Motown trailblazer and ‘Money’ singer dies at 81

USA News

Former Motown singer/songwriter Barrett Strong is photographed at his home in Woodland Hills, Calif., on Jan. 14, 2019.

Barrett Strong, an artist and songwriter who was present for the birth of Motown and had a key role in classic hits for the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr and others, has died. He was 81.

Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a Sunday statement: “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, primarily with the Temptations. Their hit songs were revolutionary in sound and captured the spirit of the times like “Cloud Nine” and the still relevant “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today).”

“My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends. Barrett is an original member of the Motown family and will be missed by all of us.”

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Strong, an artist and songwriter who played a key role in classic hits for the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr and others, has died at the age of 81.

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Temptations founder Otis Williams paid tribute to Strong, citing a 60-plus-year relationship going back to their days on Detroit’s north end, where they lived across the street from one another.

“Barrett has left his indelible stamp not only on Motown and the Temptations, but on music history in general,” Williams said in a statement. “His distinguished legacy of chart hits epitomizes the golden age of Motown. Our Motown family has lost a beloved brother and extraordinary songwriter. My thoughts and prayers go out to Barrett’s son and loved ones.”

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