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Legendary Songwriter and Singer Barret Strong Dies- Voice of Motown Records

Legendary Songwriter and Singer Barret Strong Dies- Voice of Motown Records


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Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement. ” “Barrett was not only a great singer and piano player, but he, along with his writing partner Norman Whitfield, created an incredible body of work.”

Strong was just 20 years old when he agreed to let his pal Gordy manage and release his music while he was developing a recording dynasty in Detroit. Within a year, he was making history as the pianist and vocalist on “Money,” a million-dollar seller released in early 1960. The hit was Motown’s first enormous success. Strong never achieved the success of “Money” by himself and battled for recognition that he contributed to its creation for decades. He did, however, develop a fruitful and diverse songwriting duo with Whitfield.

Motown Museum posted on social media today –

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of legendary @classicmotown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong. The voice behind @motownrecords’ first hit, the iconic “Money (That’s What I Want),” was born in West Point, Mississippi on February 5, 1941 and was raised in Detroit.

After touring throughout the city with his siblings, Strong’s ethereal vocal style caught the attention of Jackie Wilson who introduced him to Berry Gordy. In April of 1959, Barrett was signed to Gordy’s Tamla Records and, later that month, released his first-ever single, “Let’s Rock.”

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In July of that same year—after overhearing an in-studio conversation between Mr. Gordy and Motown songwriter Janie Bradford—Strong started playing the piano and, within moments, “Money (That’s What I Want)” was created. The song eventually reached #2 on the U.S. R&B charts, #23 on the @billboard Hot 100 and ultimately #288 on @rollingstone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”


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Mr. Strong later paired with Motown producer Norman Whitfield to create some of the label’s most successful and critically acclaimed songs including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” made famous by both @officialmarvingayemusic and @msgladysknight & the Pips, Edwin Starr’s “Where I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home), and @thetemptations’ 1973’s @recordingacademy Award-winning “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” and 1971’s @billboardcharts #1 hit “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me).”

Barrett’s prolific career and contributions as one of Motown’s top lyricists earned him induction into the @songwritershof in 2004.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and Motown family and fans around the world.

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