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Motown singer/songwriter Barrett Strong dies at 81

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Barrett Strong, known for writing some of Motown’s biggest hits, passed away in Detroit Sunday at the age of 81, the Detroit Free Press reports. 


Strong is best known for co-writing and singing the Motown classic “Money (That’s What I Want),” which would be the label’s first hit. It went on to sell a million copies and was covered by the likes of The Beatles and others.

As a songwriter, Strong and producer Norman Whitfiled co-wrote some of Motown’s most classic tunes, many with The Temptations, including “Cloud Nine,” Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me),” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and others. He also co-wrote “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” for Gladys Knight and the Pips, “War” for Edwin Starr and more.

“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 shared 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).”

He adds, “My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Barrett is an original member of the Motown family and will be missed by all of us.”

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