b. Barrett Strong, 5th February 1941, Westpoint, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 29th January 2023, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Barrett Strong will be best remembered for his, first Motown Records hit, ‘Money (That's What I Want)’ b/w 'Oh, I Apologise), which reached the number 2 position in the US R&B chart in 1960.
with norman whitfield
He was the first artist to record a hit for the Motown imprint, and was popular for his songwriting collabration with the producer Norman Whitfield.
Born in West Point, Mississippi, Barrett signed to the Tamla Records label in 1959.
His hit ‘Money (That's What I Want)’ was originally released on the parent label and then leased to the Anna imprint where it sold over one million copies.
The song was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA and was covered by many artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Kingsmen, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Searchers, the Flying Lizards and Buddy Guy.
Alongside the producer Norman Whitfield, he went on to pen several Motown classics, including ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ (by both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips), ‘War’ (by Edwin Starr), ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)’ (by Paul Young), ‘Smiling Faces Sometimes’ (by the Undisputed Truth) along with tracks by the Temptations, including ‘Cloud Nine’, ‘I Can't Get Next to You’, ‘Psychedelic Shack’, ‘Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)’, and ‘Papa Was a Rollin' Stone’, amongst others.
Barrett received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973 for ‘Papa Was a Rollin' Stone’.
He and Norman Whitfield went on to pen the ballad ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)’,which reached the Billboard No. 1in 1971.
The song the last Temptations single to feature the original members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.
When Motown relocated from Detroit, Michigan, to Los Angeles, California, Barrett left the label and resumed his singing career.
stronghold - 1975 / live and love - 1976
love is you - 1987 / stronghold 2 - 2000
He signed to Epic Records in 1972, alter joining Capitol Records, where he recorded two albums in the 1970s, which featured the evergreen ‘Man Up In The Sky’ in 1976.
He continued to record during the Eighties, and was later inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Barrett recorded ‘Stronghold II’, for which he wrote and composed in collaboration with Eliza Neals in 2008.
In 2010, he appeared in ‘Misery’, his first music video in his fifty years of recording music.
Barrett Strong died in January 2023 at the age of 81.
Stronghold (Capitol Records 1975)
Live And Love (Capitol Records 1976)
Love Is You (Timeless Records 1988)
Stronghold 2 (Blarritt Records 2000)