Originally inspired by a police brutality incident witnessed by Renaldo "Obie" Benson , the song was composed by Benson, Al Cleveland , and Gaye and produced by Gaye himself. The song marked Gaye's departure from the Motown Sound towards more personal material. Later topping the Hot Soul Singles chart for five weeks and crossing over to number two on the Billboard Hot , it would sell over two million copies, becoming Gaye's second-most successful Motown song to date. The song topped Detroit 's Metro Times list of the Greatest Detroit Songs of All Time,  and in , Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the fourth-greatest song of all time ; in its updated list, the song remained at that position. The song's inspiration came from Renaldo "Obie" Benson , a member of the Motown vocal group the Four Tops , after he and the group's tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15,
Songs by Marvin Gaye
I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Wikipedia
The song was also the third straight and last single to include Martha and the Vandellas in background vocals just weeks before "Heat Wave" made the girl group one of the high-tier Motown acts. The song also helped continue Gaye's successful hit streak as the singer would score another Top 40 pop hit at the end of that year with "Can I Get a Witness". The album version of the single featured on Gaye's second album, That Stubborn Kinda Fellow is different in parts to the single version presenting a more jazz effect than the gospel-emulated version that became a single. The Jackson 5 recorded the song for the G.
Baby Boy Soundtrack - Marvin Gaye
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The rap songs from the Baby Boy soundtrack will no doubt garner the most attention, but for the most part, the numerous contemporary urban soul songs are what make this such a great album. Yet as commendable as these numerous soul songs may be for their mood-inducing effects, it's hard to miss the few big-time rap songs functioning as the soundtrack's selling points. Tan doing the crooning; the one-time Doggfather seems to have found a new, more dynamic songwriting formula that makes his '90s work seem formative in comparison. It must be stressed again, though, that the numerous slow jams make this album such a success.