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  1. Marvin Gaye- I Heard It Through The Grapevine! Yessssss Sirrrrrr, Baby!

    Well, am I being bitchy? I've always thought this was not a very good album cover for a song of such stature and importance. Name:  i heard it through the grapevine.jpg
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    The smile, the arms outstretched; always makes me think that this is exactly the sort of album cover you'd get if someone like Frank Sinatra or Andy Williams did an album featuring this song, in an attempt to seem "with it."

    Marvin's version of "Grapevine" is so weighty, so moody, so very dark that somehow a vision of Marvin smiling (and smiling broadly) on the album cover makes it seem as if Motown thought the song was a show tune to be belted out with gusto; just as one of those old-line show-biz singers like Ethel Merman would have sung it.

    Motown's art department kinda blew it on this one... Now I'm finished hurling my sour grapes!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Well, am I being bitchy? I've always thought this was not a very good album cover for a song of such stature and importance. Name:  i heard it through the grapevine.jpg
Views: 273
Size:  30.2 KB

    The smile, the arms outstretched; always makes me think that this is exactly the sort of album cover you'd get if someone like Frank Sinatra or Andy Williams did an album featuring this song, in an attempt to seem "with it."

    Marvin's version of "Grapevine" is so weighty, so moody, so very dark that somehow a vision of Marvin smiling (and smiling broadly) on the album cover makes it seem as if Motown thought the song was a show tune to be belted out with gusto; just as one of those old-line show-biz singers like Ethel Merman would have sung it.

    Motown's art department kinda blew it on this one... Now I'm finished hurling my sour grapes!
    I've never thought of that before (since Motown put so little thought into most of their LP covers from the '60s).

  3. #3
    Motown thought about image. If they cared, they would have him pose in a moody demeanor much like in the Moods 66 album

  4. #4
    If Motown wanted an image of Marvin Gaye to match "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", they could've gone with something like the covers of When I'm Alone I Cry, M.P.G., That's The Way Love Is (or as midnightman suggested, Moods Of Marvin Gaye).

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Well, am I being bitchy? I've always thought this was not a very good album cover for a song of such stature and importance. Name:  i heard it through the grapevine.jpg
Views: 273
Size:  30.2 KB

    The smile, the arms outstretched; always makes me think that this is exactly the sort of album cover you'd get if someone like Frank Sinatra or Andy Williams did an album featuring this song, in an attempt to seem "with it."

    Marvin's version of "Grapevine" is so weighty, so moody, so very dark that somehow a vision of Marvin smiling (and smiling broadly) on the album cover makes it seem as if Motown thought the song was a show tune to be belted out with gusto; just as one of those old-line show-biz singers like Ethel Merman would have sung it.

    Motown's art department kinda blew it on this one... Now I'm finished hurling my sour grapes!
    You are 100% right ! Big disconnect from such a raw song.

    Looks like he's singing MOON RIVER (not that there's anything wrong with that lol!)

  6. #6
    Without looking it up, wasn't this album simply a re-packaging of the In the Groove album?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by daviddesper View Post
    Without looking it up, wasn't this album simply a re-packaging of the In the Groove album?
    I was gonna say this

  8. #8
    Thatís what I thought and there was no expectation Grapevine would be a smash again.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    If Motown wanted an image of Marvin Gaye to match "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", they could've gone with something like the covers of When I'm Alone I Cry, M.P.G., That's The Way Love Is (or as midnightman suggested, Moods Of Marvin Gaye).
    OK, you listed several great examples of good Motown album covers including the one I had in mind, the M.P.G. cover. THAT is such a great cover that should be iconic.

  10. #10
    Yes, you're being bitchy, Waiting (Ha!), but with good reason! The photo of Marvin on the original cover for "In The Groove" was a bit moodier and in the same dark groove as "Grapevine", but even that cover looked cheap and gawdy. It looked like they had cut out a photo of Marvin from the neck up and pasted it over the LP cover -- something they did back in the '50s which always struck me as cheap and tacky -- not unlike a face-shot somebody might have cut out and stuck on a refrigerator. Really surprising and low-class for a prestigious label like Motown and an artist as important as Marvin.

