Remembering Barrett Strong

The Songwriters Hall of Fame was saddened to learn of the passing of 2004 inductee Barrett Strong.

Born in West Point, Mississippi in 1941, singer/composer Barrett Strong was a pivotal figure in Motown's formative years, and is perhaps best known for his collaborations during the late '60s and early '70s with fellow Motown hitmaker Norman Whitfield. Their catalog included Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine and Edwin Starr’s War, along with several songs performed by the Temptations like Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) and Cloud Nine, along with more classics such as Too Busy Thinking About My Baby, Ball of Confusion, Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me and many others. Strong received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1973 for Papa Was a Rollin' Stone. 

After Motown moved its operations base from Detroit, Michigan, to Los Angeles, California, Strong left the label and resumed his singing career. He signed with Epic in 1972, then subsequently left the label for Capitol Records, where he recorded two albums in the 1970s.

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.

Strong released his album, Stronghold II, which he wrote and composed in collaboration with Eliza Neals in 2008, in digital format only.

In 2010, Strong appeared in Misery, his first music video in his fifty years of recording music, co-produced by Eliza Neals and Martin "Tino" Gross with Strong at the helm.