|Born||West Point, Mississippi (USA)|
|Date||5 February 1941|
Barrett Strong (born February 5, 1941, West Point, Mississippi) is an American singer and songwriter. Strong was the first artist to record a hit for Motown, although he is best remembered for his work as a songwriter, particularly in association with producer Norman Whitfield.
Strong was among the first artists signed to Berry Gordy's Motown Record Corporation, and is the performer on the company's first hit, "Money (That's What I Want)" (#2 US R&B in 1960, on the Tamla record label, but it was leased to the Anna label as it was getting airplay and on that Anna label it was a hit). It gave Strong his only major hit as a vocalist, and it was later recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis, The Searchers, The Beatles, The Flying Lizards and Buddy Guy.
In the mid 1960s, Strong, a cousin of fellow Detroit soul singer Nolan Strong, became a Motown staff lyricist, teaming with producer Norman Whitfield. Together, Strong and Whitfield wrote some of the most successful and critically acclaimed soul songs ever to be released by Motown, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight and the Pips, "War" by Edwin Starr, "Smiling Faces Sometimes" by The Undisputed Truth, and the long line of psychedelic soul records by The Temptations, including "Cloud Nine", "I Can't Get Next to You", "Psychedelic Shack", "Ball of Confusion", and "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone", amongst others. Strong received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973 for co-writing "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone".
After Motown moved its operations base from Detroit, Michigan to Los Angeles, California, Strong left the label and resumed his singing career. In 1972 he signed with Epic, but after one failed single Strong moved on, recording two albums for Capitol Records in the mid 1970s.
Strong continued into the 1980s, recording "Rock It Easy" for an indendent label and writing and arranging "You Can Depend on Me," which was included on The Dells' The Second Time album in 1988. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Strong has re-released his last album Stronghold II co-written with rocker / songwriter Eliza Neals in 2008 in digital format only.
- Duran Duran covered "Ball of Confusion" on the 1995 Thank You album, which was co-written by Barrett Strong.
- During The Red Carpet Massacre Tour Duran covered "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone", with a recording available on Lisbon: 10 July 2008.