RIP: Barrett Strong, Motown Artist and Temptations Songwriter, Dead at 81.
“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, primarily with the Temptations,” Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a statement. “Their hit songs were revolutionary in sound and captured the spirit of the times like ‘Cloud Nine’ and the still relevant, ‘Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today).’”
Born in Mississippi on Feb. 5 1941 and raised in Detroit, Strong was one of Gordy’s earliest signees. He sang 1959’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” for Motown’s Tamla label, and it shot to Number Two on the U.S. R&B chart in 1960, going on to sell more than one million copies. The song has been covered by scores of artists, most famously the Beatles — who released it in 1963 as the final track on With the Beatles — but the list includes covers from the Flying Lizards, the Kingsmen, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Guy.
Putting Motown on the map and writing and recording a song that became a rock & roll standard; and then going on to co-write songs for the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, and Edwin Starr. That’s quite an accomplished career.