Motown, Barrett Strong   Leave a comment

Motown, Barrett Strong

Barrett Strong (born February 5, 1941, West Point, Mississippi[1]) is an American singer and songwriter. Strong was the first artist to record a hit for Motown, although he is best remembered for his work as a songwriter, particularly in association with producer Norman Whitfield.

His careerStrong was among the first artists signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown corporation, and is the performer on the company’s first hit, “Money (That’s What I Want),” which reached No. 2 U.S. R&B in 1960. Written by Gordy and Janie Bradford, the single was originally released on the Tamla record label, a forerunner of Motown, but was then leased to the Anna label as it was getting airplay, and it was on Anna label that it was a hit. “Money”, which gave Strong his only major hit as a vocalist,[1] was later recorded by a number of acts, including The Beatles, The Kingsmen, Richard Wylie and His Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Searchers, The Flying Lizards, The Sonics and Buddy Guy.

In the mid 1960s, Strong became a Motown staff lyricist, teaming with producer Norman Whitfield. Together, Strong and Whitfield wrote some of the most successful and critically acclaimed soul songs ever to be released by Motown, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips; “War” by Edwin Starr; “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by The Undisputed Truth; and the long line of “psychedelic soul” records 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. Strong received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973 for “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”. Strong and Whitfield also co-wrote the ballad “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)”, a 1971 Billboard No. 1 that also marked the last Temptations single to feature charter members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.

After Motown moved its operations base from Detroit, Michigan, to Los Angeles, California, Strong left the label and resumed his singing career. In 1972 he signed with Epic. But after one failed single, Strong moved on, recording two albums for Capitol Records in the mid 1970s.[1]

Strong continued into the 1980s, recording “Rock It Easy” for an independent label and writing and arranging “You Can Depend on Me”, which was included on The Dells’ The Second Time album in 1988.[1] He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.[3]

Strong has re-released his last album, Stronghold II, which he wrote and composed in collaboration with rocker/songwriter Eliza Neals in 2008, in digital format only. [4]

Recently Strong has appeared in “Misery”, his first music video in his fifty years of recording music, co-produced by Eliza Neals and Martin “Tino” Gross with Strong at the helm


Posted February 22, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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