Music. Barrett Strong, stalwart of the Motown label, has died

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American singer Barrett Strong, historic pillar of the Motown label for which he wrote some of his best-known hits, has died at the age of 81, the Motown Museum announced on Sunday.

“It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of legendary Motown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong,” the Detroit-based museum wrote on Twitter.

Born in Mississippi, he grew up in the American capital of the automobile and was released in 1959 Money (That’s What I Want)the first hit of Motown, a major black record label that would acquire an immense influence on soul, rhythms and blues and beyond.

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Along with another Motown Records producer, Norman Whitfield, he would co-write the label’s other big hits, including I Heard It Through the Grapevinemade famous by Marvin Gaye in 1968, and Temptations tracks like Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) (1971) or Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone (1973).

His songs written with Norman Whitfield “were groundbreaking in their sound and embodied the spirit of that era,” said Motown founder Berry Gordy, quoted by the specialized magazine Billboard on Sunday.

“Barrett was a founding member of the Motown family, and he will be greatly missed,” he added.

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