Barrett Strong delivered Motown’s first hit!
There are two sides to Barrett Strong’s career. The first as an artist that recorded Motown’s first hit Money (That’s What I Want) in 1959. A song that was actually written by the president of Motown, Berry Gordy.
As important as this was to kick start the label, Barrett’s strongest part of his career came in terms of the lyrics he wrote for other artists.
Perhaps most notably I Heard It Through The Grapevine, War, Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home), and Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.
Most of Barrett’s hits were created alongside producer Norman Whitfield.
When Motown relocated from Detroit to Los Angeles, Barrett stayed behind, and even though he has remained active, the glory days were behind him the day he walked away from the Motown factory.
Barrett Strong received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973 for Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Chords
I Heard It Through The Grapevine is a Motown classic with a very clever chord progression.
All chords are as if from the key of Eb with just one chord being different, the Eb is a minor.
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Lyrics
I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew,
’bout your plans to make me blue.
With some other guy you knew before,
between the two of us guys you know I loved you more.
Money (That’s What I Want) – Chords
Money (That’s What I Want) is a song written by Motown Record Executive Berry Gordy. First performed by Barrett Strong, it has since been covered by many.
As you learn this, I’ll reveal several ways you could play this song, including how to improvise a solo.
Money (That’s What I Want) – Lyrics
The best things in life are free,
but you can give them to the birds and bees,
I need money (that’s what I want).
That’s what I want (that’s what I want).