Barrett Strong, Singer-Songwriter and First Star of Motown, Dies at 81 Motown Records

Barrett Robust, Singer-Songwriter and First Star of Motown, Dies at 81 Motown Information

Barrett Robust, a singer-songwriter who rose to fame because the singer of Motown’s first hit single Cash (That is What I Need), has died on the age of 81. The information was confirmed by the Motown Museum on Monday; no reason behind demise was given.

It’s with nice unhappiness that we share the demise of the legendary @ClassicMotown Singer and songwriter Barrett Robust.

The voice behind @motowns first hit, the legendary “Cash (That is What I Need)”, was born on February 5, 1941 in West Level, Mississippi and grew up in Detroit. pic.twitter.com/RvINyjJgcc

— Motown Museum (@Motown_Museum) January 30, 2023

Born in Mississippi in 1941 however raised in Detroit, Robust was one of many first artists to be signed by future Motown connoisseur Berry Gordy. He started recording for Gordy’s Tamla Information label within the late Fifties, and in 1960 his recording of the Gordy-penned Cash (That is What I Need) grew to become the primary hit for each artists. Hitting #2 on the R&B singles chart and #23 on the Scorching 100, Cash entered the early years of Motown and was later picked up by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Though Cash was an enormous success for the corporate and for Robust, the monitor’s credit have been the topic of a lot controversy all through Robust’s profession. Robust himself claimed that he co-wrote the music with Gordy and songwriter Janie Bradford, whereas Gordy has persistently denied this, saying Robust was solely concerned within the recording. When it was initially registered for copyright, Robust was credited as one of many monitor’s writers. in a 2013 New York Occasions feature Relating to Robust’s wrestle for recognition, Gordy representatives said that this was a typographical error, though session musicians current through the music’s recording stated that Robust wrote the monitor’s iconic piano riff and guitar traces. “Songs survive individuals,” Robust informed the NYT. “The actual cash is in publishing, and if in case you have publishing, then maintain on to it… While you give it away, you are gifting away your life, your legacy.”

Though Cash was a success, Robust discovered he wasn’t making sufficient cash to help his household, so he started working briefly on the Chrysler manufacturing unit ground within the early ’60s. He returned to Motown as a everlasting songwriter within the mid-’60s, writing most of the firm’s best-known tracks with producer Norman Whitfield, together with I Heard It By means of the Grapevine, Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone and Conflict. Particularly, the pair’s partnership with the Temptations produced a string of massively profitable, common tracks; In 1973 he gained the Grammy for Greatest R&B Track for Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.

Barrett Strong in 1970.
Barrett Robust in 1970. Picture: Charlie Gillett/Redferns Assortment

Within the ’70s, Robust left Motown and started recording for Capitol Information, though none of his solo work ever reached the heights of Cash. He was inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Fame in 2004, however was unable to play or carry out for a lot of his life as a consequence of a stroke he suffered in 2009. In 2010, he found his identify was taken off Cash’s credit score record, and he spent the remainder of his life making an attempt to assert a lower of the music’s royalties, partly to pay for the medical therapies he wanted after his stroke.

“I’m saddened to listen to of the passing of Barrett Robust, one among my earliest artists and the person who sang my first massive hit Cash (That is What I Need) in 1959,” Gordy wrote in a launched assertion to diversity. “Not solely was Barrett an excellent singer and pianist, however he created unimaginable work together with his writing associate Norman Whitfield, most notably with the Temptations. … My heartfelt condolences exit to his household and mates. Barrett is an unique member of the Motown household and will likely be missed by all of us.”


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