Marvin Gaye

I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Song Review by

Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is Motown's greatest record -- really, what's better? Even obscured by years of oldies radio overkill and Big Chill nostalgia it retains a hypnotic power unmatched by any of the label's other classics, articulating the turmoil and anguish of a soul torn apart at the seams with a clarity unmatched in the annals of popular music. On its surface a desperate plea to salvage a relationship gone terribly wrong, "Grapevine" progressively probes much deeper to convey complete emotional free-fall: haunted by lies, taunted by gossip and shattered by loss, Gaye's torment is palpable, and his performance -- the signature sophistication and elegance of his voice ravaged by fear and doubt -- is devastating. The repetitive electric piano figure and voodoo rhythms which open the song ominously foreshadow the troubles on the horizon; sinister and serpentine, Norman Whitfield's production twists the knife even further into Gaye's back, orchestrating a rumor-mill chorus of whispers and echoes which reiterate the singer's shame and humiliation over and over again.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
In the Groove 1968 Motown 3:18
Super Hits [Motown] 1970 Motown 3:13
Motown Story 1971
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
No Image 1972 Motown
Anthology [1974] 1974 Motown 3:17
No Image 1975
Various Artists
No Image 1976 Motown
The Good-Feeling Music of the Big Chill Generation, Vol. 5 1978
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 3:16
Marvin Gaye's Greatest Hits 1981 Motown 3:17
Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye 1983 Motown 3:16
Compact Command Performances: 15 Greatest Hits 1984 Motown 3:18
A Musical Testament 1964-1984 1988 Motown / Universal Distribution 3:16
Classic Rock: 1968 - The Beat Goes On 1989
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:18
The Marvin Gaye Collection 1990 Motown 3:14
Greatest Hits from the 60's 1990
Various Artists
Universal Special Products
Rhythm & Blues: 1968 1991
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Back to Back: Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 1993 K-Tel Distribution
The Norman Whitfield Sessions 1994 Motown 3:14
The Master 1961-1984 1995 Motown 3:40
Motown Year By Year: The Sound of Young America, 1968 1995
Various Artists
Motown 3:14
Anthology: The Best of Marvin Gaye 1995 Motown 3:13
Best Sixties Album in the World Ever 1995
Various Artists
3:11
Walking Dead 1995
Various Artists
Motown 5:53
The Man, The Music, The Legend 1996 Arts Recordings
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye 1997 Motown / PolyGram 3:15
Motown: The Very Best of the 60's 1997
Various Artists
Motown 3:10
Forever Yours 1997 DTS Entertainment / Digital Sound 3:17
Mixed Emotions 1997
Various Artists
Polygram 3:11
Soul Legends: The Classic Collections of Sweet Soul 1998
Various Artists
Master 3:55
Selection of Marvin Gaye: The Man, The Music, The Legend 1998 Golden Sounds 4:21
Disco Hits [Hallmark] 1998
Various Artists
Hallmark Recordings 4:58
Now: 1986 [1999] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 3:13
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Marvin Gaye, Vol. 1 1999 Uptown / Universal 3:13
More Broken Hearted Soul Essentials 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 3:16
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal International 0:00
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 1 - 6 1999
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Motown 3:14
The Best Jukebox Album in the World...Ever! 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 3:15
Motown History, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
Polygram 3:17
Disco Fever, Vol. 1 [Dressed to Kill] 2000
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 5:01
American Classics [Import] 2000
Various Artists
Shock 3:09
Respect: The Soundtrack to the Soul Generation 2000
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:16
Drivetime Triple Set 2000
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:09
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of the '60s 2000
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:14
Motown: The Classic Years 2000
Various Artists
Motown 3:16
No Image 2000
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 3:14
Sentimental 70's 2001
Various Artists
Legacy 3:52
Greatest Number 1's Ever 2001 EMI Music Distribution 3:12
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 3:11
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 3: 1966-1969 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:15
Greatest Hits of Rock 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 3:48
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye [Motown 2001] 2001 UTV / Motown 3:15
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1968 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:16
Pure American Soul, Vol. 1: 60's 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:15
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 3 [Polygram International] 2001
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:14
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Motown 1960s, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Motown 3:16
Motown Chartbusters, Vols. 1-3 2001
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:14
Motown Gold 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:10
Moods of Marvin Gaye/In the Groove 2001 Motown 3:17
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
Pure 60's: The #1 Hits 2002
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:14
Sixties Jukebox Classics 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 3:09
Chartbusters USA, Vol. 3 2003
Various Artists
Ace 3:16
Soul R&B Hits 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:13
The Incredible Soul Collection 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 3:14
#1 R&B Hits [Madacy Box] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy 3:56
