Barrett Strong, the voice and songwriter behind Motown Records’ first hit, has died, according to a post from The Motown Museum. He was 81.
“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),” the Museum’s post began.
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The tribute explained the history behind Strong’s Money.
“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,'” the caption read.
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Strong, along with Motown producer Norman Whitfield, also created some of the label’s other top songs, including I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home), Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, and 1971’s Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me).
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