All righty! The 2015 A to Z Challenge is history, and things can start getting back to normal around here (whatever that is). It’s the first of May, May Day, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, and as it’s the first of the month, it’s time for another Battle of the Bands!
“I Heard It Thrugh The Grapevine” was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966. It was recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles that year, but Berry Gordy refused to release it, and it was given to Marvin Gaye after Whitfield and Strong made it “stronger.” Gordy didn’t like Gaye’s version of it, either. Whitfield produced a version by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Gordy issued it in Septrember 1967, where it reached #2 on the Hot 100. Gaye’s version, meanwhile, ws included on his 1968 album In The Groove, where it caught the ears of disk jockeys, and soon Gordy agreed to release it as a single in October 1968. The song hit #1 on the Hot 100 in December and remained there for seven weeks, and it’s now considered a soul classic. Here is Marvin’s classic version of the tune. This version is not in the running, so don’t vote for it.
Here are your choices for this Battle:
CONTESTANT #1: Gladys Knight and the Pips
While they were the third choice to record the tune, Gladys Knight and the Pips’ version that was released first, and it did very well. This is taken from an episode of Soul Train sometime in the early 1970’s, just judging from the clothes. I love Gladys’s hair in this, don’t you?
CONTESTANT #2: Creedence Clearwater Revival
John Fogerty and company did an eleven-minute jam on the tune for 1970’s Cosmo’s Factory. It was reduced to about 31/2 minutes for radio play (lucky for you), and eventually reached #43 on the Hot 100 in 1976. That’s the version here, but the link above will take you to the long version, in case you’re curious (and I hope you are, because that version really kicks ass).
Now, it’s time to vote…
Of the two versions presented here, which did you prefer? Gladys Knight’s, a more traditional soul version than Marvin Gaye’s, or Creedence’s country-rock version? All three of them represent the respective artists at the top of their game, and all three are similar, but quite different in their approach. I’ll be interested to hear what everyone has to say. Voting is now open, and the final tally of the votes will be taken and reported here one week from today.
And, after you finish here, how about doing what I plan on doing, and visiting the blogs that will most likely be featuring Battles of the Bands today as well?
Be sure to check the comments on thse blogs for other Battles as well!
Results next week!