Barrett Strong (b. February 5, 1941) is a veteran singer, pianist, and songwriter who became famous beginning in the early 1960s. A key figure in the history of Motown, he became the first artist to have a hit for this legendary label, although over his long career, he became better known as a songwriter lyricist. With producer Norman Whitfield, he co-wrote numerous hits for The Temptations plus such oldies classics as Edwin Starr's "War," The Undisputed Truth's "Smiling Faces Sometimes," and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" as made famous by both Gladys Knight & The Pips and Marvin Gaye.
As a performer, Strong is best known for the original version of "Money (That's What I Want)" (1960), a Pop/R&B standard that has since been remade by The Kingsmen (1964), The Flying Lizards (1979), and numerous other bands and artists. After making his debut in 1960 on both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts with this smash, for which he provided both the lead vocals and piano accompaniment, Strong followed with several minor hits: "You Know What To Do" (1960), "Yes, No, Maybe So" (1960), and "Stand Up And Cheer For The Preacher" (1973). He had his final entry on the R&B charts in 1975 with "Is It True."
Barrett Strong's many awards and accolades include a Grammy in 1972 for Best Rhythm & Blues Song and being inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2004 along with Motown collaborator, Norman Whitfield. After leaving Motown in the early 1970s, he continued his long career on various labels as a recording artist and songwriter and in 2010, appeared in his first music video, "Misery."
- Barrett Strong remembers the early days of Motown in an interview with Ann Delisi on wdet.org (February 20, 2016).
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- Money (That's What I Want) 1960
(This song later also became a hit for the Kingsmen (1964), Jr. Walker & the All Stars (1966), and the Flying Lizards (1980).)
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