Song Of The Day 1/5/2016: Marvin Gaye – “You’re What’s Happening in the World Today”

B-Sides Week '16 – This was the B-side of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which for a time was the biggest-selling single in Motown Records history. Actually it was on Tamla Records, the very first label Berry Gordy incorporated. It eventually ran side-by-side with the slightly more renown Motown Records. In fact, I just found this out: Gordy got the name "Tamla" from Debbie Reynolds' big, perhaps too overly easy listening smash "Tammy." When he tried to register "Tammy Records" with the copyright office he was told the name was already taken. So he changed it to Tamla. Just another way Debbie Reynolds influenced the direction of rhythm & blues music.

ANYWAY, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was originally an R&B hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips. Gaye's version was recorded in 1967, more than a year before it came out as a single. It was practically an afterthought: When Motown was putting together Gaye's album In the Groove they determined they were a song or two short, so they went through some of the remains in his vaults to put on the release. That's right: "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" was originally nothing more than what we music types call "filler." But a Chicago DJ started playing it in his sets and it got an extremely positive response, so Motown decided to give it a shot as a single. It was #1 for seven weeks.

And... uh, today's song was on the flip side. This is why I'm not a promo guy.

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