Today, a Motown classic: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" -- a tune that takes on new meaning (in a tongue-in-cheek way) during a week in which phone hacking has been dominating the headlines here in Britain. ("Bet you're wondering how I knew," say lyrics, which is a question being asked in many quarters of the UK government, press, and police right now....) Not to make light of the scandal, which is appalling -- but there's a point when things are just so astonishingly awful that you've got to reach for humor to keep your spirits up.
Written by Normal Whitfield & Barrett Strong, the song has been recorded by a remarkable number of bands and singers including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (1966), Gladys Knight and the Pips (1967), Marvin Gaye (1968), and Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)...as well as Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Elton John, The Slits, The Kaiser Chiefs, and even Fairport Convention.
Above: Gladys Knight and the Pips, on the "Soul Train" television show (US) in 1970. (I remember seeing this as a kid, and practicing those Pips dance moves with my three adored aunts: Cindy, Sally, & Sue.)
Amy Winehouse was born in North London in 1983, recorded her first album (Frank) in 2003 -- and (as most people have heard by now) died this past Saturday, age 27. Rest in peace, dear lady, and thank you for the extraordinary music that you left behind.
Today's tunes go out to Susan Harley.