The news of American singer and songwriter, Barrett Strong’s death has shocked the internet. The popular Motown Records’ lead singer died at the age of 81 with a legacy of more than 200 songs, according to BMI(Broadcast Music Inc).

Strong wrote his most popular songs during his association with Motown and producer Norman Whitfield. His breakthrough album Money (That’s what I want) was covered by popular artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stone. Strong once said, “Songs outlive people” and indeed they do.

So let’s take a look at the 5 best Barrett Strong songs to remember the artist in the best possible way we can:

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  • Money(That’s What I Want): The song was released by Motown Records in early 1960s and marked the beginning of Strong’s remarkable 6 decades career. Interestingly, this perfect rhythm and blues song actually came out of a casual jam session turned into a spontaneous recording. It starts with a bluesy piano riff with Barret himself as other instruments start hitting it off.


  • I Heard it Through the Grapevine: This 1966 hit was another brilliant composition that came out of Whitfield and Strong’s association. The song was first covered by the then top band, Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1966. Two years late, Marvin Gaye also came up with a version and became the label’s biggest hit.

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  • War!: This protest anthem was another classic written by Barrett and Norman. Barret wrote this cult song for Edwin Star and made its name for the popular name, War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing…. Strong made a statement with this song over the ongoing Vietnam war after he was deeply affected by an incident with his cousin, a paratrooper in Vietnam, that got him badly hurt.


  • Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone topped the Grammy Charts in 1972. It was originally written for The Undisputed Truth; It is better known for the Grammy Award winning cover by The Temptations. This Barret Strong song was among the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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  • Just My Imagination: Just my Imagination is another song written for the hit group The Temptations in 1971. The single held the number 1 position on the Billboard Pop singles chart for about two weeks when it came out. Legendary band The Rolling Stone also covered this signature song by Temptations and our legendary songwriter, Barret Strong.