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Sunday 24 July 2022

Single Song Sunday

As so often seems to be the case these days, today's post was prompted by that Charity Chic. A while back he posted a couple of live tracks by Fairport Convention recorded at their annual Cropredy Fesrival, which got me reminiscing about the times I attended back in the 1990s. 

One moment that I will always treasure was at the 1995 festival when Fairport were joined on stage by Richard Thompson, Roy Wood and the brass section and backing vocalists from Roy's all-female Big Band to belt out "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".

I set off to find evidence of its existence and to my surprise discovered it was officially released on their 1997 album "Who Knows Where The Time Goes", which comprised new studio material plus this and a live version of the title track. I eventually managed to track down a copy of the album via eBay and, having done so, decided to celebrate with a Single Song Sunday.

All of which explains why we are kicking off with the Fairport version rather than Gladys Knight's original. Gladys took the song to No 2 in the Billboard Charts in 1967 and it became Motown's highest-selling single up to that point, a position it held for 12 months until knocked off its perch by Marvin Gaye's version during the course of its seven weeks at No 1.

You might want to take a deep breath before tackling the next two as they clock in at a combined total of over 23 minutes, Creedence's 11 minute extended choogle being outdone in length by The Bar-Kays who had evidently seen Isaac Hayes' success with "Walk On By" and "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and thought "we'll have a bit of that".

The long songs are followed by Andre Williams' brief palate cleanser, notable for having no obvious signs of Andre on it, before we round things off with the magnificently ramshackle Slits and the Mandatory Reggae Version courtesy of Toots and the lads.

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Fairport Convention (featuring Richard Thompson and Roy Wood's Big Band)

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Gladys Knight & The Pips

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Marvin Gaye

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Creedence Clearwater Revival

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - The Bar-Kays

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Andre Williams

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - The Slits

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" - Toots & The Maytals

Today's videos go in the following order: sublime, sublimer, sublimest, ridiculous.


  1. FM - I would have been much happier with an entire video of the bluesman at the beginning!

  2. Other than that some great versions here

  3. Just before I opened up this page I was wondering where SSS had got to. The Fairport version is not at all what I was expecting, it's almost totally over the top but nonetheless very good

    1. And as I listen to I Hoid Through The Grapevine I am wondering how these 11 minutes are going to pan out

    2. ....not as tedious as I thought it would be. As for the BarKeys, it's not a re'invention, as Isaac Hayes did with those songs, they just stretch it out..........