    PS: Hey, Waiting, did you ever get a chance to check out my two Phil Spector/Philles threads? The last I knew, two weeks ago, you couldn't wait to sink your teeth into it. Then you fell silent. Did you not like it? Hope that wasn't the case. I'm getting ready to launch Part - C - ""Rare & Unreleased Philles". I hope you'll like it.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 08-31-2019 at 12:43 AM.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    Motown thought about image. If they cared, they would have him pose in a moody demeanor much like in the Moods 66 album
    Exactly! It just seems nobody really gave much thought to the actual mood of this title song.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    That’s what I thought and there was no expectation Grapevine would be a smash again.
    This is the point: the album was a re-issue of "In The Groove" precisely because "Grapevine" became a surprise hit. So they re-titled it to reflect the newfound hit status of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."

    It's the same thing that happened with Jr. Walker's album, "Gotta Hold On To This Feeling"; it was re-issued and re-titled, "What Does It Take To Win Your Love" when that song hit big.

    The "Four Tops Now!" is the exact same album as "Mac Arthur Park". Once that song became a surprise hit, Motown put the same album out again with a new title.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    You are 100% right ! Big disconnect from such a raw song.

    Looks like he's singing MOON RIVER (not that there's anything wrong with that lol!)
    That's the perfect way to sum it up- the cover photo really is a big disconnect from the what the song is all about. If someone didn't know any better, they'd think the album was going to be full up up-tempo, big, happy tunes!

    (And no, there ain't nothin' wrong with Moon River! lol. I do like that song!)

  14. Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    Yes, you're being bitchy, Waiting (Ha!), but with good reason! The photo of Marvin on the original cover for "In The Groove" was a bit moodier and in the same dark groove as "Grapevine", but even that cover looked cheap and gawdy. It looked like they had cut out a photo of Marvin from the neck up and pasted it over the LP cover -- something they did back in the '50s which always struck me as cheap and tacky -- not unlike a face-shot somebody might have cut out and stuck on a refrigerator. Really surprising and low-class for a prestigious label like Motown and an artist as important as Marvin.

    PS: Hey, Waiting, did you ever get a chance to check out my two Phil Spector/Philles threads? The last I knew, two weeks ago, you couldn't wait to sink your teeth into it. Then you fell silent. Did you not like it? Hope that wasn't the case. I'm getting ready to launch Part - C - ""Rare & Unreleased Philles". I hope you'll like it.
    Ahhhhh Gary, YES! The "In The Groove" cover makes my eyes want to vomit. Yeah, "cheap and gawdy"- all the way. What's so nuts about that is, even in Motown's earliest days, when the covers were a bit more rough around the edges, they still were interesting to look at. "In The Groove" just seems like some last-ditch effort. I remember reading once, how when Suzanne de Passe first came to Motown, she was given a tour of the art department. She didn't like what she saw.

    I do like a great deal of Motown's album covers for what they were. They were pretty much in line with what everyone else was doing- certainly much better than some of the stuff Staxx had as album covers. So, it just makes it harder to understand why they took such a slapdash approach with a Marvin Gaye album cover- TWICE! To put it into perspective, The Marvelettes had become a fairly low priority at Motown, but even they got some really gorgeous album art.

    About the Phil Spector/Philles threads, I ended up having to work some serious overtime that weekend, so I didn't get the chance to just sit and relax and read. I think that will change this weekend...

  15. #15
    Unexpected hit songs/covers would be a good thread Waiting!

  16. Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Unexpected hit songs/covers would be a good thread Waiting!
    Ha, ha! Actually, as I was typing those other examples, I did think about that being a thread in itself! Tears Of A Clown is yet another example of a totally unexpected hit causing an album to be re-issued (3 years later!) and re-titled for the hit song!

  17. #17
    I think when the album was reissued not too long ago, it reverted back to In the Groove.

    Here's the original cover:



    Marvin had some great '60s albums and THIS was one of them: Grapevine, You, Chained, Change What You Can, At Last (I Found a Love) - ESPECIALLY THAT ONE, MARVIN, THE ORIGINALS AND THE FUNK BROTHERS WENT IN!, Tear It On Down... and Marvin's vocal change helped to make it that way. I loved he embraced his entire vocals here.

  18. #18
    Here's Barrett Strong speaking about the song ''I Heard It Through the Grapevine". I guess that's where the Isley Brothers connection (either never recorded or as yet unfound) originated.


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