The Marvin Gaye Collection [2003] 2003 Motown 2:17
Respect: The Soul Generation Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:15
WCBS FM: Motown, Soul and Rock N Roll: Motown 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 0:00
Motown Greatest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:11
Nostalgie 20 Ans La Légende: Légendes Internationales 2003
Various Artists
ULM TV
Ultimate Collection 2004 Universal International 3:12
Motown Number 1's 2004
Various Artists
Motown / UTV 3:15
Gold: Greatest Hits [Universal Canada] 2004 Universal Distribution / Universal International 3:13
Back 2 Back 2004 Masters / Double Play Records 3:59
Best Of Soul [Madacy Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:13
Let's Get It On [Pazzazz Collection] 2004 Pazzazz 3:47
Soul Explosion [Dynamic] 2004
Various Artists
Dynamic 4:55
Icons 2004 Motown 3:13
Gold 2005 Motown 3:15
Hits of the 60's [Legacy Box] 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 3:54
What's Going On [Pazzazz Collection] 2005 Pazzazz 3:47
Dancing in the Streets: Motowns Greatest Hits 2005
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:11
The Motown Box 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 5:00
Classic Soul: Motown Legends, Vol. 4-5/100% Motown 2005
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 0:00
The Essential Marvin Gaye [Mastercuts] 2005 Mastercuts 4:49
Rock N Roll Classics [Madacy MP3] 2005 Madacy
Motown Story [2006] 2006
Various Artists
Motown 0:00
Express Yourself: Soul In The 20th Century 2006
Various Artists
Universal / Um3 3:13
Hall of Fame 2006 Laserlight 3:53
Chronicles: Music Inspired by the Big Chill [Box Set] 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:01
Real Thing: In Performance 1964-1981 [Hip-O DVD] 2006 Hip-O
Love Collection 2006 Universal International 3:15
#1 Hits: 60s Classic Rock 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:15
60's Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:15
40 R&B #1 Hits 2006
Various Artists
United Audio Entertainment 3:54
Marvin Gaye/Teddy Pendergrass 2006 Madacy 3:55
The Very Best of Marvin Gaye [Mastersong] 2006 Mastersong 3:56
80s Movie Hits 2006
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:47
Very Best of Marvin Gaye [Canada Import] 2006 Solitudes 3:15
True Drivetime 2006
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:09
Essential Songs 2006
Various Artists
UMVD 3:10
The Real Thing: In Performance 1964-1981 [DVD/CD] 2006 Universal Distribution 0:00
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Motown 3:15
Motown Remixed, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
Motown 4:18
Legends Informercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:15
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 8: 1968 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O Select / Motown 3:13
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:10
Marvin Gaye for Lovers 2008 Q Records
Playlist Plus 2008 Motown 3:14
Best Movie Album in the World Ever 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 3:10
Favorites 2008 Universal Distribution 3:13
Motown 50 Fanthology 2008
Various Artists
Universal 3:16
The Complete Collection 2008 Motown / Universal 3:14
Now That's What I Call Motown! 2009
Various Artists
Motown 3:13
To Dad From Motown 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:14
Heartbreakers 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:11
Motown 50 Fanthology 2009
Various Artists
Motown 3:14
Soul Legends 2009
Various Artists
Madacy 0:00
Motortown Review 2009
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:14
Sweet Soul Music: 1968 2009
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 3:14
The Best Sixties Album in the World...Ever! [2009] 2009
Various Artists
EMI 3:13
No Image 2009 Universal 3:13
Love Marvin: The Greatest Love Songs Of Marvin Gaye 2010 Island / Motown / Universal Music TV 3:17
Icon 2 2010 Motown 3:15
The Motown Collection 2010
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:14
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 3:12
Best of the Best [Universal] 2011
Various Artists
Universal Music Group 3:18
Icon: Motown Classics 2012
Various Artists
Motown 3:13
Now That's What I Call a No. 1 2012
Various Artists
EMI / Joint Venture 3:09
5 Classic Albums 2012 Motown 3:16
Motown the Musical: Originals – The Classic Songs That Inspired the Broadway Show 2013
Various Artists
Island / Motown 3:14
Best of Marvin Gaye 2013 Motown 3:14
Latest & Greatest No. 1s 2014
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:10
Ultimate Collection: 60s Classics [2014] 2014
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection / Union Square Music / Universal 3:11
Remix the Classics, Vol. 2 2016
Various Artists
UMe / Universal 4:47
Bridget Jones's Baby [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2016
Original Soundtrack
Interscope / Polydor 3:15
Higher Ground: Happy Birthday Marvin Gaye Mix 2019 Motown / Universal 3:02
100 Essential 60's
Various Artists
Universal 3:12
60 #1 Pop Hits
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 3:55
A Motown Thanksgiving Celebration
Various Artists
Motown 3:16
Best of Motown Classics
Various Artists
Universal 3:14
Classic Love Songs of Rock 'N' Roll
Various Artists
Time Life 3:13
Heartbreak Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:12
I Heard It Through the Grapevine Universal / Fontana / Hip-O / Spectrum Music 3:17
I Heard It Through the Grapevine [Musicbank] Musicbank
No Image Motown 3:14
Icon: Motown Classics, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Motown 3:14
No Image
Various Artists
Universal 3:10
Long Hot Summer
Various Artists
Gold Classic Hits Radio 3:15
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Music 3:16
Motown Greatest Hits [2019]
Various Artists
Universal
No Image
Various Artists
PolyGram
No Image Pair
Pure 60's
Various Artists
Universal 3:14
Soul of the '60s
Various Artists
Time Life 3:13
The Best of Marvin Gaye: Green Series Strategic Marketing 3:16
No Image
Various Artists
Motown / Uni 3:10
The Motown Story
Various Artists
Universal 3:10