Barrett Strong, singer, songwriter and Motown’s first star, dies aged 81

1 year ago 48

Strong sang on the label’s first hit Money in 1960 and went on to co-write landmark songs including Heard It Through the Grapevine and War

Barrett Strong, a singer and songwriter who rose to fame as the vocalist on Motown’s first hit single Money (That’s What I Want), has died, aged 81. The news was confirmed on Monday by the Motown Museum; no cause of death was given.

Born in Mississippi in 1941 but raised in Detroit, Strong was one of the first artists to be signed by the future Motown maven Berry Gordy. He began recording for Gordy’s label, Tamla Records, in the late 1950s, and in 1960 his recording of the Gordy-penned Money (That’s What I Want) became the first hit for either artist. Peaking at No 2 on the R&B singles chart and No 23 on the Hot 100, Money came to define the early years of Motown, and was later recorded by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

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