47 years ago today, on December 14, 1968, Marvin Gaye”s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” hit No.1 on the U.S. singles chart. The soul classic held that top position for seven weeks.
Written by Motown Records producer Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the song was one of many that the label recorded with multiple acts. A year before the release of Gaye”s 1968 version, Gladys Knight & the Pips also charted with the song.
The success of this 1968 recording of the song took Gaye”s career to another level, and it”s secured its place in music history – Rolling Stone placed the track high on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, at #81. In 1998, Gaye”s “Grapevine” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Other notable December 14 happenings in pop culture history:
• 1963: The Beatles” “I Want To Hold Your Hand” rose to #1 on the U.K. charts, knocking “She Loves You” out of the top spot, making the Beatles became the first act to replace themselves at #1 in British chart history.
• 1976: Barbara Walters aired her first interview special, featuring president-elect Jimmy Carter and his wife, as well as Barbra Streisand.
• 1979: The Clash released “London Calling,” their third studio album, in the U.K. A U.S. release followed in January.
• 1983: “Silkwood” opened in U.S. theaters. Among Nora Ephron”s early screenwriting credits, the film starred Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher and was nominated for five Oscars.
• 1984: “Dune,” David Lynch”s adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel, opened in theaters.
• 1999: Paul McCartney played a show at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. It was the first time that McCartney had played at the club – where the Beatles were first heard by manager Brian Epstein – since 1963.
• 2001: “Vanilla Sky” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” had their theatrical release.
Birthdays: “The Miracle Worker” actress Patty Duke (69), “High School Musical” actress Vanessa Hudgens (27), “Call the Midwife” actress Miranda Hart (43), “Casual” actress Michaela Watkins (44), AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams (66)