Legendary Motown Artist Barrett Strong Dead At 81

Public/Screenshot/YouTube — User: HJNConsulting

Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
Font Size:

Motown artist Barrett Strong has died at age 81, according to a Sunday announcement from the Motown Museum.

“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of legendary Classic Motown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong,” the Detroit, Michigan, museum wrote on Facebook. “Barrett’s prolific career and contributions as one of Motown’s top lyricists earned him induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.”

Strong is known for coupling his talents with producer Norman Whitfield to create some of the most recognizable tunes in Motown history, including “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me), according to the Motown Museum.

Strong had a long-running career in the music industry.

The Motown Museum paid homage to one of Strong’s original achievements, the song “Money (That’s What I Want). It commemorated Strong’s talent by noting when it was time to create the song, Strong sat down in front of the piano and created the hit single “within moments,” according to the Facebook post. (RELATED: B. Smyth Dead At Age 28)

“The song eventually reached #2 on the U.S. R&B charts, #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and ultimately #288 on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,'” according to the Motown Museum.

Strong later released music with more political undertones through his collaborative work with Whitfield, including the creation of singles “Cloud Nine,” and “Psychedelic Shack,” according to the Associated Press (AP). Strong also helped create the protest song “War” and the now-famous lyrics, “War! What is it good for? Absolutely … nothing!” AP reported.