Note: This post is the beginning of a new running feature on The Daily Record. In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Motown, we’ll be walking through the “Motown: Hitsville U.S.A. (1959-1971)” box set track by track.
Barrett Strong – “Money (That’s What I Want)”Pop #23, R&B #2
Barrett Strong may not have wanted to be a lead singer, but Motown founder Barry Gordy definitely wanted money. Strong’s sister went to school with Jackie Wilson, whom Gordy had written some songs for in the early ‘50s. Gordy’s song “Lonesome Teardrops” was a big hit for Wilson, but when Gordy realized the real money in the music game was producing and publishing, he started his own label.
Strong said he was never comfortable on the mic, but he was definitely in the zone with songwriting partner Norman Whitfield. The two would go on to pen several hits for The Temptations including “I Wish It Would Rain,” “Cloud Nine,” and “Just My Imagination” and Edwin Starr’s No. 1 anti-war hit “War.” All of these songs made Gordy some serious money. — by Joel Francis