Rewriting Motown

It’s amazing how a song can evolved even after you’ve released it, and it’s been a hit.

Here’s Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell singing the original version of Ashford & Simpson‘s song Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (written 1966, released in ’67)

Compare it with Diana Ross‘ solo version released in 1970.

Interesting that Motown boss Berry Gordy had no faith in this version and only released it as a single after radio stations started making their own single edits.

A similar thing happened with I Heard It Through The Grapevine recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in 1966 and Marvin Gaye in 1967 (both rejected by Berry Gordy) it was finally a no2 hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips before Gaye’s version was released in 1968 as an album cut. Eventually persuaded by Radio DJs to release it as a single it became Motown’s biggest selling record up to that point.

What’s the lesson? Berry Gordy’s bad at spotting a great single? Probably not. Maybe that there’s a lot of ways you can record a song – providing it’s a great song in the first place…

About mattblick

Songwriter/Singer from Nottingham, UK. My 2nd EP, Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky, is out now. I'm blogging (& podcasting) through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy. In my spare time I wish I had some spare time.
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