Monthly Archives: April 2011

Song: “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”

Smokey Robinson recorded this song first, but it wasn't released. Then Gladys Knight took it to number 2. But Marvin Gaye's recording is the one we'll always remember. Uploaded by

Quick: Who sang “I Heard it Through the Grapevine?” Chances are, your first answer was Marvin Gaye (Great American Things, April 2, 2009) . He had the biggest hit with it, but his 1968 release wasn’t the first version to make it to the charts. It was Gladys Knight and the Pips whose 1967 recording made it to number one on the R&B chart, and number 2 on the pop chart – Motown’s biggest hit to that point.

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But even this wasn’t the first recording of the song. That was done by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. But Berry Gordy didn’t care for it, and didn’t allow its release. Marvin Gaye’s version was recorded next, but held while Gladys Knight’s recording soared. Then Gaye’s came out, and reached number one on the pop and R&B charts.

“I Heard it Through the Grapevine” was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, two of Motown’s many creative giants. Rolling Stone named their song number 80 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. And Billboard, in its 50th anniversary of the Top 100 chart, ranked this its number 65 hit.

Film: Movies of 1976


It was a great year for famous quotes. "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore"..."You talkin' to me?"..."Yo, Adrian"..."Is it safe?" Uploaded by

Maybe it was the Bicentennial that inspired so many excellent movies. Okay, probably not. All I know is that 1976 was one of those special years when it was fun to be a movie fan because there was always something good playing. Such as:

All the President’s Men (Great American Things, October 7, 2010) – Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman solve Watergate. Best Supporting Actor for Jason Robards.

Carrie – Brian De Palma brings Steven King to the screen for the first time.

The Eagle Has Landed – a great thriller starring Michael Caine and Donald Sutherland.

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Marathon Man – one of my personal favorites. Laurence Olivier asks Dustin Hoffman, “Is it safe?”

Network – Peter Finch won the Best Actor Oscar and railed, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Faye Dunaway earned Best Actress.

Rocky (Great American Things, August 2, 2010) – Sylvester Stallone came out of nowhere to write and direct the year’s box office winner. Won Best Picture, and Best Director (John Avildsen).

Silver Streak – First pairing of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor is both comic and box office gold.

A Star is Born – this remake of the classic starred Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. The number two box office movie of the year.

Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese directed, Robert De Niro starred. Won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. “You talkin’ to me?”