Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Roger

Song#:  0808
Date:  11/07/1981
Debut:  91
Peak:  79
Weeks:  7
Genre:  R&B, Funk

Pop Bits:  Roger's group Zapp had a successful self-titled debut album in 1980 that produced the #2 R&B hit "More Bounce to the Ounce" (#86 pop). Before gathering the group for a follow-up, Roger (whose given name Roger Troutman) worked up his own debut solo album that he titled "The Many Facets of Roger." This cover tune was the first single from the LP and it reached the top spot on the R&B chart. At pop, it did a little better than the Zapp single, but not by much.

ReduxReview:  Well, this certainly is an interesting version of the song, although I don't know if "version" is the right word. I'm sure the talk box thing was really cool back then, but it certainly goes a long way. It gets annoying real quick. The effect is interesting, but should be used sparingly as an accent, not as a replacement for all vocals. Roger's take on the song is cringe-worthy as well. You can recognize the song in a few passages, but the classic just gets beaten down and the melody is left struggling to survive. If you need an example of how not to cover a song, look no further than this one.

ReduxRating:  2/10

Trivia:  Roger's version of this famous song would be the fifth to reach the pop chart. The first artist to have a hit with the tune was the #2 version by Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1967. The following year, Marvin Gaye's classic performance reached #1 (although it was recorded prior to Gladys Knight's). These hits were followed by lesser performing versions by King Curtis (#83, 1968) and Creedence Clearwater Revival (#43, 1976).



  1. My #1 worst song of the decade. I can get through about one minute of the talk box before it makes my ears bleed. And I think the album version is like 11 minutes long or something like that.