Motown Icon Barrett Strong Died at 81

It has been confirmed that the musician whose writing credits include Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ has passed away at the age of 81.

AceShowbiz -Motown legend Barrett Strong has passed away aged 81. On Sunday, January 29, 2023, the “Money (That’s What I Want)” singer’s passing was announced by the Motown Museum – no details about the circumstances were not shared – by he was praised for his work with his writing partner Norman Whitfeld, who died in 2008.

“Barrett was not only a great singer and piano player, but he, along with his writing partner Norman Whitfield, created an incredible body of work,” said Berry Gordy, the record label founder who gave Barrett his big break.

Barrett was born in West Point, Mississippi before moving to Detroit – the home of the label that also gave the world Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and many others – and after becoming a self-led musician, he founded a gospel group with his sisters before meeting the people who would shape his career.

In 2013, the “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” writer admitted his songs will “outlive” him after he embarked on a legal battle to be listed on the credits of Ray Charles hit “What I’d Say” after already boasting a back catalogue including Marvin Gaye‘s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and many hits for the Temptations.

He said, “Songs outlive people. The real reason Motown worked was the publishing. The records were just a vehicle to get the songs out there to the public. The real money is in the publishing, and if you have publishing, then hang on to it. That’s what it’s all about. If you give it away, you’re giving away your life, your legacy. Once you’re gone, those songs will still be playing.”

In 2004, The “Love Is You” hitmaker – who left Motown in the 70s – was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame after being deemed “a pivotal figure in Motown’s formative years.”

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