Barrett Strong – 1976 – Live & Love
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Barrett Strong (born in West Point, Mississippi on February 5, 1941) is often listed among the One-Hit Wonders of music for his Money (That’s What I Want) in early 1960, and I suppose for some who only look upon Top 40 Pop hits as the signpost for a “hit” that’s true. But he did have two other R&B charters which came along much later and so, for those of us who look upon a hit as anything that made the main Billboard charts, he avoids the tag.
Strong was the first artist to record a hit record for Motown, though he is best known for his successful songwriting collaboration with Norman Whitfield, which produced hits like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, “Ball of Confusion”, and “War”. Barrett Strong was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
A1 Man Up in the Sky 4:06
A2 Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City 3:41
A3 Be My Girl 4:28
A4 Live and Love 5:13
B1 Money (That’s What I Want) 4:01
B2 Moments to Remember 3:54
B3 I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog the Way You Treated Me 3:06
B4 Gonna Make It Right 4:15
B5 Knock On Wood 3:40
By Ron Wynn
A pivotal figure in Motown’s formative years, singer/composer Barrett Strong was a key associate and friend of Berry Gordy. It was his hit “Money (That’s What I Want)” for Anna Records in 1960 that provided vital capital for Gordy to expand his operation. The song gave Strong his only major hit as a vocalist, reaching number two on the R&B charts and barely missing the pop Top 20. During the late ’60s and early ’70s, Strong collaborated with Norman Whitfield on some historic songs that included Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby,” the Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Ball of Confusion,” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and “Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me” for Gladys Knight & the Pips, which he also co-wrote.
Strong left Motown when the label moved to Los Angeles in 1972, and he signed with Epic. After one failed single, Strong moved to Capitol, where he had the LP Stronghold released in 1975 and later Live & Love in 1976. Though it wasn’t a hit, his song “Man up in the Sky” was a ’70s soul gem. Johnny Bristol later re-recorded it. Strong continued into the ’80s, recording “Rock It Easy” for an independent label and writing and arranging “You Can Depend on Me,” which was included on the Dells’ The Second Time LP in 1988.