Throwback: Barrett Strong-Money (That’s What I Want)

Barrett Strong recorded “Money (That’s What I Want”) for Berry Gordy’s Tamla Records in 1959. Gordy and Janie Bradford were the songwriters of the song that was a no. 2 R&B hit and the first one for the label. Strong’s gritty pleas, Gordy’s pounding piano, and Brian Holland’s shaky tambourine signaled an urgency for money like casting a spell. The success of “Money (That’s What I Want)” meant that it was Strong’s voice introducing the world to Motown Records. The Beatles had their own notable recording of the song in 1963. Strong worked with Norman Whitfield during the rest of the decade and together they wrote some of the biggest Motown songs; “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” “War,” “Smiling Faces Sometimes,” and “Cloud Nine” amongst others. In the ’70s, he resumed his singing career and released four albums with the last one coming out in 2001. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. Strong passed on January 28, 2023, at age 81.