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Barrett Strong

Money (That's What I Want)

Barrett Strong

Money (That's What I Want)


Money (That’s What I Want) was Berry Gordy’s mantra after fourteen months as a record label owner. He wrote the song with his receptionist Janie Bradford. “Mister Gordy was playing piano, and he had this riff going,” Bradford told Bill Dahl. “We stood there and just kept writing, and throwing out lyrics, and improving on the melody, and the whole thing came together.” Gordy later reported that he was trying to write a love song, which he did…just a different kind of love song. At the session, Strong took over on piano, while two young white guys sat in on guitar and bass. “They just walked up and asked if they could be on the session,” said Strong. “Never saw them again in my life.” The initial response to the single was so overwhelming that Gordy licensed it to his sister Gwen’s label, Anna, which was distributed through Chess.

Born in West Point, Mississippi on February 5, 1941, Barrett Strong was a student at Detroit’s Central High at the time he recorded for Tamla; indeed, so many of Tamla’s early acts and session players were still in school that the action tended to take place after 4:00PM. “Jackie [Wilson] was over at my house,” Strong told Dahl, “and he heard me sing and play the piano. He liked what I was doing, so he told me that he had a friend who was in the music business. He brought [Gordy] over to my house.” His first Tamla single, Let’s Rock, sold so poorly that it barely counted as a debut at all, but Money reached #2 on the R&B charts and #23 on the pop charts. Strong hung around Gordy’s budding empire until 1961, and then headed to New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He made several more records but became renowned as a songwriter. The Dells’ Stay In My Corner was one of his co-writing successes, but the biggest was

I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Strong also co-wrote several of the Temptations’ biggest hits. By the time Strong returned to Tamla, Money had become a prophecy fulfilled beyond Gordy’s wildest dreams. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones had recorded it, and the Kingsmen had taken it into the Top 20. 

Various - Blowing The Fuse 1960

Classics That Rocked The Jukebox

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Money (That´s What I Want) - Oh I Apologize (7inch, 45rpm, BC)
Barrett Strong: Money (That´s What I Want) - Oh I Apologize... Art-Nr.: 45MOT7773

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(Motown Record) 2 tracks
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The Complete Motown Collection
Barrett Strong: The Complete Motown Collection Art-Nr.: CD980777

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(2004/SPECTRUM) 22 tracks 1959-61 (incl. unreleased material).
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Old Rock New Roll #13 7inch, 45rpm, EP, PS
Barrett Strong: Old Rock New Roll #13 7inch, 45rpm, EP, PS Art-Nr.: EMI94203

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