Motown songwriter and singer Barrett Strong has died

Singer and songwriter Barrett Strong (1941-2023) has died aged 81. The news was confirmed on Monday by the museum of the famous record label Motown via Twitter. The cause of death was not disclosed. Strong rose to fame in the 1960s with the hit single “Money (That’s What I Want)”.

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Great sadness for Barrett Strong

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary Motown singer-songwriter Barrett Strong,” says the tweet. “Barrett was not just a great singer and pianist, he left an incredible body of work with his writing partner Norman Whitfield,” Motown founder Berry Gordy, 93, is quoted as saying by the BBC.

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Born in Mississippi in 1941 but raised in Detroit, Strong was one of the first artists to be signed by future Motown boss Gordy. In 1960, his recording of the Gordy-written song “Money (That’s What I Want)” became the first hit for both artists. The track peaked at number two on the R&B singles chart and defined Motown’s early years. The song was later recorded by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. However, Strong later fought with the label for his share of the royalties on the song for years after his name was removed from the credits.

The big Achievements

Strong also worked as a songwriter and co-wrote some big hits with producer Norman Whitfield (1940-2008) – including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”. In 1973, he won the Grammy for Best R&B Song for the latter song. In the ’70s, Strong left Motown and recorded a couple of solo albums. In 2004 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2009, Strong suffered a stroke and retired from public life.

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