February 5th is Singer-Songwriter Barrett Strong’s 79th birthday! Strong was among the first artists signed to Berry Gordy’s brand new label Tamla Records. He recorded “Money (That’s What I Want)” in August, 1959, but to get the song national recognition, it was distributed by Anna Records, which was partly owned by Berry’s older sister Anna. This became the first Motown hit in 1960. It was written by Gordy and Janie Bradford. Barrett claimed he co-wrote the song, but his name was removed from the copyright registration 3 years later, then restored in 1987, and cut out again the following year. Gordy says Strong’s name was only included because of a clerical error. Whether or not that’s true, Barrett Strong later became one of Motown’s most successful lyricists, teaming with producer Norman Whitfield.

Check this list of their songs….”I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, a hit for both Gladys Knight and Marvin Gaye, “War” by Edwin Starr, and a string of Temptations classics, including “I Can’t Get Next To You”, “Cloud 9”, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, “Psychedelic Shack”, “Ball Of Confusion”, and “Just My Imagination”. They also wrote “Smiling Faces Sometimes” for Undisputed Truth. Happy Birthday to Barrett Strong…Wayback Wednesday presents “Money (That’s What I Want)”!

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