Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye

*Fans and other attendees witnessed the presentation of Congressional awards and a special presentation from the city of Detroit, Michigan being bestowed upon those responsible for making “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” a hit.

The list included Motown records, Mickey Stevenson, Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Marvin Gaye, The Funk Brothers, Paul Riser, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The California Raisin Commercial Writer/Producer for the original Claymation Commercial with Buddy Miles as singer.

According to history, the song was written in 1966 by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. It was originally recorded by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles in 1966, but that version was rejected by Motown owner Berry Gordy, who told Strong and Whitfield to make it stronger. After recording the song with Marvin Gaye in 1967, which Gordy also rejected, Whitfield produced a version with Gladys Knight & the Pips, which Gordy agreed to release as a single in September 1967, and which went to number two on the Billboard chart.

The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968. It went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label.

Gladys Knight & The Pips

Gladys Knight & The Pips

The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution designating September 25, 2013 officially as “I Heard It Through The Grapevine Day” in honor of the 46th year anniversary of Motown hit record “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” which was first popularized by Gladys Knight & The Pips and made most famous by Marvin Gaye. Berry Gordy released Gladys Knight & The Pips rendition of the song on September 28, 1967. Marvin Gaye’s version was released a year later in 1968.

Valerie Ervin accepting proclamation

Valerie Ervin accepting proclamation. California Raisin on the right

The momentous occasion was hosted by Councilman Bernard Parks former Los Angeles Chief of Police and with the (retired) Honorable  Congresswoman Diane Watson.

Motown arranger Paul Riser, Raenee Robinson (Ray Charles' daughter), Cleo Hill Jackson (Motown Fashion Designer)

Motown arranger Paul Riser, Cleo Hill Jackson (Motown Fashion Designer), Raenee Robinson (Ray Charles’ daughter)

The Norman Whitfield family

The Norman Whitfield family

Grapevine sheet music

‘I Heard it Through the Grapevine’ sheet music

The event was an Imagine That Entertainment Production where Ambassador Duane Moody is Executive Producer.

All event photos by Kevin McClellan. Please click on this link to view more and to order: