Gladys Knight & The Pips – ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’

‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ was written by songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966 and was recorded by several artists signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown label.

The first version of the song was recorded by The Miracles, although it was rejected for release by Gordy, later appearing on their 1968 album Special Occasion. It was next recorded by Smokey Robinson, but again rejected by Gordy. In 1967 Marvin Gaye’s version was recorded but was once again rejected. This alternative, up-tempo version of the song was then recorded for Gladys Knight and The Pips in 1967, largely as a reaction to the success Aretha Franklin had with ‘Respect’ on the rival Stax record label. The song has a very busy, complex bassline from bassist James Jamerson, one that is a fantastic insight into his innovative playing style.

Be sure to hit the Download Resources button above in order to download the PDF transcription for this piece (available to subscribers only). The transcription is available WITH TAB and WITHOUT. Please note that a backing track is NOT included with this course. The track used in the play-along can be purchased from

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