She'll Grow Back: Multiple Mondays: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Monday, June 2, 2008

Multiple Mondays: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Gladys Knight and The Pips weren't the first people to record this song, but they were the first to release it. Their release was soon eclipsed by Marvin Gaye's recording (actually completed before the Knight recording), but both versions have inspired a lot of love... and a lot of covers. Here are some of the best.

Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers (who toured with Gladys & The Pips) do a cover, and then The Rustix (the first white band signed to Motown) does a cover. Then Creedence Clearwater Revival present their extended, eleven-minute workout of the song. (There also exist dueling live versions I haven't included here -- to keep it under ten versions -- from John Fogerty and from Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the band with the other two surviving members in it.)
We have a bluegrass cover (from the best ripoff bargain-bin album I ever bought, Pickin' on Creedence Clearwater Revival), and then Barrett Strong, the song's co-writer, tells us what it was like to write songs at Motown, and sings a great, stripped-down version.
Finally, we close with a remix of the Pips' version.


Duncanmusic said...

The Rustix were one of those regional white soul bands that Motown took a chance on when they premiered the Rare Earth label. The produced two LPs and a couple of non-LP tracks while on the label.

From Rochester, NY, they had had one previously sucessful 45 on Chess, a cover of The Beatles "When I Get You Home".

I used to go see them a lot in the late 60s and early 70s in Rochester, as they were a great dance band and always a great place to pick up girls. They had two lead singers and in retrospect were a lot like Three Dog Night, very populist, doing a lot of covers to please the crowd. Grapevine was just one of many covers they did. It For You by The Beatles was another, basically a 3 Dog Night rip-off.

C'Mon People was probably their greatest (45 non-LP mix that had a lesswexciting version on their second LP) track looking back; listening to them now is a bit underwhelming. Oh, well, I was younger and not as educated in the ways of music back then. I just knew what I liked.

Mark H. Besotted said...

Wow, thanks so much. I couldn't find much of anything about The Rustix online -- you'll notice they don't even get a link.

My future ex-wife is from Rochester...