling is flawless! The whole of the song comes across as sincere, and it is the reason why I and I am sure along with many others like it so much. And to think that they were considering not to put this song on the album? Like I would not even be doing this review had it not been for this song!
So after hearing this song on repeat I wanted to hear more songs like it, and so I decided to look up the Album of which the song came from. I found out that the album was originally released under the title “In The Groove” and then later released under “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”.
This album is Marvin Gaye’s 8th studio album and considered to be Gaye’s commercial breakthrough. It was released on August 26, 1968 through the Motown Records subsidiary label Tami Records. The Album was produced by Norman Whitfield, Ivy Jo Hunter, Frank Wilson. There are twelve tracks and the writers on the album are; Jeffrey Bowen, Jock Coga, Ivy Jo Hunter(You), Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson(Tear It Down), Frank Wilson(Chained), Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield(I Heard It Through The Grapevine), Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover (At Last (I Found A Love), Gerry Goffin, Carole King (Some Kind Of Wonderful), Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder (Loving You Sweeter Than Ever), Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover (Change What You Can), Stephen Bowden, Ivy Jo Hunter( Its Love I Need), Eddie Holland, Frank Wilson (Every Now and Then), George Gordy, Robert Gordy, Allen Story (You’re Whats Happening (In The World Today), Benjamin Nelson, Lover Patterson, George Treadwell, (There Goes My Baby).
I’ve not listened to any of the other Albums from Marvin Gaye yet, (but I am looking forward to getting to them eventually) I just headed straight for this one. Before listening to the entire album I was expecting all the other songs to sound similar to ”I Heard it Through the Grapevine” but to my surprise, it had a different vibe and sound all together, for the most part the other songs were a lot more upbeat with a slightly different sound in general. ”I Heard it Through the Grapevine” stands out on its own with its unique tone and vibe. Every time I listen to the album I’m always looking forward to this song coming on, having said that, I still enjoy listening to the other songs on the album too. Though for me none of the other songs compare to the title track as this is still by far at the top of my favourites, however I have discovered some new favourites from this album and they are; “Change What You Can” and “You’re What Happening (In The World Today)”.
“Change What You Can”, was written by Marvin Gaye himself along with Anna Gordy Gaye and Elgie Stover. Though the song is bit of a sad story of a women he dearly loves who does not love him anymore, however he really wants to make it work, and is willing to change just for her. When I heard the first verse I was thinking to myself I don’t like the message in this as its unhealthy to change who you are for anyone let alone give them permission to change you like a helpless puppy, you know if they don’t like you as you are and you’ve given your all then be gone with them, well that’s my outlook anyway , and a healthy one for that matter, if I do say so myself. However, as I listened further on to the song the chorus saves it for me, in terms of the man in question holding on to his dignity and being able to think straight in such a sad situation in which we can sometimes lose ourselves along with our common sense;
“Oh, change what you can, But when you can’t leave it alone, Have the sense to know the difference between the two”
I love this line! It’s what I like to call the undercover powerful punch, where it’s not completely obvious in its words on the surface yet the message sinks through deeper. And then as we move on to verse two it shows how he comes completely to his senses and lets it all go;
“Oh, the love I guessed I’d never have, So what’s the use of sitting around and feeling sad I must respect the fact she won’t be back my way”.
Although the story from this song is from a man’s voice and perspective however this could easily also be sung from a women’s perspective too, using the same exact words, just changing the “she” to “he”. I think the fact that the writers on this song are both male and female it balanced the story out, with this kind of wisdom combined it made for a perfect story.
“You’re Whats Happening (In The World Today)” was written by George Gordy, Robert Gordy, Allen Story , this is such an upbeat song that really makes me feel what the vibe must have been like back in what is known as the swinging 60’s, its a groovy sound is the first word that springs to mind, and I have never in my life used the word groovy before, but it’s the perfect word to not only sum up this song but the general sound of this album. I love that you can play this song around parents and the elderly without them either shutting it off or just expressing their complete disgust over the lyrics and annoyance of the thumping beat like they usually do with some of the new stuff we hear. Though I wasn’t tantalised by the over loving and outwardly use of admiration in the lyrics of which describe a man gushing over a women, however I loved how cheesy it is, for example
”In my sleep I see you, darling, and you’re lovely as a queen, Intoxicated lady, you bring joy to my dreams”
It’s just nice to have something light and upbeat to listen to after something that was a little serious and sad before. And this album has a great combination of highs and lows in both lyrical content and sound yet quite an upbeat tone throughout.
Marvin Gaye is a great artist with an amazing voice that you can listen to over and over again without getting tired of. Though the Album was not what I was expecting, it definitely was a delight to listen to, if you love Marvin Gaye’s voice and want to take yourself back in time and experience the sound of the 60’s (if you missed out like me, or just want to reminisce) for 32 minutes straight I would certainly recommend listening to Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” Album.
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I would love to know you’re thoughts on this iconic song and album,
Also what album should I review for next Monday?